300 Million Strong

As of July of 2007, 300 million people reside in the United States of America, making it the 3rd most populated country in the world (excluding the European Union). This number is still quite small– equivalent to roughly 85 people per square mile of total U.S. land mass. Comparatively, China, the #1 most populated country in the world, has an estimated 367 people per square mile; India, although #2 in overall population, is more dense with approximately 928 people per square mile. Indonesia and Brazil were ranked #4 and #5, respectively.

Naturally, most of the population density in the U.S. is attributed to urban settings, with New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles topping the list of the most populated cities according to a 2000 census. (Pacific Northwesterners should note that Portland, Oregon, was ranked #21; Seattle, #12.) It is also important to note that only 84% of the total U.S. land mass is available for habitation– the rest are protected areas, including parks and forests– which means that we have actually over 100 people per available square mile.

Of the 6.6 billion inhabitants in our planet, 785 million adults (defined as 15 years of age or older) are considered illiterate, over two-thirds of which are found in only eight countries: India, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Indonesia, and Egypt. Not surprisingly, two-thirds of this group is comprised of women, who still suffer from enforced inequalities in many countries. In the U.S. 99% of the adult population is literate. Comparatively, Finland is registered at 100% literacy (along with Georgia, Luxembourg and Norway), while Burkina Faso, a landlocked nation in West Africa, is only at 12.8% literacy. Ironically, Egypt, one of the world’s earliest civilizations, is only at 55.6% literacy.

There is a bevy of other interesting factoids available at the CIA World Factbook.


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