America is Shrinking Says Census

Posted by GIS talk On Monday, May 02, 2011
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America’s land mass has shrunk by an area larger than the size of Connecticut in the last decade, according to the Census Bureau. The nation’s total land area has decreased by about 5,500 square miles, five times the size of Rhode Island, to 3,531,905 since 2000. But government geographers say Americans should not panic that the country is disappearing, as most of the decline is the result of improved mapping technology.

The government agency said improvements in satellite imagery mean it is now easier to distinguish between land and water and that is the reason for much of the decline. But the experts acknowledged that some of the decrease in land area may have come from erosion, hurricane damage and rising sea levels.

At the same time the Census Bureau recorded an 11,808 square mile increase in the measurement of America’s territorial waters since 2000 to 264,837 – a rise equivalent to the surface area of Lake Ontario.

Some of the biggest shifts in land size were recorded in Louisiana, which suffered severe flooding and erosion after Hurricane Katrina. In New York, the Borough of Queens, shrank by one square mile in the ten years, because of erosion and rising sea levels. Since 2000, the state’s land mass decreased by more than 350 square miles.


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