Amoeba’s Lorica: How Dense Is Your State?

No. Not <= that kind of dense. Though Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba is entirely too aware of how much of that is going around.

This => kind of dense is what YFNA means. Though you may be forgiven, dear reader, if you’ve forgotten what a crowd looks like in the time of COVID. Keep your distance, foul leper unclean.

But, social distancing or no social distancing, there’s no concealing the fact that there’s a crowd of people in the United States of America in the year 2021 CE. In case you missed it, the USA is currently the third most populous nation on Earth, squeezing more than 300 million people against those border walls that are kinda sorta still getting built, maybe. Only China and India, with nearly 1.5 billion (with a B) people each, have got more human mouths to feed, and spew carbon dioxide, than Murica has got. 

So how crowded is that, really? And, what does it matter? After all, in an earlier exercise, YFNA found that density – of either kind – hasn’t mattered a whole lot when it comes to trying to explain where and how SARS-CoV-2 is distributed across the USA.

Turns out that China, the most populous nation in the world, only ranks 58th in population density. Italy, to name one, packs in more peeps per square mile than China does. (No one seems to have attempted calculations of population density per woke mile in any jurisdiction, a piece of potentially significant information lacking from discussions of diversity and inclusion.)

India, no. 2 in total numbers of people, is only the 19th-most densely populated country, though its neighbor Bangladesh, once part of India, ranks 6th and is the most densely populated nation that is not a geographically tiny city-state like Monaco or Singapore.

If you were born in the USA, Bruce? You live in the 145th most densely populated nation, and there are only 194 nations on the list. How the hell, with all that wide-open space, could COVID-19 have ever gotten established here? People must have wanted the government to expand unemployment benefits that badly

So, YFNA was contemplating all this, as usual while he was supposed to be doing something else, and he realized (it had something to do with a waking nightmare involving a high school history teacher, back when elephants had fur) that the USA is a union of states. What if each state were counted as an independent nation? How would each stack up, in terms of population density, against the sovereign nations of the world? 

Behold, the table. Clicking/tapping on it should make it bigger. (The ‘something else’ is still waiting to be done, of course.)

And, the takehomes.

  • Only New Jersey has more people in it per square mile than India.
  • Florida and China have similar population densities, and should be able to commiserate on the associated challenges. It is, however, hard to imagine a US state that is less likely than Florida to commiserate with China on anything.
  • New Hampshire, which tends to pride itself on its uniqueness, is the most average state in the Union in terms of world population density.
  • Missouri is near the geographic center of the USA and is also at the midpoint of the population density distribution among US states.
  • Nebraska is what Russia would be like if Russia were at a habitable latitude. (See Alaska, which was once part of Russia.) There is, to date, no evidence of Nebraskan interference in Russian elections.
  • There is no truth to the rumor that Canada will use its similar population density figures to justify annexation of the Dakotas.
  • There is also no truth to rumors that Genghis Khan Appreciation Societies have sprung up in Wyoming, though downloads of songs by The HU may have increased. The state is being closely watched for signs of unrest or aspirations of world conquest.

Mind you, all the USA’s wide-open spaces haven’t prevented it from ranking 10th (of 22o countries and territories) in the total number of COVID-19 cases per million people, between the start of the pandemic and 16 May 2021. For all of its recent (and intensively publicized) difficulties, India is only 108th on this list. China is no. 213. The differences can only be attributed to population density.

The other kind.

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