The mapping of around 60,000 buildings in the Mayan Biosphere Reserve of Guatemala has revealed a civilization much larger than previously estimated, at an estimated 10 million people. See how this compares to Los Angeles County, an area with 10 million people.
|Area||21,602 km²||12,305 km²|
|Population||10 Million Estimated||10.14 Million|
|Age||250 – 900 (650)||1850 – 2018 (168)|
|Homeless Population||???||57,794 (in 2017)|
|Prices||Cost of this first survey: $500,000||Median price of a house in LA: $590,400 (2017)|
The area under study is approximately twice as large as Los Angeles, but had a similar estimated population. The Mayan Biosphere Reserve is approximately the size of the state of Vermont, which has a population of approximately 624,000 people. Near the Reserve, UNESCO reports that there is a population of approximately 500,000 creating some pressure on the region. So to compare, the current situation, while not like Vermont, is at a similar area and population. The old civilization operated at a scale and density closer to the current Los Angeles.
Environmentalists often clucked our tongues and mused about how the great Mayan civilization collapsed due to environmental failure. I feel we should be more humble. We achieved the old Mayan level of population density only after 1950.