The Census Bureau estimates the population of the United States to be 459 million by the year 2050. That's more than a 33% increase over the next 40 years. Experts say the average American needs 1 acre of farmland to produce the food necessary for a sustainable diet. The United States has more than 2 billion acres, but much of the land cannot be farmed. For instance, Alaska has more than 300 million acres under ice. So, unless we can control our population growth by reducing immigration numbers, our sustainability will soon be threatened.
“Sprawl” refers to the rural acres lost as an Urbanized Area spreads outward over a period of time.
An “Urbanized Area” is a central city and its contiguously developed suburbs, as calculated by the Census Bureau.
“Percent Sprawl” is the percentage increase of total acres of land in an Urbanized Area over a period of time.
U.S. population growth is a key factor in paving the world’s breadbasket. Economic, cultural, demographic and political forces between 1982 and 1997 converted approximately 39,000 square miles (or 25 million acres) of rural land into subdivisions, malls, workplaces, roads, parking lots, resorts, and the like.