Cascadia’s population, including not only British Columbia, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, but also northwestern California, western Montana, and southeast Alaska is about 16.3 million. It’s rising at a bit under 1 percent per year right now – more slowly than in the 1990s and, unlike in the 1990s, more slowly than the world overall.

World population is growing about 1.3 percent per year right now. This I know because the independent Population Reference Bureau has just released its annual World Population Data Sheet (pdf).

For reasons that have to do with me being a social misfit who finds comfort in long columns of numbers, I get oddly excited when a new World Population Data Sheet comes out.

Here’s what I learned while I should have been eating lunch today (I often forget to eat when presented with fresh stands of well-ordered digits).

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  • Cascadia is in the same population league as the following countries: Cote d’Ivoire is somewhat larger at 16.9 million people and its population is pulling away from ours, at a 2 percent annual growth rate. Cameroon is a little smaller, at 16.1 million, and gaining on us, at 2 percent annually. Chile is 16 million and growing slightly faster than us, but we probably overtook it in population during the booming ’90s. Kazakhstan has 15 million residents and is growing at 0.6 percent per year, so we’ve left it in the dust.

    The Netherlands, those bike-riding flatlanders, are almost exactly tied with us in population, but we’re pulling away. The Netherlands is growing at 0.4% annually.

    Not that it’s a race we should want to win. In fact, the prize goes to the slowest.