Gross demographics of Flat Black


#1

In Flat Black the total human population is about 1.08 trillion.

726 billion people live on the 625 primary colonies settled from Earth, including their space habitats, where they have any.

354 billion people live on the 375 new worlds that were settled in the last fifty years.

The rate of natural increase of the population is 1.14% per annum.

4.1 billion people per year migrate from primary colonies to new worlds. The average new world receives 11 million immigrants per year for fifty years until becoming independent.

The Empire terraforms on average 8.3 planets per year, and sells the real estate.

  • On new worlds that it promotes itself through the New Worlds Corporation (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Eichberger Foundation) it sells the land progressively over the fifty-year term of its establishment act.
  • Colony developers pay for their worlds in instalments over fifty years.
  • Each migrant therefore buys in effect one half-billionth of a planet, as private property or communally as public land.

#2

Besides all those colonials, there are about 50 million Imperials, including some who live and work in the colonies outside Imperial jurisdiction and some people who are permanent residents of Imperial Direct Jurisdiction but are not (or not yet, or no longer) in the Service.

I haven’t worked out the demography the demography properly, but I suppose that of the 50 million Imperials fully 34 million are Imperial servants, the rest being (a) dependent children of iImperial servants, (b) retired former Imperial servants living in IDJ (many retire to a colony instead — their homeworld, somewhere they worked and loved, somewhere where their pension will go further…), and © natives of IDJ with birthright residency employed by the small private sector and not the Service.

As a rough hack I suppose that

  • 5% of Imperial servants work at the capital, in the New Capitol, the Palace (Old Capitol), or otherwise at Sol. That’s 1.7 million.
  • 19.4% of Imperial servants work at sector HQs, or are stationed there as deployable reserves. That’s an average of 322 thousand at each of the twenty SHQs.
  • 75.6% of Imperial servants are deployed to colonies, living and working either in the Imperial enclave (which is part of IDJ), in Imperial orbital habitats, or at project stations, field offices &c. &c. out in colonial jurisdiction. That’s an average of 22 thousand in each solar system.

Further, I suppose that the non-servant portion of the Imperial population is more concentrated than that because

  • Retired Imperial servants living in colonial jurisdiction aren’t included in the count.
  • Natives of IDJ who aren’t Imperial servants aren’t included in the count if they live and work outside IDJ.
  • Imperial servants living and working in the field tend to put off their child-bearing until they get a less remote posting, and if they do have children tend to leave the kids in Imperial boarding-schools. There are schools in most enclaves, but those at SHQ and (more so) Sol are more prestigious, sometimes better or more specialised, in some ways safer, and offer better stability and continuity for the children of parents whose work is peripatetic or involved short postings to different worlds.

There are kids, retired folk, and free lances in Imperial enclaves, but fewer in proportion than the average, and virtually none out in colonial jurisdiction.

  • There are 1.6 million retired Imperial servants, dependants of Imperial servants, Imperial cadets at universities and academies, and free-lancers with residency in IDJ living at Sol.
  • There is an average of 180 thousand retired Imperial servants, dependants of Imperial servants, Imperial cadets at universities and academies, and free-lancers with residence in IDJ living at or around each SHQ.
  • There is an average of 6.2 thousand retired Imperial servants, dependants of Imperial servants, and free-lancers with residency in IDJ living in each system in the Imperial enclave and Imperial orbital facilities.

Result! The Imperial population of

  • Sol, including the Capitol, is 3.3 million
  • the average SHQ is 502 thousand
  • the average colony and its spatial environs is 28.3 thousand.

Oberth cylinders ("oneills") for Imperial capitals
#3

I have done some more careful modelling of settlement and population growth on the new worlds, and have revised figures:

In Flat Black the total human population is 842 billion people living in 1,000 systems. The least populous system has 693,000 residents (who all immigrated in the last few months). The most populous has 21.5 billion.

  • There are 625 primary colonies, with a total population of 726 billion (average 726 million).

    • The “Core” contains 68 primary colonies within 70 light-years of Sol, with a total population of 159 billion. The least populous colony in the Core has 74.4 million residents, the most populous 13.7 billion (average 2.34 billion).

    • The “Periphery” contains 567 primary colonies 70–146 light-years from Sol, with a total population of 567 billion. The least populous colony in the Periphery has 7.36 million residents and the most populous 21.5 billion (average1.01 billion).

  • The “Fringe” contains 375 secondary colonies 146–180 light-years from Sol, with a total population of 115 billion (93.3 billion immigrants and 21.7 billion currency youth). The least populous new world has 693 thousand residents and the most populous 2.65 billion.

The Empire is terraforming ten new planets per year, and selling the real estate over fifty years. The average new world will receive 549 million immigrants in the course of its development.

Last year 4.07 billion people from primary colonies migrated to 375 new worlds, an average of 10.8 million to each world. Almost 2.5% of them were terraformation workers and their families—contractors, not Imperial Servants. The emigration rate from the primary colonies to the new worlds is 0.56% of population per year.

Next year the first five new worlds will have their intervention acts expire, whereupon they will become sovereign, entitled to sign the Treaty of Luna and elect senators. Ten new settlements will be founded, so there will be 380 new worlds receiving immigrants. 4.17 billion people will emigrate from the established colonies to new worlds.


#4

Revised economic statistics came out of the same modelling, and I might as well post them here.

Gross product is ₢7.58 quadrillion per year (nominal) or SVU 11.8 quadrillion per year (real). Real gross product per head is SVU 14,000 per year (real).

The development level ranges from DL 1.4 (~ GURPS TL1 (mature) to DL 8.5 (~ GURPS TL 10 (advanced)). Weighted by population the average is DL 5.6 (~GURPS TL8).

In the Core the dev level ranges from 1.9 (on Emmaus) to 8.5 (Tau Ceti, Seeonee, Todos Santos), with a population-weighted average of 6.6 (~ GURPS TL9 (mature)). Real gross product per head is SVU 26,500 per year.

In the Periphery the dev level ranges from 1.4 (~ GURPS TL1 (mature)) to 7.9 (~ GURPS TL 10 (standard)), with a population-weighted average of 5.4 (~ GURPS TL 8). Real gross product per head is SVU 11,900 per year.

In the Periphery the dev level ranges from 4.0(~ GURPS TL5) to 7.0 (~ GURPS TL 9 (advanced)), with a population-weighted average of 5.2 (~ GURPS TL 7). Real gross product per head is SVU 6,900 per year.


#5

I have drafted a section for the new players’ guide about the size of the human populations of the many worlds.

Human populations

Disregarding brand new worlds whose first liner-load of pioneers landed only a few weeks ago, the least populous world in Flat Black is Lowrie, a reasonably pleasant planet in the outermost Periphery. Lowrie was settled 463 years ago by fewer than 24,000 pioneers, and is now occupied by 9.9 million poor farmers.
Worlds nearer to Earth were settled sooner, and received more immigrants. The oldest colony is Tau Ceti, which was settled 850 years ago and received 3.9 million immigrants over 250 years. Tau Ceti now has a population of 5.9 billion.

But seniority is not the only factor. The most populous world of all is Margulis, 89.5 light-years from Sol in the inner Periphery. Margulis was settled 630 years ago, and received a total of 57 thousand migrants. But it has vast lands, coped well with the sudden loss of Earth, and has social features that encouraged large families. Margulis’ population is 21.5 billion.

Of the 68 worlds in the Core, the average population is 2.34 billion and the median 1.32 billion. 42 worlds have more than a billion population and three have more than 10 billion (Tian Longshan, Lahar, New Athens).

Of the 557 worlds in the Periphery, the average population is 1.1 billion and the median 453 million. 170 worlds have over a billion people and two have over 10 billion (Ursula and Margulis). 62 worlds in the preiphery have fewer than 74.4 million people, which is the population of the least populous world in the Core (Lahar).

Meanwhile, the Fringe is a gigantic dark horse. Without making much impression on minds in the old worlds, the Empire has opened up 375 worlds for settlement and sold land and passage to 93 billion migrants. The most populous new world is Florida, which has been settled for forty years and has 2.65 billion residents, 30% of them native-born. 26 new worlds have populations of more than one billion. The median population is 183 million.


#6

If I were generating a character off this, I’d want to know not only population but population density.

A world of ten million people can support major cultural events and minority interests… if they can all readily get to the same place (i.e. “super London”), not if they’re spread out. Whereas the world of 21.5 billion almost certainly has at least one city that big.


#7

I’m working on it now. Population density, overpopulation, and urbanisation.

Overpopulation is particularly interesting because I put a closing bracket in the wrong place in a formula for carrying capacity and got results that were wrong but in the right sort of range of values. It’s better now.


#8

Here’s a second draft, with the material on overpopulation added. It is brief enough that by sweating fifteen words out of the section on “Habitable Planets and Moons” I was able to squeeze the two into a single two-page spread.

Human populations

Disregarding brand new worlds whose first pioneers landed only a few weeks ago, the least populous world in Flat Black is Lowrie, a pleasant planet in the outermost Periphery. Lowrie received no settlers to follow its terraforming crew, and is now occupied by 9.9 million nomads and poor farmers at a population density of 0.044 people/km².

Worlds nearer to Earth were settled sooner, and received more immigrants. The oldest colony is Tau Ceti, which was settled 850 years ago and received 3.9 million immigrants over 250 years. Tau Ceti now has a population of 5.9 billion at a density of 97 people/km².

But seniority is not the only factor. The most populous world of all is Margulis, 89.5 light-years from Sol in the inner Periphery. Margulis was settled 630 years ago, receiving a total of 57 thousand migrants. But it has vast lands, coped well with the sudden loss of Earth, and has social features that encouraged large families. Margulis’ population is 21.5 billion and its population density 71 people/km².
Of the 68 worlds in the Core, the average population is 2.34 billion and the median 1.32 billion. 42 worlds have more than a billion population and three have more than 10 billion (Tian Longshan, Lahar, New Athens).

Of the 557 worlds in the Periphery, the average population is 1.1 billion and the median 453 million. 170 worlds have over a billion people and two have over 10 billion (Ursula and Margulis). 62 worlds in the Periphery have fewer people than the least populous world in the Core (Lahar; 74.4 million).

Meanwhile, the Fringe is a gigantic dark horse. Without making much impression on minds in the old worlds, the Empire has developed 375 worlds and sold land and passage to 93 billion migrants. The most populous new world is Florida, which has 2.65 billion residents. 26 new worlds have populations of more than one billion.

Crowding and overpopulation

No planet or moon is anywhere near being covered with a cityscape. The most densely-settled is Iter, which has 132 people/km² of land. That’s more that 2.5 times Earth in the early 21st century, but less than one eighth of suburban sprawl. Iter has in fact vast high-rise conurbations, which stretch as far as the eye can see even from the top of a 100-storey tower, but between them it has great expanses of high-biotech farms, and between those tracts of desert, mountains, and ocean.

As for very low population densities, on new worlds and marginally habitable planets they usually represent small patches of settlement in the midst of unoccupied, perhaps infertile, land. But on worlds that are salubrious but economically backward they reflect dispersed, rural settlement structures.
Dry worlds, hot or cold worlds, dimly-lit worlds, or worlds where the terraforming is superficial or incomplete often have low carrying capacity, or may be fragile, They may be overpopulated even at low population density. Over half the worlds in the Core and inner Periphery suffer from scarcities or environments degradation because their populations exceed their sustainable carrying capacity with the tech they are using.