Monday, April 2, 2007

Population Close to "Standing Room Only" (Chicago Tribune, 1899)


The April 30, 1899 Chicago Tribune article, "Population Close to 'Standing Room Only'" seems like it could be written today with just a few dates and statistics changed. Much like the fear of population growth we've explored in Paul Ehrlich's 1968 book The Population Bomb, the article warns of a dangerous population explosion.

If the population of the United States continues to increase at the rate that has prevailed during the last twenty years in the year 2000 it will reach so great a density there will be room for an average of only one person to an acre in the vast area.

The article uses American presidents to distinguish between different times in history and different population sizes, as pictured below.


The fear of immigrants sounds similar to the arguments heard in American political circles today.

Deductions must be chiefly speculative, but all that have been made public by the weightier minds turn to the restriction of immigration as the most logical method of imposing a check on an advancement that is fast growing menacing.


See also:
The Population Bomb: Scenario 1 (1970)
The Population Bomb: Scenario 2 (1970)

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

That reminded me of Harry Harrison's Make Room, Make Room (1966), it's a thriller situated in an overpopulated 1999 New York.

Luke the Drifter said...

I'm puzzled by this statement: "The fear of immigrants sounds similar to the arguments heard in American political circles today."
How?
Isn't the quote from the Tribune talking about legal immigrants as opposed to the current debate about illegal aliens?
I don't understand why it's called "fear" rather than "prudence" or "common sense" either, but I guess that's just me.
Great site, by the way. I love it!