When you grow up in a place like Texas, you tend to take wide open spaces for granted. Unlike many places, you can drive all day without leaving the state. What impresses me about Australia is not only how big it is, but how empty it is. Relative to the land available, the population is tiny and clustered around the coast, especially the eastern coast.
Take a look at this satellite image of earth. Look at how dark Australia looks compared to North America and Europe.
Along the east coast, especially toward the south-east, you can see lights from Brisbane, Sydney, Wollongong, Melbourne, and all the other towns clustered along the east coast. On the west side, you can see lights from Perth. In between, there is a whole lot of dark space.
Let’s take a look at some numbers:
US population= approximately 322,762,018
Australian population=approximately 24,294,100
That means the population of the US is roughly 13 times that of Australia. However, the amount of land available is comparable to the continental US.
I was surprised to learn that the population of Texas at 28,240,245 is greater than the population of all of Australia. The state of New South Wales, where I live in Australia, has a population of around 7,618,200. Again, the land mass is fairly similar in size.
In terms of population density, in the US there are an average of 84 people per square mile. In Australia? Two. Two people. At any given moment, I seem to have more than two people within a few feet of me, let alone within a mile. In short, it is mind-boggling how much empty space there is in Australia.