Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.

U.S. Rural Open Space is 94.6% of all land
by Randal O'Toole

http://www.azanderson.org/anderson_report_environmental_issues.htm See Arizona Map at: Arizona Land Distribution

July 2003. A perennial argument for "smart growth" and compact urban development is that we are running out of open space.  But how much open space is really left?  Data available from the 2000 Census show that at least 94.6% of the United States is rural open space, says economist Randal O’Toole (Thoreau Institute).

Together, urbanized areas, urban clusters and rural places occupy 5.4% of the nation’s land, while urban areas alone cover just 2.6%.  Rural open space thus covers 94.6 to 97.4% of the land.

On a state-by-state basis:

    o   Four states -- New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island -- are 30 to 40% urbanized and, counting rural places, 40 to 44% developed.

    o   Delaware and Maryland are 15 to 20% urbanized and 18 to 23% developed.

    o   Florida is 11% urbanized and 16% developed.

    o   Six states -- Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Tennessee, New Hampshire and North Carolina -- are 6 to 10% urbanized and 10 to 13% developed.

    o   All other states are less than 7% developed.

Unfortunately, data from the 2000 census are not comparable with numbers from the 1990 census because the Census Bureau changed many of its definitions, explains O’Toole.

Among other things, urbanized areas were redefined to exclude many undeveloped areas.  This led to a 10% increase in population density of urbanized areas.

Despite growing populations, the 2000 census reported many developed areas were smaller than measured by the 1990 census. 

Source: Randal O’Toole, "Another ‘Smart Growth’ Myth: U.S. Is Running Out of Space," Volume 12, Number 7, July 2003, Carolina Journal. 

For text http://www.johnlocke.org/acrobat/cjPrintEdition/cj_2003_july.pdf 

For more on the Census http://www.ncpa.org/pd/govern/govdex.html

NOTE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted
material  herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have
expressed  a  prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit
research and  educational purposes only. For more information go to:





Page Updated: Saturday February 25, 2012 05:15 AM  Pacific

Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2001, All Rights Reserv