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-   -   1,000,000,000 Americans by 2100? (http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=150206)

tdawg Apr 29, 2008 1:42 PM

1,000,000,000 Americans by 2100?
 
Saw this in USAToday this morning. Anyone else find this prediction a bit of a stretch?

Expert: U.S. population to hit 1 billion by 2100

By Haya El Nasser, USA TODAY
If the USA seems too crowded and its roads too congested now, imagine future generations: The nation's population could more than triple to 1 billion as early as 2100.

That's the eye-popping projection that urban and rural planners, gathered today for their annual meeting in Las Vegas, are hearing from a land-use expert.

"What do we do now to start preparing for that?" asks Arthur Nelson, co-director of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech, whose analysis projects that the USA will hit the 1 billion mark sometime between 2100 and 2120. "It's a realistic long-term challenge."

The nation currently has almost 304 million people and is the world's third most populous, behind China (1.3 billion) and India (1.1 billion). China passed the 1 billion mark in the early 1980s.

Jeff Soule, director of outreach for the American Planning Association, hopes it will be provocative enough to inspire planners who anticipate development patterns and infrastructure needs to look beyond their lifetimes and localities. "We have to be more aggressive about looking out at the long term," Soule says. "It may get people thinking beyond their jurisdictions. … It's clear we have to think about such issues as food, water and basic transportation infrastructure."

Nelson says China and India are accommodating billion-plus populations on less land area than the USA occupies.

"We have a surprising amount of space in existing urban areas," he says. "We can easily triple the population in our urbanized areas with much of that growth occurring on, of all things, parking lots."

Nelson advocates converting parking lots into commercial and residential buildings and extending light-rail lines and rapid transit to reduce dependence on cars.

"We could accommodate half or more of the new population (on parking lots)," he says. "For the other half, we need to figure out which parts of urban areas need to be redeveloped. We should start asking these larger questions now."

The population projection is provoking some skepticism.

Robert Lang, Nelson's co-director at the Virginia Tech institute, says he expects immigration to decline, largely because birth rates in other countries are declining.

"People are not going to have as many children, and their children won't have as many children, and there'll be (fewer) people to immigrate to the U.S.," Lang says. "I would rather focus on the near certainty that we will gain 100 million people by 2043. … No one plans for 100 years from now except to preserve a national park."

Population projections for most countries do not extend much beyond 2050. Carl Haub, senior demographer at the non-profit Population Reference Bureau, has estimated that India's population could reach 2 billion around 2075. That won't happen, however, if India's fertility rates decline at a faster rate than they have been, he says.

Nelson, who will become the founding director of the Center for the New Metropolis at the University of Utah this fall, says many events from disease to famine could throw his projections off course.

"We could certainly have a comet hit the planet and pulverize the atmosphere," he says. "But what if none of these things happen? … Do we plan on a calamity, do we assume that half the population's planet might be wiped out? I don't think that's very responsible."

urbanactivist Apr 29, 2008 2:18 PM

:haha: Too crowded.... yeah, those houses that are 1/2 an acre apart are really crowding me in :haha:

lfc4life Apr 29, 2008 2:38 PM

if the USA had the same population density as england its population would be more than 4 billion

and it would be 12 billion if it had malta's population density of 1272 people per km²

there is basically nobody living in the likes of montana, idaho, wyoming, the dakotas. Montana is bigger than germany but yet has only 11% of its population

M II A II R II K Apr 29, 2008 2:48 PM

Yea that's what I was thinking, there's plenty and plenty of room.

In terms of resources hopefully they will have tapped the sun for all energy needs by then.

10023 Apr 29, 2008 2:56 PM

This isn't unreasonable. Especially if by that time, most of the coastal third world is under water and the resource wars have led a few hundred million East Asians to mass migrate to North America.

The U.S. would have 1 billion people and be about 30% white, of course.

mhays Apr 29, 2008 2:57 PM

That's not a mainstream prediction. Other experts have predicted much lower numbers.

Not an expert, but so would I. The first two reasons that come to mind:

1. Birth rates are plummeting in key countries, like Mexico, as they already did in countries like China, and as they'll do in other countries as they develop.

2. The US will not remain the economic valhalla it might be currently in immigrants' eyes. Globalization of labor is causing wages to migrate toward the middle everywhere -- rising in cheap countries, falling or stagnating in expensive countries. The grass won't be much greener here.

JackStraw Apr 29, 2008 3:00 PM

One hundred years from now is to far to project anything. Hell, there is suppose to be an apocalypse in 6 and a half years. It could be 0.

Lets hope that the skeptics are right, and fewer people are having babies, and the world population and immigration starts going down. More population is anything but good.

M II A II R II K Apr 29, 2008 3:02 PM

I think the US will always remain as one of the top economic powerhouses, even if that status is shared or even surpassed.

But even if it is surpassed by the likes of China, it certainly wouldn't be per capita, so the US will probably always be #1 per capita.

lfc4life Apr 29, 2008 3:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M II A II R II K (Post 3517988)
I think the US will always remain as one of the top economic powerhouses, even if that status is shared or even surpassed.

But even if it is surpassed by the likes of China, it certainly wouldn't be per capita, so the US will probably always be #1 per capita.

per capita the US has been surpassed a while ago though https://www.cia.gov/library/publicat.../2004rank.html

The USA will still remain a superpower but the strength of the dollar against the euro is the big worry over the next 20 years, if it continues to fall the developments in world markets will be interesting

emathias Apr 29, 2008 3:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lfc4life (Post 3518057)
per capita the US has been surpassed a while ago though https://www.cia.gov/library/publicat.../2004rank.html

The USA will still remain a superpower but the strength of the dollar against the euro is the big worry over the next 20 years, if it continues to fall the developments in world markets will be interesting

If you drop the "island" states (by which I mean both literal and figurative) and the oil states, we're still #1, although the fall of the dollar will likely shake that up more if it continues or even just remains where it is. The values on that list are all done with PPP calculations, though, instead of market exchange rates, so the impact of a weak dollar will be lesser and take time to be represented in lists like that one.

The biggest issue for the U.S. won't be per-capital GDP, though, it will be stagnation of working-class wages. It doesn't much matter if the average share of GDP is $46k, if that share is split in such a way that is sharply disadvantageous to lower class earnings. With economic distribution in the U.S. getting stretched, people will simply decide that if they have to work hard and still be poor, they might as well stay in their own country.

mello Apr 29, 2008 4:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lfc4life (Post 3517938)
if the USA had the same population density as england its population would be more than 4 billion

and it would be 12 billion if it had malta's population density of 1272 people per km²

there is basically nobody living in the likes of montana, idaho, wyoming, the dakotas. Montana is bigger than germany but yet has only 11% of its population


Wow didn't realize that Montana had 8 million people. When did Billings become the size of DFW :haha: As far as the article goes, totally bogus, predicting that far in to the future is not credible and I don't see the US being such a big draw for immigrants far in to the future to push the population that high.

krudmonk Apr 29, 2008 4:30 PM

900,000,000 in McMansions

M II A II R II K Apr 29, 2008 4:35 PM

And I wonder how these people will be distributed...

Maybe there would be more NYC or L.A. metropolitan areas throughout the country.

vid Apr 29, 2008 4:53 PM

100 years ago, only a few people had cars.

100 years from now, that will probably be true again. We'll find a new way to commute. We'll have to.

M II A II R II K Apr 29, 2008 5:00 PM

There would also have to be more water. Maybe they would be able to manufacture water from the air by then or soemthing. Atmospheric condensers perhaps.

Marcu Apr 29, 2008 5:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mello (Post 3518166)
As far as the article goes, totally bogus, predicting that far in to the future is not credible and I don't see the US being such a big draw for immigrants far in to the future to push the population that high.

Agreed with the first part but not the second part. US will remain as big of a draw as any country over the next 50 years. In spite of all of the growth in India and places like Ukraine, much of the world's population remains remarkeably poor. Hopefully though it will come in the form of higher skilled workers through programs like the H1B. That is if Congress ever gets off its ass and decides to mondernize our immigration laws to resemble a point-type system they have in Canada. Until then, we'll have a free for all like we do now since most people do not see any hope of ever clearing the horrible visa backlogs.

urbanfan89 Apr 29, 2008 5:41 PM

Large parts of Europe are already seeing negative growth rates. This will definitely spread to other parts of the world as birth rates continue to drop.

In 50 years most industrialized countries will be facing problems what Japan faces now: social security payments soaring, the tax base shrinking, infrastructure downsizing, and so on.

10023 Apr 29, 2008 5:55 PM

Germany is already facing that problem. The elderly are too politically powerful. And this is a problem that will grow in the United States as baby boomers age as well. European countries with negative growth, in particular, are in danger of becoming societies where elderly pensioners squeeze the young and destroy the economy.

urbanactivist Apr 29, 2008 6:25 PM

I think that the current economic slump is helping to regulate the US in a lot of ways... it has made people aware of global warming, and the absolute necessity for sustainable energies. Oil conservation is now a must for people who couldn't have cared less in the 90s. Global food concerns have made the US more vulnerable, but also will help us to improve how we use the vast resources that we are blessed with. I don't see 1 billion anytime soon, as the population is also continuing to diversify... with large families being less of a priority, couples waiting longer and longer to have kids, and the ever-increasing gay and lesbian population. Astronomical growth is unlikely, but smart growth will soon be the norm.

JDRCRASH Apr 29, 2008 7:56 PM

Considering future technologies, this doesn't suprise me, quite frankly.

What many don't realize is that China's population will have aged considerably by that time; so they're economy will likely collapse, sending extra amounts of people to the United States. This is the same thing that will happen in the United States in the next decade.


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