North Carolina Sprawl


What We Can Do?

Encourage Congress to allow the population to stabilize.

Contrary to the stereotype of the Texas culture demanding excessive elbow room for its individualistic citizens, the average Texan requires less developed land per person than the average American nationwide. But the decades-long tidal wave of human migration into Texas has crashed down mainly on the wetter eastern third, particularly inside and near the Dallas-San Antonio-Houston “Urban Triangle.” Besides the increased congestion’s deterioration of human quality of life there, some experts conclude that the surviving “biocapacity” of the eastern bio-regions already is too small to sustainably handle the current size of the population.

State and local officials can hope only to slow population growth in their jurisdictions if the national population continues to increase by some 2.0 to 3 million additional residents each year. U.S. population growth in recent decades has been driven primarily by migration from other countries (and the net births over deaths of those who come). Over the last two decades, authorized permanent migration has averaged around a million a year, with illegal migration varying from a few hundred thousand a year to more than a million.

Work on local solutions

The role of increasing land consumption per person has fallen in the country as a whole, but it has always been a minor factor in Texas sprawl. A two-pronged approach to saving open space should include measures to reduce wasteful over-consumption of our land and resources.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a website devoted to Smart Growth at: It contains a number of practical resources for planners, activists, developers, and local officials to help promote smart growth, which EPA defines as: “a range of development and conservation strategies that help protect our health and natural environment and make our communities more attractive, economically stronger, and more socially diverse.”