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Monday, August 11, 2014

Population density and house size

By Sackerson.

James Higham reproduces a graphic from Amfortas re house size in selected countries:

... which got me thinking.

I looked up the ratio of arable land per person (average of 2009-11), and then added Amfortas' statistics:

As you see, the smaller the amount of arable land per capita, the smaller the house - except for Australia, which is still a young country in terms of immigration and development, and also has limited water resources.

Taking it one step further, I divided the house size by the arable land per person:

We now have two outliers, Australia and the UK. The real story here, I think: Britain is far too crowded and dependent on imported food.


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Nessimmersion said...

a)Name a Northern European country that isn't dependent on imported food.
b)Given that the UK was first to industrialise, has been importing food since the early 1800's & apart from the two world wars, this has not been an issue - so why worry?
c)London & Singapore are equally dependant on imported food.
d) Average House size is smaller in scotland than england - it has far more to do with planning restrictions & general prodnosery than anything logical.

James Higham said...

Dependent on imported food - yes.

Sackerson said...


Thanks for your comments, you made me think harder.

a) can of worms, wish somebody else would join me in working out these future challenges. But:

"Hailing the strong export growth of the past six years, the
European Commission reports that the “resulting improvement
in the EU’s trade balance turned it into a net exporter in 2010,
for the first time since 2006, with a €6 billion agricultural trade surplus”." - EC report, May 2011, quoted in

... whereas for the UK "In 2012, 24 countries together accounted for 90% of UK food supply. Just over half of this (53%) was supplied
domestically from within the UK." -

Granted, these stats tend to quote in money terms, which is not helpful as we don't eat banknotes.

b) We are in the later stages of de-industrialising, with a swollen populace and fossil-energy-dependent way of life, just as energy prices are about to start their long and seemingly endless climb; and wars and global population increase may yet disrupt our global food chain.

c) "Singapore is a highly developed trade-oriented market economy. Singapore's economy has been ranked as the most open in the world, least corrupt,most pro-business, with low tax rates (14.2% of Gross Domestic Product, GDP) and has the third highest per-capita GDP in the world; in terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)." -

If only we were so similar.

d) Scotland's population is estimated at 5.295 million, and arable land (declining, btw) 602,400 ha in 2008, which gives a ratio of land to population of around 0.11 ha, similar to the UK as a whole. But Scotland is more mountainous, and colder, so I would suggest there's less suitable land for buildng houses, and larger houses cost more to heat.

Wolfie said...

Wait until the fist oil shock, then this will matter.

Oil companies are sinking in debt, cost of production/exploration is going to the moon. This is how the crisis starts.

I'm moving to Spain mate.

Sackerson said...

Not the South of France, like some notable British bloggers? Good luck.