National Geographic : 1903 May
VOL. XIV, No. 5 WASHINGTON MAY, 1903 THE 1 113UATONAIL "THE UNITED STATES-LAND AND WATERS"* BY CYRUS C. ADAMS, AUTHOR OF "COMMERCIAL GEOGRAPHY," ETC., ETC. ANY foreigners who cross our country are impressed by two facts: its vast extent and its very apparent sparsity of population away from a few great centers. We are among the most populous nations in the world but our domain south of Canada is so great that with all our 77,000,000 people we have an average density of population of only about twenty-eight to the square mile, in which respect we are comparable with Norway, one of the most thinly peopled countries of Europe. That part of Great Britain occupied by England is one of the most densely peopled regions in the world; but if England had only our density of population its inhabit ants would number less than one-fourth the number in Greater London. GREAT DENSITY OF POPULATION We have really no conception derived from our experience at home of what great density of population means. Per haps the following facts may give a vivid idea of it. If we were to crowd our 77,000,000 people into Texas and add to them 40,000,000 more we should have a density of population in that state comparable with that of the lower Yangtse valley and the great eastern plain of China between the Yangtse and the Hoang rivers. But human ex perience has recently recorded a still greater density of population than this, and the following is deduced from the census taken last year by the Chinese government and already accepted by statisticians as a fair approximation of the number of persons in China. If we were to place in Texas double the population of the United States, or, say, 150,000,000 persons, we should have in that state approximately the density of population that is to be found in the Shantung province. Our nation may never be called upon to confront * An address before the National Geographic Society, February Io, 1903. This is the first of a series of articles on the United States which are to be published in the succeeding numbers of this Magazine.