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PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 8:37 am 
Sanci
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I am working on getting my economy and population on parts working so I am curious

how do you all deal with it? I am currently experimentating with a hexagonal system to add more variaety and possibility for differenses and more rather than working on scuh big scales where its more or less guess work in extreme


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:08 am 
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 12:39 pm 
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WeepingElf wrote:
Bleep? I understand nothing.

Population of for exampel a kingdom/continent/whatever

How is it decieded? You can do large scale things where you say for exampel X lives here but how do you determine it without going beyond whats reasonable and such? How do you work it?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:55 pm 
Avisaru
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You can look at real-world examples. For example, agriculture and industrialization both boosted the world's population massively; so industrialized nations can have tens of millions of people, while non-industrialized one would find supporting such amounts difficult. Other than that, it did take me several shots to get my statistics (almost) right.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 2:04 pm 
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Modern nations based on highly capitalized agriculture can have in excess of 2000 people per square kilometer of arable land. Hunter gatherers average somewhere around 1.

Statistics!

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:50 pm 
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I think I calculated the population of the Viksor by working out how many people lived in each of the main climate zones (is that a correct term?), getting data for the population densities of countries with similar climates, and doing the maths from there. But I may just have imagined that.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:01 pm 
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Depending on the tech level and planetological constraints of your conworld, not to mention any phlebotinum present, it might be harder or easier to get data that helps you set parameters in which to work. If your conworld is pretty 20-century-ish and has no significant magic, a planet pretty much the same as ours, and more or less similar culture and biology, then yeah, take RL data and play with that. However, if your conworld is, say, neolithic and set in a 2,5G planet that gets twice as much light as ours and spins around once every six hours then.... yeeeah, not so simple. Even harder if you have different biology, and practically impossible -or incredibly easy, depending- if there's any sort of magic whatsoever.

As a general rule for premodern settings without magic and crop yields similar to those on earth, take anywhere between 10 to 40 people per square kilometer of settled, reasonably irrigated arable land. This gives you roughly between 3 and 15 million people for someplace the size of Montana [I just had the wikipedia article for the state of Montana open, so that's my example, yeah. Looks like a pretty nice place, too, I should go there sometime before I die].

Do consider, keeping in with the example, that Montana has, in reality, like one million people living in it, modern agricultural methods and all. That's mainly because most of almost everywhere sucks for agriculture. Mountains, canyons, desert, cliffs, forests. Most of earth is either too dry, too rocky, too wet or too uneven to make for easy agriculture, and even then, a lot of ground just sucks. Depending on dominant biomes, just work out what percentage of your region is farmland [this depends on the total that *might* be farmland minus the pieces that no one has turned into farmland] and multiply that by 30 and you have a nice ceiling for the population of your region: however this question is less relevant than you think: most places, especially before the industrial revolution, are far less populated than they might be.

More towards more efficient farming and that number grows, and denser, richer in CO2 atmospheres will rise it as well. Less solar irradiation and longer nights will probably lower it, unless the local vegetation is adapted to them, and then it likely lowers it anyway. a denser air makes for easy gas exchange, as does CO2 richness: more nice gasses for plants to make shit happen with. Another relevant question pertains to soil richness: volcanic geologies produce richer soils, as do moderately complex ecosystems. The history of the region is also relevant: former jungles, for instance, tend to have shitty soils, and former deserts tend to have thin layers of soil over a large reservoir of sand, which sucks.

Do consider rainfall and temperature: a pinetree grows thrice as fast in Buenos Aires as it does here in Santiago, and both cities are practically the same distance from the equator, its just they get more moisture and far more heat, not to mention milder winters and flatter, richer soils, whereas Chile is mostly pebbles. okay, I'm exaggerating.

The point is, work out a ceiling and multiply it for the percentage of unused land in the area; Europe now has like 2% non used land, but a really large chunk of the americas is unsettled nature: hell, I took a 500 kilometer drive the other day and most of the roadside scenery was an endless series of shrub-covered hills, and this country has TEN times the population density of Montana. Modern day france, for instance, has 100 people per square click, and many countries have more than a thousand per square click. yeah, kilometers is clicks now, I'm in Vietnam, apparently.

Do keep in mind that the ceiling is by no means a guide: Uruguay, one of the most blessed countries in the planet arable-landwise, merely has 20 people per square click. that is a pretty reasonable density, as far as premodern countries go, as far as I know. Why, you ask? because they're cattle people, they use the land more for feeding cows than for growing stuff... that and they don't breed so much. Anyway, yeah, for premodern earth-likes, take a ceiling of about half a million people per New Jersey sized chunk to be the pretty much maximum amount.

Demography-wise, the more primitive, the more people live in the fields: or better yet: until the agricultural revolution, 90% of people live in small agricultural villages. or 80%, or something like that.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:06 pm 
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I'm trying to decide if 100k people is plenty for a bronze age era population in an area about the size of the Levant.

It's a mediterranean climate, although it might be much wetter than Israel and the surrounding area.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:53 pm 
Sanci
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Bristel wrote:
I'm trying to decide if 100k people is plenty for a bronze age era population in an area about the size of the Levant.

It's a mediterranean climate, although it might be much wetter than Israel and the surrounding area.


*checks Biblical census figures for guesstimation*

Considering the Levant pretty much covers the core of Solomon's Israelite Empire in the Bible, and according to the Book of Numbers, the Israelite population numbered around 600,000 people on the eve of the Conquest of Canaan, I'd say you could have a population of at least 100,000, although probably no more than c 3-5 million.

fyi, I am no Biblical literalist- I know that the numbers were prone to exaggeration for all ancient civilizations, but it is a guesstimate to go on.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:30 am 
Avisaru
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Torco wrote:
Do consider, keeping in with the example, that Montana has, in reality, like one million people living in it, modern agricultural methods and all. That's mainly because most of almost everywhere sucks for agriculture. Mountains, canyons, desert, cliffs, forests. Most of earth is either too dry, too rocky, too wet or too uneven to make for easy agriculture, and even then, a lot of ground just sucks. Depending on dominant biomes, just work out what percentage of your region is farmland [this depends on the total that *might* be farmland minus the pieces that no one has turned into farmland] and multiply that by 30 and you have a nice ceiling for the population of your region: however this question is less relevant than you think: most places, especially before the industrial revolution, are far less populated than they might be.


Don't forget that modern farming methods allow fewer people to run a farm. I would not be surprised to find farming regions in China with much higher population density than similar regions in the United States, not just because of a generally larger population, but because Chinese agriculture still makes use of a great deal of small farms worked by peasants (yes, they really are peasants -- they hold 75-year leases on land owned by the government). Unfortunately, I don't think I can draw a quick comparison right here without some serious error margins, since while much of the prime farmland in the US is in states like Montana with few population centers, it seems like every major farming province in China also has one or two huge cities in it.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:43 am 
Sanci
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Torco wrote:
As a general rule for premodern settings without magic and crop yields similar to those on earth, take anywhere between 10 to 40 people per square kilometer of settled, reasonably irrigated arable land. This gives you roughly between 3 and 15 million people for someplace the size of Montana [I just had the wikipedia article for the state of Montana open, so that's my example, yeah. Looks like a pretty nice place, too, I should go there sometime before I die].


Warning Torco... I'm not sure if you are familiar with the term "redneck," but there are a lot of those types of people (TEA Party, bigoted, xenophobic, extremely individualistic and independent, conservative gun toters- the negative sense of the term redneck, in other words) in Montana according to my ex-girlfriend, who was born and raised there, and wants to move back when she is done with college, and the people living there are proud of it!


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:21 am 
Lebom
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It does heavily depend on technology and geography.

Mebhara for instance has a land area of ~663,000 km^2 (approximately 27% of which is used for agricultural or other food-raising purposes) and a population of ~40 million, with ~1980s tech, which is a population density of ~60 people km^-2, on par with Ireland or Mexico, which I think is reasonable.

But obviously if you're pre-industrial and especially pre-agricultural, this would be far too large a density.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:21 pm 
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Here are a handfull of figures gleaned many years ago from a number of scholarly articles. They're not definitive, of course. And although I think they're all pskm, there's always a chance that some or all of them should have been psm... but I don't think so.

So:
Average population densities in the mid-1700s:
~5 - Tahiti before contact
<8 - Russia and Scandinavia
8-16 - "Europe" as a whole
16-64 - Britain and Spain
32-64 - France
64-128 - Italy, the Low Countries, and "China"
64-256 - the ten densest prefectures of China
From another source, the average for "Western Europe" was about 55.
Another source says that the densest prefecture in china reached 300 at some point in the century, but thinks that china as a whole averaged only ~55.

In the mid-1500s:
52 - Poland
83 - Saxony
75 - minimum for any region of Italy
130 - attained in many parts of Venice (eg around Verona)
130 - Brabant
210 - Venetian delta

Circa 0AD:
3 - southern china
80 - Manchuria
150 - densest parts of northern China

"Qing Dynasty" (two sources):
>500 - densest southern prefectures

china, 1948: ~60.

[Note here that circa 0AD china grew millet and wheat, which didn't grow well in the south. Population shifted dramatically because a) rice, which grew well in the south and poorly in the north, supplanted wheat and millet as the favoured crop, b) millions fled south due to barbarians in the north, and c) nomadic rulers replaced fields in the north with land for grazing. Northern China now has 45% of the land but 6% of the population; in 0AD, the 10% of the land that comprised Manchuria and surrounding areas represented 60% of the population]

Hunter-Gatherers: ~0.5

"Medieval Demographics Made Easy", for 'medieval' times, says:
30 - minimum
40 - British Isles
90 - Germany, Italy
100 - France

The most populated areas of the Fens (very fertile but waterlogged area of England now considered a backwater):
114 - in the 13th century
80 - in 1951

-------------------

So, from the above, my general rule of thumb is that, for pre-modern agriculture: an inhospitable area, or an area with very basic agriculture, can sustain 5-20 pskm; a better but still unfriendly terrain can give you 20-50pskm; good terrain can give you 50-100 pskm; anything over 100 is going to be a highly-urbanised river delta or similarly favourable small location; anything over 200 is one of the densest places on earth; 300 is probably the upper limit. With advanced agriculture, you can push that up to 500, as well as getting the best out of some of the less-good areas. But don't imagine that everywhere will become more populated over that time - as the example of the fens shows, the heights of population require particular dedication and are somewhat random - not every delta is going to become a population centre.

------

Here are some other useful population stats I've collected (again, no sureties of accuracy). Two important things to consider are yields and growth rates.

Yields:
Germany in 1300: 750kg/ha. Minimum necessary consumption, 150-200 kg per annum per capita.
England in 1340: 540kg/ha. Minimum necessary consumption, 217 kg per annum per capita.
England, 1820: 1400kg/ha.
USA wheat harvest: 12.6 bushels per acre in 1820, rising to 17.1 in 1949, to 31.4 in 1979, and 39.2 in 2002.

A rule of thumb somebody supplied: 250-300 litres of wheat per ACRE, compared to 500 litres per annum per capita to live.

Remember the importance of crop. China illustrates the importance of rice vs wheat. England's near-tripling of yields was in part a result of the adoption of potatos. Potatoes provide TWICE as many calories per hectare as wheat.

----

And growth: in general, normal growth varies from around 1% per year to around -1% per year. For instance, China lost 1% per year during the Manchu conquests, and grow at between 0.4 and 0.8 from 1700 to 1786. The highest level of growth you'll find in normal situations is England before the Black Death: 31-38% every 50 years. It lead to massive over-population which then collapsed.

-------------------------------------------------------------

Here's a guide to how you should be thinking about this:
1. Remember that most land is inhospitable. In Europe, Scandinavia and Russia provide vast, vast areas. Likewise in China. What's more, even most of western europe is only poor-to-average: only the lower river valleys can support high densities, and only france, northern italy, the low countries, and parts of germany, and very small parts of England, and maybe some parts of Greece and Yugoslavia, have supported even moderately high densities.
2. People don't appear out of nowhere. Unless your area has been static a long time, don't just work out the hypothetical maximum. Consider population growth. Work out the upper threshold, and then consider the pattern of growth up to that threshold. Large parts of Europe have not usually been at their maximum density - and many places still aren't! After the Black Death, large areas were depopulated. Even before it, while population had hit a ceiling in some places, in other areas (particularly in Germany), huge areas remained almost unpopulated. Civilisation is not a universal condition, it is a disease that must be spread from place to place by people, and it takes time to expand.
3. The highest populations (I'd say anything over 100) require urbanisation. Urbanisation has its own prerequisites. A given area won't reach its potential unless the political situation is right for the development of cities.

On which note, don't be fooled into thinking that urbanisation is recent. The classical world had urbanisation in the 25-50% ratio. Indeed, they started out high and then declined, as populations moved into the wilderness and tames it. It's only the medieval period that saw a calamitous collapse of urbanisation, and consequently limited population densities.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 1:08 pm 
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Hope that may have been of some use to somebody.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 3:33 pm 
Smeric
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Nice figures. my 30psk estimate was a bit on the low end, apparently...

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:24 am 
Avisaru
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Ollock wrote:
Torco wrote:
Do consider, keeping in with the example, that Montana has, in reality, like one million people living in it, modern agricultural methods and all. That's mainly because most of almost everywhere sucks for agriculture. Mountains, canyons, desert, cliffs, forests. Most of earth is either too dry, too rocky, too wet or too uneven to make for easy agriculture, and even then, a lot of ground just sucks. Depending on dominant biomes, just work out what percentage of your region is farmland [this depends on the total that *might* be farmland minus the pieces that no one has turned into farmland] and multiply that by 30 and you have a nice ceiling for the population of your region: however this question is less relevant than you think: most places, especially before the industrial revolution, are far less populated than they might be.


Don't forget that modern farming methods allow fewer people to run a farm. I would not be surprised to find farming regions in China with much higher population density than similar regions in the United States, not just because of a generally larger population, but because Chinese agriculture still makes use of a great deal of small farms worked by peasants (yes, they really are peasants -- they hold 75-year leases on land owned by the government). Unfortunately, I don't think I can draw a quick comparison right here without some serious error margins, since while much of the prime farmland in the US is in states like Montana with few population centers, it seems like every major farming province in China also has one or two huge cities in it.


This is very true, but the average population density of a country, or any other largish and mostly self-sufficient area, will still be higher with more efficient and less labour-intensive farming methods. It's just that the rural population will be less.

As for the comparison between China and the US, it may be relevant to note how long people have been living there, and how they were settled. The current population in Montana mostly moved there withing the last 200 years or so, at a time when most of the cities in America were around the coasts of the continent. Most of China (or at least the eastern half), on the other hand, has been inhabited by settled agriculturalists for a good three thousand years.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:42 am 
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Salmoneus wrote:
Hope that may have been of some use to somebody.

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