Posted on October 6, 2009
Tell you something you knew already.
Australia is a big place.
Its pretty much the same width as the USA – 4000-ish km from east to west at the widest point and only a bit smaller in terms of total land area. However, only 21 million people live here vs 320 million or so in the US. Thats a lot of empty space then. Where I am in Western Australia about 35% of the land area of the county, we only have 2.1 million people. And about 1.8 of those live in the Perth metro area.
Thats a hell of a lot of empty space. WA (0.8 people per sq km) only a bit more populated than Alaska (0.46) which is mostly tundra and wilderness, and waaaay lower density than any other US state (next on the list is Wyoming with 2.2 and there’s not a lot there apart from mountains and prairie)
So basically its more empty than a very empty thing, and I love it. The drive to York barely leaves metropolitan Perth, but its really clear even once you hit the forest that that’s pretty much it for population for some time. Miles and miles of forest and farms. Then pretty much sod all. Until you get to the other side 3500km away. Even Alice Springs, which is kind of in the middle of Australia, only has population of 23,000. Only a small town then.
And I love it – even in suburbia where I live, its relatively quiet, well spaced out. The UK is so packed full of people, falling over each other, whereas Perth, for all its faults and somewhat basic facilities (doesnt have the population density to support more), has so much more room to move, and that has to be good for quality of life. And if thats all too much – an hour or so’s drive, there’s pretty much nobody for thousands of kilometres.