U.S. Population, Land Area and Density, 1790-2000

In the first century of its existence, the United States added regularly to its store of undeveloped land through acquisitions such as the Louisiana Purchaes and conquest, which brought in a great deal of land that had formerly belonged to Mexico. However, the corresponding increases in population resulted in a regular rise in the number of Americans per square mile in every decade except 1810 and 1850, when the aforementioned actions were taken. Even the purchase of Alaska was not able to reverse the increase in density. Since 1870, when the total land area reached about three and a half million square miles, the population density has risen at the same rate as the growth in population.

Census
Year

Total
Population

Land
Area
(sq. mi.)

Density
(Persons
per sq. mi.)

1790

3,929,214

864,746

4.5

1800

5,308,483

864,746

6.1

1810

7,239,881

1,681,828

4.3

1820

9,638,453

1,749,462

5.5

1830

12,860,702

1,749,462

7.4

1840

17,063,353

1,749,462

9.8

1850

23,191,876

2,940,042

7.9

1860

31,443,321

2,969,640

10.6

1870

38,558,371

3,540,705

10.9

1880

50,189,209

3,540,705

14.2

1890

62,979,766

3,540,705

17.8

1900

76,212,168

3,547,314

21.5

1910

92,228,496

3,547,045

26.0

1920

106,021,537

3,546,931

29.9

1930

123,202,624

3,551,608

34.7

1940

132,164,569

3,554,608

37.2

1950

151,325,798

3,552,206

42.6

1960

179,323,175

3,540,911

50.6

1970

203,302,031

3,536,855

57.5

1980

226,542,199

3,539,289

64.0

1990

248,709,873

3,536,338

70.3

2000

281,421,906

3,537,438

79.6

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