|Population Density Vermillion, Edgar, Coles and Douglas counties 1830 to 2010|
Illinois is so fertile that farm wives had to hang their brooms on the wall lest the broomstick strike roots. A population density of 50 people per square mile for the period 1870-1940 looks defensible for three of the four counties.
|Population Density Freestone, Leon, Anderson and Houston County, Texas 1850-to-2010|
|Population Density Davidson, Hanson, Sanborn and Miner, South Dakota 1880-to-2010|
The second cut
Yes, Judy, you are absolutely, 100% correct. Families 1870-to-1940 were much bigger than two kids. I weaseled and you caught me. I hedge by saying "maintenance" or replacement but that was not the mode they were in.
It is telling that even with large families the population was very stable. The excess spilled west or into urban areas. Point of interest is that cities are large net energy consumers and urban areas might not be able to sponge up surplus population in a Seven Cows scenario.
Another point is that many people, perhaps even the majority, live in towns even in rural counties.They are the blacksmiths and doctors and postmaster and school teachers. If half the people live in a "town" then the average farm size doubles.
One factor that has not been commented on is that farms smaller than 160 acres will likely require pushing roads into the section. It is possible to split up a square section into 80 acre parcels by giving each parcel a quarter mile of road frontage and having the lot a half mile deep but it gets challenging if the parcels are smaller.
Thanks for all the comments. The stake-in-the-ground to start calculating a an equilibrium population density is going to be highly dependent on WHERE you live.