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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Environmental Consequences of Sprawl

  • Author(s): Deakin, Elizabeth
  • et al.

In 1950, the US population was just over 152 million. Today, the population exceeds 298 million. Growth has not been even; much of it has occurred in the West and South. Although every state grew in population between 1950 and 2004, just three states – California, Texas, and Florida – accounted for 30% of the population growth (Table 1). Furthermore, these three states, which together represent 14% of the US land area, are projected to account for half of the total US population growth over the next twenty years. Yet the New York metropolitan area, with a population of over 20 million, is the largest metropolitan area in the US and one of the largest in the world; the population of the New England and Middle Atlantic States made up 21% of the US total, though the eleven states account for only five percent of the land area.

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