Thursday, November 28, 2013


The current US population is 317 million.

I was wondering what percentage of us live in one or another of the 11 "megalopolises" - clusters of large and medium-sized  cities which have grown together, filling up the rural spaces that once separated them.

The last watershed year in US demographics was 1920. Up until then the majority of us lived in rural areas, but that began to change after the civil war, and by 1920 we were 50/50, half rural, and half city folks.

The Great Lakes megalopolis is about 54 million (if we exclude the 6 million of Toronto/Windsor metro area in Canada). This is "rust bucket" America, where I grew up.

The Northeast Megaregion includes New York Metro's 20 million (which includes 8 biggest cities in NJ, 6/7 biggest in Connccticut, and 5 counties in NE Pennsylvania), Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Boston, has 52 millions.

Another enormous region, which stretches from Birmingham, AL northeastward to Raleigh/Durham, NC and includes Atlanta's 6 millions, has upwards of 17 million total.

The Texas Triangle (Houston, Dallas/Ft Worth, Austin) = 17 million

LA metro is 13 million plus San Diego County's 3 millin totals 16 million.

The Gulf Coast region runs in a narrow strip from Brownsville, TX to Tallahassee, FL (excluding Houston's 2 million already counted) and takes in New Orleans and Mobile, ending at St Petersburg, and is about 9 million.

The Everett/Seattle/Tacoma/Vancouver/Portland, OR corridor has about 8 1/2 million.

7 mlllion live in the Bay Area of northern california including San Jose.

Arizona (Phoenix and Tucson areas) have approximately 6 million.

The Front Range corridor, which runs from southern Colorado to Cheyenne, Wyoming (anchored at Denver/Boulder) contains about 4 million people. Frequently, the geographically separated 2 millions of the Wasatch corridor (Salt Lake City) of Utah is included, giving this fragmented "region" a total of 6 million.

The South Florida megalopolis is 5 million strong.

Total urban population in megacities is 165 and a half million.

.52 x 317 = 164.84. 52% Of us live in megalopli. This doesn't include people living in cities like Omaha, NE, which isn't part of a megalopolis. We're now overwhelmingly urban, just as 200 years ago we were overwhelmingly rural.

What does this mean? I don't know, nor do I know how good and true these numbers are, compiled in a few hours' research earlier today. Will they stand up? Anyone who can correct any of the mistakes which have almost certainly crept in here, please leave a comment, which is not always easy and seems to require a gmail account.


Joe said...

I was recently thinking again of how the earth is becoming more and more like Easter Island.

Dave B, a.k.a. catboxer said...

Joe, have you ever seen the really huge empty spaces we have out here? People aren't kidding when they talk about the "wide open spaces." They're that way because they're mostly desolate.

We were in a place not long ago that was so wide open and devoid of anything it was very creepy.

Joe said...

Hi Dave, that's for sure. The water tables out there are gradually getting depleted, while the weather is also gradually becoming less hospitable for life. It reminds me of North Africa, where the desert has been expanding over the past decades.