Trump's loud and calculated rhetoric aside, is there any scientific data on how many people can reside in the United States without straining its resources past the manageable limit? The reason I ask is this: I don't know.

In terms of arable land and minerals, how many is too many? Do we have enough to sustain 400 million? A billion? Two billion?

I have heard two theories on this (but no scientific data to support either):

  1. There's plenty of everything. It's not a question of running out of resources: rather, it's about limiting the appetites of the corrupt money-grubbers and schemers.

  2. Soil corrosion and various damage to the environment are the results of overpopulation. There are already too many people here, and if immigration continues at today's rates, we'll soon be a Third World country.

I don't know if either of these theories has any validity, and I'd like to see some numbers, but apart from that, has the question of limiting immigration because there may not be much room left in the country been raised by a big-name politician?

  • 2
    given the scientific nature of this question, I think it probably belongs on a different SE site. Possibly Earth Science?
    – user1530
    Dec 10, 2015 at 4:05
  • All that said, as for 'running out of room', have you been to Kansas? We still have plenty of room.
    – user1530
    Dec 10, 2015 at 4:05
  • @blip: How much of this room is arable, though? Here's an Earth Science question for you: are the aftereffects of the Dust Bowl still felt throughout the state, or has the recovery process been exceeding expectations? Is there any validity to the (scientific) claim that it takes 500 years to get 1 inch of topsoil? Maybe I should just visit and see what's going on for myself, I don't know.
    – Ricky
    Dec 10, 2015 at 4:49
  • All interesting questions, but not necessarily political questions. I'd ask them on the various science SE sites. In general, though, the US produces a massive amount of food...much of it exported. And a lot of our arable land goes to really inefficient methods (such as cattle) and non-food crops (ethanol) so there's a lot of additional room to be made if need be. Ironically (?) our agriculture industry is heavily dependent on immigrant labor.
    – user1530
    Dec 10, 2015 at 5:07
  • 2
    You didn't ask anything specifically about immigrant labor and the ag industry. You're asking questions about arable land v population. That's more science based. I think you need to really narrow down the question here to make it fit the Q&A format better. As for your presidential candidate comment...I'd absolutely want a candidate to say "let's ask scientists questions about science rather than us politicians"
    – user1530
    Dec 10, 2015 at 5:23


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