Answer each question true or false.  The correct answers and references are listed below.


  1. The total area of the world is about 197 million square miles.
  2. The total land area of the world is about 73 million square miles.
  3. The world population is about 4 billion people.
  4. Everybody in the world could lie down in one city with nobody touching anyone else.
  5. All the world’s houses could be put into an area of about 100 by 100 miles.
  6. All the world’s buildings could be put into an area of about 100,000 square miles.
  7. All the world’s man-made structures such as buildings, fences, roads, and other paving takes up less than one tenth of one percent (<0.1%) of the world’s surface area.
  8. All the world’s farms take up about 10% of the earth’s surface.
  9. Most people in Australia and Canada live under more crowded conditions than most people in China and India.

10.  China is more densely populated than England or Italy.

11.  The UN Demographic Book lists more than 30 other nations as more crowded than China.

12.  World population has been increasing at an annual rate of about 2.0%.

13.  Fertility rates have been increasing in the developing nations.

14.  The fertility rates of substantially every nation in Europe are less than the amount required to maintain the population.

15.  Fertility rates have been dropping in the developing nations.

16.  In the USA, the fertility rate has been below the number necessary to keep a stable population.

17.  The US population continues to grow very slowly, but only because of immigration, and because the people dying are mostly those born before 1940, when birth rates were much lower.


18.  We now have more starvation in the world than ever before.

19.  The food situation has become worse in the developing world.

20.  Since 1948, the amount of food produced in the developing nations has improved by about 40% per person.

21.  About 3% of the earth’s surface is now used for farming.

22.  World food production in the developing nations could more than double next year if the developing nations were fair to farmers.

23.  Those nations which grow food the best, grow about ten times as much food per acre as those nations which grow food the least efficiently.

24.  Every year, it takes less land to grow enough food for each person.

25.  Population grows faster than food production.

26.  Since 1970, both China and India have been among the leading nations in exporting food.

27.  Estimates of large numbers of people starving are not based on facts.

28.  .World farms take up more area than forests.

29.  The UN has estimated about 1/3 of the world’s land is potentially agricultural, nearly 1/3 is neither agricultural nor forest.

30.  The UN has estimated that only about 1/3 the potential agricultural land is used for agriculture.

31.  The UN has estimated that in Asia, less than half the potential agricultural land is used to grow crops.

32.  According to the UN, every nation can feed all its people well.

33.  The UN has blamed developing nations’ governments for forcing food prices down, so that farmers have less incentive to grow food.


Answers are followed by footnote numbers.  In addition to listed references, a reference for every answer is in Handbook on Population, (1992) by Robert L. Sassone, available from American Life League, P.O. Box 1350, Stafford, VA 22554, (703) 659-4171.

  1. T[1]
  2. F[1]  58 million square miles
  3. F[2]  UN 1991 data states that world population is about 5.4 billion.
  4. T[2]  5.4 billion at 3.5 square feet per person is 21 billion square feet.  There are more than 27 million square feet per square mile, so we would need less than the 800 square miles of Jacksonville, FL.
  5. T[3]  (1970)
  6. F[3]  (1970)  You would need about 15,000 square miles.
  7. T[3]  (1970)
  8. T[3]  (1970)
  9. T[2]  Most people of Australia live in five cities.  Nearly 90% of the people of China live in the countryside or in relatively small villages.
  10. F[2]  UN density data is China 117, United Kingdom 234 or twice as crowded, and Italy 191 people /square kilometer.
  11. T[2]
  12. F[2]  About 1.7% increase annually.
  13. F[2]
  14. T[2]
  15. T[2]
  16. T[2}
  17. T[5]
  18. F[6]
  19. F[6]
  20. T[6]
  21. T[3]  (1970)
  22. T.  Statement by Norman Borlaug, Nobel Prize winner for his seed research, at the 1984 UN Population Conference – confirmed by others.
  23. T[7]
  24. T[6]
  25. F[6]
  26. T[6]  (1970-1990)
  27. T[6]
  28. F[3]  (1970)
  29. T[3]  (1970)
  30. T[3]  (1970)
  31. T[3]  (1970)
  32. T[4]
  33. T[4]


[1]  Major encyclopedias such as Encyclopedia Britannica.

[2]  UN Demographic Yearbook, 1989, unless another year is listed.

[3]  UN Statistical Yearbook, 1986, unless another year is listed.

[4]  UN FAO Report.  The State of Food and Agriculture, 1990, unless other years are


[5]  US Census.

[6]  UN FAO Reports.  The State of Food and Agriculture, 1952 – 1990.

[7]  Malin.  UN Proceedings of World Population Conf. (1967) Vol. 3, p. 386.