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This simple and easy to use tool will generate the population of a settlement, or at least part of the population. Below you'll see a randomly generated settlement already with information like the size of the settlement, size of the population and a list of 170 professions with a whole bunch of numbers next to them. These numbers are the amount of people practicing the corresponding profession within this settlement. Do note that these numbers can be interpreted in many ways, which I'll go over soon. But first, the instructions.
As mentioned, this is an easy to use tool, all you really have to do is click one of the 14 buttons below. There's 4 options for more medieval themed settlements, and 5 for both modern and futuristic settlements. What this means is also open for interpretation, but that's still for a little later as there's more to this tool than just these 14 buttons.
You can edit all the numbers and other data. Simply click on the text you want to edit and type away. Want a different name for your settlement? Write a new one. Do you want 5000 bakers instead of a measly 50? Add two zeros and you're done. Easy as pie. You can even change all 170 professions. Do note that anything you alter will be overwritten should you choose to generate a new settlement.
Now for the interpretation part. All the numbers generated are based on pre-defined values based loosely on our real world. But since there are so many exceptions and differences in cultures and so on, there isn't really a good average.
The professions will get a number of people that would make sense in terms of how big the population is. So if you have a city of 1 million people, you may have some 4500 bakers, for example, but only 300 architects. Things get a little tricky with these kinds of numbers and labels though, I didn't include assistants and short-term contracts, for example, so adding up all the numbers won't equal the total population.
You could interpret 300 architects as 300 architect agencies, 300 actual architects, or all 300 people involved directly in the architect business. Depending on your settlement, each of these options could work, so it's up to you to decide this to some extent. If you don't like the numbers, you can just change them.
The averages start to really get out of control when you look at the population sizes generated for the different settlements. The medieval ones will generally fit fairly well, but modern settlements are all over the place in terms of numbers. To use US examples: New York City has almost 9 million people, Chicago almost 3 million, San Francisco about 900,000 and Miami under 500,000 people. They're all among the 50 biggest cities of the USA too, out of over 300 in total. So your image of a city might not always match the numbers.
The medieval settlements are generally as follows:
- Village: Up to 1,000 inhabitants.
- Town: Between 1,000 and 10,000.
- City: Between 10,000 and 20,000.
- Big City: Between 20,000 and 270,000.
You can of course change these numbers manually after the population has been generated.
The modern and future settlements are the same, primarily because the future could be anything. An apocalyptic wasteland? Perhaps. A thriving, planetary super-city? Highly unlikely, but technically possible as well. The professions do change between these two options though. Anyway, the numbers are as follows:
- Village: Up to 5,000 people.
- Town: Between 5,000 and 20,000 people.
- City: Between 20,000 and 200,000 people.
- Big City: Between 200,000 and 1,100,000 people.
- Metropolis: Between 1,000,000 and 9,000,000 people.
Note that the most populous metropolitan area in the world at the moment is Tokyo with over 38 million people.
As mentioned, the numbers for the professions are based on what a population would likely be able to support and need. This obviously varies from place to place, you won't find fishers in a desert town, for example. I've also included a randomized variation of up to 20% in either direction, just for a more natural feel to the numbers instead of many being the exact same.
The futuristic professions are obviously open to interpretation and debatable. Will we have lawyers in the distant future? Probably not, but in some futures we might. All listed professions are meant as a quick reference, as inspiration, and to help those who need help with world building. The list is by no means complete and many professions have been grouped together for simplicity's sake, but if you need one to absolutely be there, you can just edit them.
You'll notice the bigger the city, the lower the number of farmers and farmland usually is. I see these numbers as how many people actually farm, rather than how many farmers and farmland supports the city, as it's usually the smaller farm villages that provide food for cities.
You could argue hydroponics and other technologies will make farming a city thing as well, you can add this in the editable data if it applies to you.
There are 5 save and load button sets with which you can save all the settlement content for later use. They'll be stored locally in your browser, but this doesn't work for old browsers, for those who use incognito mode or those who have cleared all browser data.
You can also print everything very easily with the regular printing function of your browser. I recommend printing in landscape, not in portrait.
It's also possible to save your population data locally. Simply click the "Save local" button to have the code create a text file with all the population code in it, then click on the download link to download it directly to your computer. Now you can use the "Choose file" field to upload your population data and use it in the future. This method makes sure there's no risk of losing all your data in case your browser data is wiped, for example, but it does mean keeping track of your downloaded file.