Letter Re: List of Countries by Real Population Density

I love the work you are doing, keep it up!  I know since the early 1990s when we first communicated via e-mail I have turned hundreds of people on to your writing and your work and yours is still the most comprehensive and easiest to understand approach for newcomers to the prepping community.  

I really enjoyed the “Real Population Density” chart (List of countries by real population density (based on food growing capacity) link posted in your blog. But i would like to point out a couple of things that people need to keep in mind.  

The average size of a medieval peasant’s farm was five acres.  This supported an average sized family for back then – four or five people and lots of dead infants (from diseases).  

I know my direct ancestor who came to the colonies left a farm that was a grand total of ten acres in size.  And his family was considered rich, until Cromwell had the rest of those non-human Welsh/Catholics/minor nobility (three strikes against them) eliminated.  By then the youngest son (the cadet son) was in the Catholic colony of Maryland.  

The average sized family farm in the US through the late 1800s and into the early 1900s was around 40 acres.  Family sizes were larger because of sanitation advances. This was around double the size of the medieval family.  But the motive power was still human or animal just like in medieval times.  

So the medieval carrying capacity was around a person per arable acre of land.  The late 1800s saw this increase some but not much – larger farms but also a larger city population.  Part of the farm though was woodlot and pasture which was commons (village green, nobles forest land).  But roughly half of the 40 acres was farmed on average and while the standard of living had gone up you still had around one person per farmed acre as the supported population.  

If you consider (if my math is right) that each square kilometer is around 245 acres, this means that the sustainable carrying capacity of the land absent mechanization and GMO is 245 people per square kilometer if we assume a disaster that will eliminate the ability to use intensive modern farming techniques such as lots of petroleum derived fertilizers, large tractors, etc.  

That puts us down to country [rank] #192 on the list.  And if we eliminate the postage stamp countries we are left with the following list of countries as having (or still having) a sustainable carrying capacity in a late 1800s technological base.  (Note: I’ve eliminated the miscellaneous information in the middle. The column on the right shows the population density per square kilometer.) 

192 Romania 245
193 Denmark 244
194 Mongolia 241
195 Moldova 239
196 Sudan 234
198 Bulgaria 225
199 Togo 225
200 Turkmenistan 224
201 Central African Republic 219
202 Hungary 219
203 Zambia 215
204 Paraguay 214
205 United States 179
206 Belarus 177
207 Guyana 174
208 Ukraine 145
209 Argentina 144
211 Latvia 128
212 Lithuania 123
213  Russia 117
214 Niger   84
215 Canada 78
217 Kazakhstan 69
218 Australia 43

I would like to see somebody go through the same exercise with the United States, by state, and by population ranking. I am sure that the states that you have recommended (west of the Mississippi, sans California) are going to be the top ones on that list as well. – Dr. Hugh