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In the world of Panem the country is organised into twelve districts which support the capitol

There are in fact 13 but D13 is no longer under Capitol control

We see the Reaping in D12 which contains (by my estimate around 400 children), again by my estimate this would suggest a population of around 4000? We have no indication of how big the other districts are.

The capitol is seen to be very large and very lavish, resources are squandered and the people are very rich. Could such a small population in the districts feasibly support such a large and wasteful capitol?

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District 13 is obliterated by the Capitol. –  KharoBangdo Oct 15 '13 at 14:35
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Also dont forget that District 12 & 11 for that matter are presented as backward & poor while District 1 2 3 & such are in fact rich(er). –  KharoBangdo Oct 15 '13 at 14:37
    
Something to remember is the whole purpose of the districts is to support the Capitol. Each District does it differently, but their whole purpose is that support. The only time the Capitol really cares is when that support is interrupted in some way. You will also notice the structure of the Districts as a whole is that the further you get away from the Capitol, the poorer the District. –  Paulster2 Oct 15 '13 at 14:47
    
@KharoBangdo I don't want to spoil the story for you if you've not read more about 13 yet. However to your second comment does more wealth imply that they can produce more? I'd have thought that was more a population size thing? –  Liath Oct 15 '13 at 16:29
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@Liath I thought you were asking about the "movie". And considering that only 1st part is out yet, if you wanted to consider the 3 books into answering questions, isn't SFF.SE a better site for that. Only a suggestion –  KharoBangdo Oct 16 '13 at 3:54

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Your assumption that the population of District 12 is around 4000 is wrong. The population is somewhere close to 9000-10,000 (source wikipedia). And according to the canon, District 5 is the smallest district. So we can safely assume that District 12 is not so little.

Moreover, you err in hypothesizing that small populations in the districts cannot feasibly support such a large and wasteful capitol. The population in many of the districts live in abject poverty (District 12 even close to starvation), only to churn the resources and support themselves and the Capitol. Each district specializes in something, for example, District 12 specializes in mining (mostly coal). Now coal is quite essential for production of electricity and other industries that run on a furnace.

Thats why, even though some of the districts are less populous, they contribute to the Capitol through their specialization.

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