As most people know, 2020 is a U.S. Census year. What better excuse for looking at all manner of numbers?
The Census Bureau maintains a population clock online. You can sit and stare at the world’s numbers ticking higher and higher at a mesmerizing pace and those of the U.S. at a less hypnotic but still brisk pace.
In the U.S., the ratio of people born to people dying is in favor of people being born. Every eight seconds a person is born in the U.S. and every 10 seconds someone dies. Add immigration to the equation and you end up with an extra person every 18 seconds.
So what is the population in the U.S.? As of Dec. 30, 2019, it was 330,222,422 (give or take a few) — nearly 2 million people more than a year ago. That’s a big number, so some perspective is in order. Picture the U.S. population one of these ways:
♦ 91,728 Ringgolds
♦ 33,022 Fort Oglethorpes
♦ 45,235 LaFayettes
♦ 82,555 Rossvilles
♦ 103,194 Chickamaugas
♦ 31 Georgias
♦ 27,518,535 dozen eggs
You can see how this might go on and on.
Here’s a thought to chew on: In a mere 10 years (since 2010), the U.S. population has grown by 21,476,884 people (give or take).
The U.S. is the third most populous country in the world, but we are a distant third, behind China with over 1.3 billion people and India with just a few less than China. It would take four United States of Americas to equal one China or one India.
The population of the whole world is around 7.6 billion folks. Nearly one-third of the world’s population lives in China and India.
Out of all the states in the U.S., Georgia has the eighth largest population, with around 10.5 million residents. We’re running behind (in order from largest): California, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio.
What might come as a surprise is the state that comes immediately after Georgia: North Carolina, which has nearly as many people as Georgia and a greater population density (more people per square mile).
Speaking of population density (hey, it’s 2020, we can wander all over the place), of all the states New Jersey has the highest: 1,211 people per square mile. But our capital city, good ol’ Washington, D.C. (which isn’t a state but is crowded), has an amazing 11,490 persons per square mile — and that’s not counting all the politicians who hang out there but don’t live there.
The population density of Georgia is 182 people per square mile — a ghost state compared to New Jersey. Or lots of other states. We have tons of room to grow.
Let’s get back to the world because, as they say, no man (person) is an island and neither is any state or even country (well, a few countries are and one state is, but rhetorically speaking …).
The fourth most populous country after China, India and the U.S. is Indonesia, a country of — islands(!) — either 17,508 or 18,307 of them (depending on whether you believe the CIA or National Institute of Aeronautics and Space) with 265 million people.
Rounding out the top ten most populous countries, in descending order, are Pakistan, Brazil, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Russia and Mexico.
Russia may not be number one in population but its land mass — 6.3 million square miles — is so large it couldn’t all fit on one continent. Most of the country is in Asia, but about one-seventh is in Europe. Russia also accounts for nearly 11% of the land on Earth.
The next largest land mass on our planet is not a country (you can tell, because it has no flag) — it’s Antarctica, populated by penguins and such and 1000-5000 people, depending on the season. It’s 5.4 million square miles with a population density of 180-900 people per million square miles (recall D.C.’s density of 11,490 per one square mile).
After Antarctica, we have China, the U.S. and Canada running neck-in-neck, but counting land only (not water), in the order aforementioned (but not much afore).
And with that, we’re out of space – both in the paper and in the brain.