[ View menu ]

All the people in the world could stand in New York City

Filed in Ideas
Subscribe to Decision Science News by Email (one email per week, easy unsubscribe)



We at Decision Science News like putting things into perspective. This is why we bothered putting the size of countries into perspective by comparing them to US states. (Stay tuned for our next post on this topic in which we match states to countries on the basis of both area and population. Who doesn’t want to know things like “Israel is about as big as New Jersey in both size and population”?)

Anyway, we were reading the Internet, as we sometimes do, when we came across the finding (published here and promoted here) that you could fit every person on the earth within the city limits of New York City.

And that’s assuming a flat NYC with no buildings. Considering that much of NYC is built up, you could fit them into even less space by using the advanced technology of multi-story buildings. In fact, you’ll see at the original post that everybody in the world could fit in a cube-shaped building that is just 5 crosstown blocks per side. That is, in a building that would easily fit in Manhattan, like this:


Image credit: WaitButWhy.com

These calcs depend on the assumption that you can fit 10 people into a square meter, which was counterintuitive to us. But take this into account:

  • You may be thinking of a square yard, but a square meter is bigger. 20% bigger actually.
  • Much of the world is kids, and the post teaches us that you can pack 22 kids into a square meter.
  • You can fit 9 grownups into a square meter.

Given all this, 10 per square meter is totes reasonable, as is the assumption that the whole world would fit in the borders of New York City.

Image credit:http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/03/7-3-billion-people-one-building.html, which is also the site that figured this all out in the first place.


  1. David Friedman says:

    I wouldn’t want to be there. NYC is crowded enough as it is.

    April 13, 2015 @ 12:04 pm

RSS feed Comments

Write Comment

XHTML: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>