Popular Science Monthly/Volume 75/September 1909/Capacity of the United States for Population

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Popular Science Monthly Volume 75 September 1909  (1909) 
Capacity of the United States for Population by Albert Perry Brigham








IF any reader of these pages thinks, with a recent writer, that "population is a vast and wandering theme," we shall have no quarrel with him. No doubt the problem has a keener interest in such a country as Great Britain or France, where population approaches capacity or is perhaps beyond the permanent limit of resources. But we are maturing, the frontier stage is past, our land is filling and fertile quarter sections are no more free. We have thus our own social problems, sharpening their quest for solution, and, moreover, being Americans, we now and then become enthusiastic and break into prophecy.

We may well sober our inquiry with the preliminary question—is a great population desirable? Not so, surely, for us, from the military point of view. We have men enough to send to the front and men enough to keep in the shop and field, to meet any emergency of war which lies within the horizon of reasonable conjecture. Perhaps, in view of our general influence in the world, we might be glad to have several hundred millions of people, but only if we are so conditioned that our influence would be a boon to other lands. This indeed in itself implies a limit, for we must not be too many to live with freedom and with worthy standards.

We may take ourselves out of the ranks of the enthusiast with a second preliminary question—is a great population probable? Our list of prophets is distinguished. Mr. 0. P. Austin thinks there is no good reason for our failing of three hundred million people in the year 2000. Mr. James J. Hill expects an increase to two hundred million in less than fifty years, and Mr. Andrew Carnegie a few years ago thought five hundred million a proper figure. Mr. Justin Winsor allows two hundred million for the Mississippi Valley. Mr. F. A. Ogg raises the figure by fifty million, and Professor A. B. Hart does not hesitate to go up to three hundred and fifty million. We are by no means disposed to dispute all of these figures, but there are considerations which point in the other direction, as for example that the percentage of increase went down in the decades between 1860 and 1900.

We have also the check of advancing civilization. That voluntary restriction follows a higher scale of needs is shown in France, in lesser degree in Great Britain and probably in all lands of advancing culture. Thus there is color for the view that France with her disturbing birth rate has only arrived first at the condition to which all cultivated peoples are moving. Motives of economy and of opportunity for self and children press more strongly as standards rise, and it has recently been urged that even Ireland, with new land laws and with peasant proprietorship, will become more restrictive of population. It seems to be as true with man as in the general field of natural history, that the higher the type the fewer the progeny.

Perhaps also this tendency will fall in with the natural limit of food production. Indeed, the latter will have a controlling causal effect on the former, following the ever-operative law that higher prices or approaching scarcity is accompanied by restriction of population. That which is temporary in the latter case may well be found permanent in the other.

To the present time immigration has been one of the chief sources of our growth. We are already seeing a check of the inflowing current, and this may well become permanent in future years. The restrictive measures of the government count for something. The narrowing of opportunities, as for free land, is another and more powerful factor, and a further consideration of unknown significance is rising in our view, namely, the improvement of conditions and the triumphs of democratic aspiration in the lands from which the foreigner comes. In proportion as life in the old countries becomes endurable, not to say attractive, the fountains of immigration will begin to go dry.

On the other hand, there is a source of increase upon which we may look with full content, reasons, applicable alike to us, which a European authority has assigned, for the increase of European population during the last half century. These reasons are in relation to the lowering of the death rate by diminution of war, by the elimination of epidemics and by better hygiene. These advances would seem to mean more than a lower death rate. Not only are people kept alive, but they are made more productive workers and reasonably, it would seem, may become more prolific as well as better conditioned. Whatever our views of population or progress, it would hardly be prudent to disagree with Mr. Mackaye's proposition that it is not so important to get nitrogen into the soil and raise more food as to make right use of the food we have. We should, he thinks, avoid undue increase of our population, raise our wealth per capita, and not "cause two unhappy human beings to live where one lived before."

It is proposed here to attend more to the means of approaching the problem, than to the study of figures, which last in writings on population, are usually guesses supported by vague and inapplicable comparisons with China. As the writer has said elsewhere, it is not of interest to know how many Chinese could exist on American soil, but how many occidental citizens could live here in comfort and progress.

The largest single element in our problem must always be food. Other things are important, but for simplicity we take this singly, in relation to the resources of our own domain. There are several ways in which our food supply can be increased, and first of all, without raising the sum of products, they can be enlarged in their availability. No one familiar with culinary matters can avoid the belief that there is great loss through misuse and positive waste. Unskilled treatment alone is responsible for much loss of nutritive values and prodigality is to be found on private tables, while consumption in public places is attended oftentimes with destruction that is well-nigh criminal. The rise of industrial and domestic science will in part correct the evil, and any ultimate approach to a narrow margin between food and mouths would be felt in resulting economies.

No one doubts that our food supply could be much increased by more scientific and intensive cultivation of lands which are now actually under the plow. Here indeed we are already beginning a cheerful and significant era of hope and achievement. The farmer is becoming a wiser man and many things are helping him in his unfolding. This came home to us recently in the story of a farmer in western New York, who started poor four years ago, has paid for a large farm property with four crops, and expects out of the fifth to build a mansion for his family.

The American farmer is learning to adapt his crop to his soil and to his market. This is the teaching of the United States Bureau of Soil Survey, in its field work and in its reports. It is the burden of the agricultural college and of the experiment station, and the agricultural explorer of the department in Washington is searching widely in aid of something fit and good to fill every arable American acre. Adaptation will increase the product of food, as will also the more intelligent and energetic use of fertilizers. Intelligence will find the fertilizer and put it where it will do the greatest good, and will stimulate the energy in its use which is now sadly lacking. Let any man traverse the country regions in the eastern states and he will pass innumerable poor and hungry farms, and the greater the natural leanness of the soil, the more sure is he to see the manure-heap leaching, often for the second year, in the farm yard.

In like degree are our resources now wasted through the prevalent methods of sewage disposal. No treachery to the land can be so great as that which sends out into the sea the highly concentrated nitrogenous products which have with toil been wrung from a soil which is becoming poor in capacity for crops. In this primitive riddance of valuable matter we accomplish a further loss by polluting the waters and if we do not thus endanger human life, we destroy the fields in which a certain important amount of aquatic food can be produced.

A further gain can be had on soils already in use by expert management in the direction of proper succession of crops and a thoroughness of occupation and tillage often seen in Italy, France or Belgium, but only exceptionally found as yet in our own land. We need not only better directed labor, but more labor on the same soil. In the regions of sufficient rainfall, which comprise nearly the eastern half of the United States, we shall find, or did find in 1900, seven men per average square mile, tilling the soil, or one to each lot of 91.4 acres. Making generous allowance for ground not in tillage, we still find the working force far too small to bring maximum quantities of food out of the ground. We need also on much plow land and meadow east of the arid belt supplementary irrigation for many seasons and for some crops, and with abundant water resources, there is no good reason why nature should not thus be helped to her best. Some areas, many, it would doubtless be better to say, would be doubled in productive worth by more effective drainage than has yet been applied. The barest inspection of crop averages per acre, or of half the ripening harvests that fall under the eye of the traveler, supports the belief that a vast increment of food can be won from lands that are not now given a full chance.

Further inquiry leads us to lands not now cultivated, which might and will be made productive. Here some of our largest reserves appear. Lands of an arid or semi-arid character embrace about two fifths of our territory. In these great fields, and in small patches now improved, crops can not be expected unless water is applied by man. There is doubtless force in the claim that these soils are potentially marked by exceptional richness, due not only to the fact that they are virgin soils as related to man, but because they have not suffered the leaching and waste of important elements which have affected soils in lands of large rainfall. It is cited by Hilgard that Nile lands have for centuries supported an average population of more than one and one half persons per square acre, which means a density of about 1,000 per square mile. Without questioning the accuracy of this claim, it may be urged that we do not know whether flooding by the Cordilleran irrigator would be as favorable to fertility as the flooding of the Nile. Nor may we forget comparative standards of living any more than in the case of China.

We must also keep in sight the inevitable condition that there is water enough in the west to make fertile but a small fraction of the dry area. If we accept this at one fifteenth and receive without discount the figures for the Nile, applying them boldly to Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and the other arid states, we shall arrive at a population of eighty million for the arid regions. The eastern man will incline to think this conclusion savors of fancy, and the Cordilleran enthusiast will in like manner think it sober and sensible prophecy. All will agree, however, that the food production of the country willl rise by a marked increase when reclamation work has been carried toward its maximum. Whether.many millions or several tens of millions will thus be added to our numbers is not important to our present purpose. That the growth will be large none denies.

A further great gain will be made in the drainage of our marsh lands, both of the marine and of the fresh-water type. That this is in no way theoretical appears in the vast European areas, which, though now densely peopled, were more or less covered by water a millennium ago. Professor Shaler counted that the area of swamp lands rises to more than 100,000 square miles, reckoning only such marshes as would be considered reclaimable in northern Europe, and he believes that they would be equal in production to the three states on the north bank of the Ohio River, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. When one remembers the quality of a drained swamp, and that the area of available marshes is about three fourths as great as these combined states, he will have no difficulty with this conclusion.

The importance of this reserve has recently been accented by the proposal of Senator H. C. Hansbrough, to make these marshes also subject to reclamation by federal action. Further emphasis is warranted by the easy proximity of many of these lands to great eastern markets, and by their adaptation to the intensive culture of many crops.

We may be challenged in the statement that forest lands of some extent may yet be spared for tillage. The writer yields to no one in loyal conviction of the importance of forest conservation, or in condemnation of congressional delay and inaction. Ultimate adaptation will control in forest conservation, and some lands will be cleared for needful and effective tillage, and their loss will be counterbalanced by the foresting of other areas where unfitness for the plow is now evident.

We shall also replace forest products in a more extended use of underground materials for buildings and implements. As in Europe the clay pit and the quarry will afford means of curtailing the forest. Likewise the use of the fibers of grain plants for the making of paper will release timber for other uses or timber land for other crops. We need also to remember that the remaining forests will be properly conserved and made largely and permanently productive. When, forty years ago, the Irish laborer planted his potato patch by the railway track, or when to-day the Italian immigrant raises his vegetables in waste corners, it has not been recognized that he is the pioneer of the future. It is the traveler in such foreign lands as Belgium, Norway or Italy, who becomes able to appreciate the waste of American soils. Beyond the plowed fields of the present, the arid and wet lands and the superfluous forests, are no inconsiderable reserves of food from lands deemed useless. We may consider potential gardens along more than two hundred thousand miles of railway, the fruit that might grow by millions of miles of highway, the steep and immature slopes that are more capable of terracing than those of Capri or Amalfi, or ancient Palestine, and finally those rugged areas of glacial hillside or mountain slope, where nut-bearing trees might produce no inconsiderable amount of highly nutritious food. The possible production of food substances in the laboratory is at present so far from the geographer's domain that it would be profitless to dwell upon it.

It is plain that the whole circle of conservation problems applies here, not only by directly increasing food, as in irrigation, but in cheapening the cost of transportation, in saving land by forest conservation and in utilizing power of every kind to the full, thus releasing time and energy for the free use of opportunity and the complete employment of all our resources. Thus a well ordered civilization would sustain the greatest number at good standards, as a well-managed household may maintain a large family on a lesser sum than is required by a neighboring small household.

Population capacity would afford a less baffling inquiry if food alone were needed. Mere questions of mouths, bushels and pounds might involve simple ratios, easily determined, but we must at once include clothing, of vegetable fibers, animal fibers, furs and skins, nearly all requiring land for their production. Man must have shelter and a long catalogue of objects of domestic utility, for the household and for the tillage of the soil. These things may become chiefly derivable from subterranean sources with the single exception of a minimum demand on the forest. Many rocks and mineral substances would far outrun any possible use of them, but it seems certain that we could not for many generations supply iron for as marry millions as we can feed. It may be doubtful whether our ultimate expansion will receive its first effective check above or below the surface of the earth.

We must include also a wide range of objects of public utility, such as roads and all appliances of transportation and manufacture, and public structures for education, worship, government, health and charity, adding instruments of knowledge and pleasure such as books, music, ornaments and all works of art.

Almost as fundamental as food is the requirement of power. Here, however, the supply seems ample and permament. Long before the stores of buried fuel are exhausted, other natural forces, particularly that of moving water, will meet the needs of any population which we can feed. The maximum of population therefore for the whole world hinges upon the supply of material substances derived from the atmosphere, the water, the soil and the rocks. For a given country the problem is complicated by exchange. The exchange values, however, must be won on the home ground. England has, for example, a far greater population than she can feed, but her coal and iron have enabled her to manufacture and to carry for other nations. But England is now to a considerable extent using foreign supplies of the ores of iron. For a period she may do this and maintain her industry, through inertia, but imported raw materials and fuel could not permanently afford a basis for British industry, and for the present population of the United Kingdom. In that future, whenever it may come, the islands will contain the people whom they can feed, clothe and shelter, and no more.

Total resources, therefore, rather than total food production, determine how many people a given country can support, but in the world aspect total food marks an absolute limit, since we can not bring in food from Mars, even if Mr. Percival Lowell should convince us that she had a surplus.

It would be interesting to consider the United States in the light of the principles that have been suggested, but the story would be too long. We might simplify it by adopting the interesting and pleasant belief that our extraordinary range of resources would enable us to get on with little exchange, but this, as we have seen, would hardly change the result as to population. Mr. 0. P. Austin supports our hopes of three hundred million people by the comfortable assurance that we can grow all our sugar, all our rice, wine, tea, silk fibers, tobacco and most tropical fruits. Probably we could get on without diamonds and there are those who think our civilization might survive without coffee. But it would really make little difference whether we raised coffee or bought it with the proceeds of wheat. Or we might, indifferently, raise our silk, or sell farm machinery and buy silk, since either sort of production at present requires trees, and trees require land.

We have ventured the belief that we are sure of power. We may further include hopefully the resources of the underworld of the rocks, considering new reductions and uses of metals and many mineral substances. When the use of wood has come down to the minimum, the chief remaining demands on the soil, may, after all, be for food and clothing.

If we further suppose war and heavy armaments eliminated and all government honestly and economically administered, we shall cover a vast present waste. Thus to arrive at maximum population we must somewhat approach millennial conditions. Then, in high degree a self-sufficient nation, we could keep as many people as our own soil could feed and clothe. With wise timidity we have been deferring those large transactions in figures which the reader has been expecting, and we might with good show of reason, confess that inquiry for precise results is absurd and drop the attempt to forecast. Nevertheless, the next patriotic speech will marshal before us our future hundreds of millions, sole progeny of buoyant national pride. Perhaps, therefore, any sober argument on this inevitable theme is better than none.

Probably the safest approach is by comparison, for thus we avail ourselves of such experience as has come to our race in different parts of the world. But let us avoid China and Java, even though they seem such available examples of a great population, of high density, with small percentage of exchange and hence almost self-sufficient. But their standards of living—could we, even with our superior skill and progressiveness, take the same resources and support an equal number of people up to American standards of comfort and efficiency? We do not know those resources well enough to tell, hence we dismiss oriental nations and turn to people more like ourselves.

We have elsewhere made a brief comparison between England and that part of the United States which lies east of the Dakotas, Kansas and Texas. It was suggested that this region, about two fifths of the chief continental area of the United States, averages in resources of every sort as well as England, and it was shown that if we could in these 1,200,000 square miles reach the present density of England, we should have, east of the meridian of Omaha, 742,000,000 people. To have put this in print should at once, it would seem, shatter all pretension to soberness. We are quite willing to scale down the figure, while taking refuge under the fact that these computations were not offered as prophecy. With such an enormous population, we, like England, could not feed half our mouths, and should have to exchange other products for food. But other lands might not have the surplus in those days, to send to us. And our underground resources might be seriously reduced, if not exhausted, and we could not produce the exchange values. We thus see how fascinating and how futile is the hundred million tendency. Let us divide our total by three, and arrive at a population which we might hope to feed from our own soil, a little under 250,000,000. It will be seen that in this estimate we leave the Great Plains and Cordilleras to be peopled according to the dictates of a cold conservatism, or of a lively enthusiasm.

An instructive comparison can be made with Italy, whose area is 110,550 square miles, and whose population is reckoned to have been, on January 1, 1907, 33,640,710. The density was 304.3, not far from half that of England or Belgium, and about twelve times as great as that exhibited by the United States in 1900.

We may first take the comparative density of agricultural workers. In Italy, of persons, male and female, over nine years of age, there were at work in the fields, in 1900, 9,611,003. In our own country in 1900 there were, over ten years of age, 10,438,219. When we remember that the smaller country contained a little more than 30,000,000 people at that time and we had 76,000,000, the figures show their meaning. This comes out with force if we look at the ratio of workers to a given surface of production. In the United States east of the arid regions there was one worker to each 91.4 acres, counting the entire territory. In Italy there was one to each 5.07 acres, counting only the productive lands. But as these are there reckoned at more than two thirds of the whole, the comparison stands almost at full force. Including all of Italy, we should find one worker for each plot of eight acres or a little less.

Making all due allowance for primitive methods and smaller individual efficiency, we still see how much more intensive is the care of the lands. And we must not forget that in Lombardy and some other parts of the Mediterranean kingdom, modern methods are gaining ground. Indeed that nearly two thirds of the country is worked as productive soil is in itself significant to one who knows the ruggedness of much of the realm. The stretches of bare Apenine slope seem to be endless, and one is sometimes inclined to say that Italy is fertile only in spots. It has been called a "gray rather than a green country," a designation which must stand true except for idealizing imaginations which require Italy to unroll fields of endless verdure. One must traverse the Val d'Arno, or cross and recross the plains of the Po, find the fertile corners of south Italy and Sicily, and then explore the terraced mountainsides and secluded Apenine valleys, to learn how the little kingdom feeds so many people. If we are reminded that the people are poor and the comforts of life small, we recognize the fact, often sad and depressing, but even here, when considering capacity for population, we remember that Italy has lost by long use of her soils, and by much injury through deforestation, no small measure of her ancient capacity for food production. We, on the other hand, have a virgin country and on the whole our spirit of conservation has arisen in time to save us from fatal losses.

The value of Italian products, as reported, for tillage, animals and forest, is annually about $1,000,000,000. This figure, however, does not include the items of poultry, eggs or vegetables. These, and especially the last, are no doubt far more important relatively than in our own country. The above figure gives a little less than $30 in value for each person in the kingdom. This indeed would seem a starvation figure, but for the vegetables, whose rapid succession of crops and large consumption, must be a large factor in maintaining so great a density.

The comparison turns greatly in our favor when we consider underground resources, and here her paucity makes Italy instructive for population study. Gold and silver are so small as to be negligible, and yet she must acquire her reasonable sum of these metals. Sulphur is far in the lead, but amounts annually to but little more than $7,000,000. Zinc follows with $4,000,000, lead with a little more than one and one half million and all the others fall below the last figure. Iron gives an annual value of $1,371,155, and employs but 1,790 workers. Mineral fuel stands at $838,375, a small fraction of the mineral fuel output of the single state of Iowa. Coal and coke are imported to the extent of about $40,000,000, and boilers and machinery cross the frontier to the value of $32,600,000. The total annual mineral output of Italy is about $20,000,000.

When we remember that Italy imports much of her food as well as iron, coal and other things, we are pressed with the question—where does she get her exchange values? Five of her imports pass the hundred million lire mark. These are wheat, raw cotton, coal and coke, boilers and machinery and raw silk. But one export passes this mark, viz., raw silk, rising, however, to nearly 600,000,000 lire. There are, indeed, many exports of smaller value, but these are more than offset by minor imports, so that, as a whole, her imports exceed her exports by nearly 600,000,000 lire, or by about 33 per cent. It is not easy to see how Italy maintains her people. Certain reliefs suggest themselves. It is admitted that many Italians exist rather than live; but this must not be said of Rome or Tuscany or the valley of the Po. We allow something for a genial climate which at once gives quick returns from the soil and reduces the need of clothing and fuel. And we may not forget the great sums brought into Italy by travelers and foreign residents, for the winning of whose money Italian arrangements sometimes seem peculiarly effective. However difficult it is for one not trained in economic studies to see how this thing is done, it is done, and conditions are improving. We are thus warranted in looking to this middle kingdom of the Mediterranean for lessons concerning ourselves.

As has been already intimated, 70.6 per cent, of Italy is registered as productive, the rest being barren or negligible. Let us consider the territory of the United States east of the arid regions. We will (let us hope to be forgiven) eliminate New England, the Appalachian Mountain belt, the Appalachian Plateau, the interior timbered region and the Ozark Hills. The lands thus thrown out as relatively poor contain 28 per cent, of the area under consideration, which it will be seen is not far from the 29.4 per cent, rejected in Italy. And they contain 30,000,000 people, which is not far from the population of Italy. We have left a vast expanse of prairie, alluvial and lacustrine lowland, and of coastal plain. We may at least please our fancy by giving these selected lands the density of Italy. The resulting population is about 334,000,000. Adding the present population of the rejected areas, we have a total east of the arid belt, of 364,000,000. If we allow half the density of Italy for this entire area, we have a total population east of the arid belt, of 230,000,000.

We have just referred to a classification of lands which is comparatively new. For some years physiographers have seen that new categories were needed in the description of continental surfaces. The forms of the land have been taken into account, in respect both to their origin and to their present characteristics. A plain is more than a plain for it may be of a variety of origins and types, with its peculiar phases of structure, relief, soil, climate and vegetation. Similar statements may be made of plateaux and mountain regions. In the census of 1900, this classification was taken up in a brief and supplementary way, and the area, population and density of the several physiographic regions were computed and are placed before the reader. The areas are not exact, for the boundaries had to be determined by the nearest available county lines, but the error can hardly be of disturbing proportions.

It is not here possible to exhibit or discuss the interesting facts brought out by this new departure of the census. It marks, however, a step of progress in understanding the adjustment of our people to their environment. Under the designation of New England Hills are included New England, the Adirondacks and the foothill country east of the Hudson in the state of New York. The density for this region is the highest in the United States, 124.1. How strongly population turns on other factors than soil, thus appears, and the result becomes astonishing when we put down in comparison the present density of the prairie region, viz., 29.2.

Using the new land classification, we may approach again the possible or probable population east of the great plains, or in the well-watered eastern section of the United States. Leaving out the New England Hills, which already exceed the density we are about to propose, and omitting the Appalachian Plateau and the Ozark Hills, it would seem reasonable to expect an average density of 100 for the remaining territory of the east. This is about the density of Europe. The territory for which we propose it includes the coastal plains and lowlands, the Appalachian Valley, the piedmont and lake regions, the Mississippi alluvial region, the interior timbered region and the prairies. One need not apologize for thinking this aggregate physically as good as average Europe. Two of the regions, the Appalachian Valley and the piedmont, already have more than three fourths of the density proposed, and the interior timbered region, so far from being the wilderness implied by its name, has a density of 68.7. Raising the whole to 100, we pass from the present 53,800,000 to 127,600,000. If to this total we add the present population of the New England Hills, the Appalachian Plateau and the Ozark Hills, we bring our total to 145,000,000. If we allow reasonably for the growth of these three regions we place the figure at 150,000,000.

A density of 100, however, seems a low expectation for the prairies, and also for the lake region, which last already has 55.2 persons per square mile. Considering the soil, climate, minerals and transportation facilities of the lake borders, their population must largely increase. Give these two regions the present density of France or of Austria-Hungary, we must add to the total already reached, 40,000,000 for the prairies and 15,000,000 for the lakes, bringing our total east of the great plains to 205,000,000.

Iowa is a typical prairie state and has 55,475 square miles, not counting a few hundred miles of water surface. This state has about two and one fourth million of people, and with the density of France would have more than four times as many, or nearly ten and one half million. Iowa now has 13.39 acres of improved farm land for each one of her population. With the greater density she would have about three acres for each person, while France now has two and one third acres. In general fertility the odds are probably in favor of Iowa.

The mineral output of France is now relatively much greater than that of the prairie state, but it is by no means certain that the ratio would be maintained under full development of the new region, whose building stones, clays and gypsum are but in their commercial beginnings. In that prime necessity, coal, Iowa has quite the advantage, for she mines annually 234 tons for each resident, against 78 ton in France. The latter people imports much fuel, while the vast resources of Iowa for the most part lie still beneath the surface. Not many are probably aware that Iowa has 7,000 square miles of forest, more than at any previous time within the ken of the white man. She has, indeed, nearly as much forest for the proposed ten million people, as France now has for an equal number. It seems reasonable, therefore, to forecast for the prairies an occupation as dense as that of France or Austria.

It would be fatal to the peace of any student to omit the west in such a discussion as this. The writer recently made before the International Geographic Congress at Geneva what seemed to him the moderate and innocent assertion, that the center of our population would always remain some distance east of the geographic center of the United States. He was sharply reminded by a fellow American that such sentiments openly expressed on the Pacific Coast would make him the subject of a lynching excursion. As he is at present at a safe distance he retains his view, but is willing to accept tentatively a generous prophecy for the Cordilleras. Suppose we take seventy-five per cent, of the figure already hazarded for the areas of reclamation, or 60,000,000. And that we may not seem to be dominated by cramped eastern notions, let us concede, since no data are available, that when the arid lands are turned into paradise and a full trade established up and down the Pacific and across its wide waters, that the coast and its cities, the wet belt of the border, the mining centers, mountain valleys and arid pastures will harbor an additional 40,000,000 people. This allows 100,000,000 people west of the prairies, a region that in 1900 had a population of 4,654,818 and a density of 3.5. Here is an increase of twentyone and a half times, a proposal which can hardly be charged with parsimony, and raises our total for the whole country to 305,000,000. If we think the Cordilleran estimate out of bounds, it would yet be easy on the basis of European comparisons to find place for compensating millions in some of the geographic regions east of the Mississippi Eiver.