SCIENCE LESSON - Everyone in Texas?


Everyone Move to Texas?

Yet another tool for teachers

by Alice Shirrell Kaswell, AIR staff


Students sometimes complain that "facts are dull things." Here is a simple resource you can use to get your students thinking and asking questions about some simple facts.

These facts are supplied by the Population Research Institute (PRI). PRI describes itself as "a non-profit research and educational organization dedicated to objectively presenting the truth about population-related issues." PRI's stated mission is "To articulate the material and social benefits of moderate population growth and promote economic development through models which respect the dignity and rights of the individual human person and the family." Here are the facts, direct from PRI:

Did You Know?

The whole world's population could fit in the state of Texas...Amazing as it may seem, the entire population of the world can be housed in the U.S. state of Texas — and very comfortably indeed, with each person enjoying a living far in excess of that now available to all but the most wealthy.

Consider these facts: The land area of Texas is some 262,000 square miles* and current UN estimates of the world's population (for 12 October 1999) are about 6 billion.** By converting square miles to square feet — remember to multiply by 5,280 feet per mile twice — and dividing by the world's population, one readily finds that there are more than 1,217 square feet per capita.

A family of 5 would thus occupy more than 6,085 square feet of living space. Even in Texas, that's a mansion.


This is wonderful teaching material (see the PRI's full presentation to get additional facts about the how the world's population could all live in Texas. PRI's web site contains these and lots of other amazing facts for students.

Questions for Students

Most students will enjoy thinking up questions about these facts, and they will enjoy playing detective to get some answers.

Here, for a start, are a few simple questions:

<> How many people live in Texas now?

<> What parts of Texas have lots of people living there now? Why?

<> What parts of Texas have few or no people living there now? Why?

<> Which parts of Texas would you enjoy living in? Are there any parts you might enjoy less than others? Why?

<> How much water is there in Texas? How much water does a person need to stay alive?

Some students might even think up additional questions -- and hey can have extra special fun if they mail their questions to the Population Research Institute, P.O. Box 1559, Front Royal, Virginia 22630 USA.

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