[[quoteright:350:[[Disney/{{Zootopia}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bunnyburrow.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[[ExplosiveBreeder We're gonna need a bigger burrow...]]]]

In fiction, population signs tend to be updated in real time, whether to reflect new additions, or more often, to reflect a murder spree. A frequent means of establishing a "dangerous Wild West town" setting is a shot of the town sign, with several crossed-out population numbers, indicating frequent reductions due to violent deaths and/or people moving out. A ghost town may be shown with a sign that clocks all the way down to zero that way, presumably updated by the last resident to leave.

A specific sub-trope will have a killer be nice enough to peform a community service and adjust the population sign just before or after he offs someone.

For the industrial/workplace version of this trope, see XDaysSince.


[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* Parodied in a story of the Italian Western parody ''Pedrito el Drito'': a man has just finished painting a population sign when he hears a bang and updates the population. Then a baby is delivered, and the sign has to be adjusted again. Then there's a new shooting... Then the baby turn out to be twins... Then ''quadruplets''... Then the new father [[BlackComedy commits suicide]] because he can't support all of them... At last, the painter snaps and axes the sign into chips.
* In issue 2 of ''Six-Gun Gorilla'' Tango, a settlement in [[DeathWorld the Blister]], has several crossed-out numbers on the "Welcome" sign on the edge of town, with the last one reading "32?" by the time Blue and the Gorilla get there. In issue 4, [[spoiler: PsychoForHire Auchenbran wipes out the population of the town for consorting with the protagonist, Blue-3425, and is seen writing a big red zero on the sign.]]
* In one ''ComicBook/{{Condorito}}'' story, set in the Wild West, a fairly typical gag is set right at the start with Condorito sniping some guy with his handgun and fixing the sign to read one less. [[BrickJoke At the end of the story]], following an enormous shootout & bar brawl, he comes back to the sign, and after a few substractions (left on the sign itself) arrives at a ''much'' smaller number.
* Population signs in ''ComicBook/LuckyLuke'' are occasionally represented as using movable digits, like on a scoreboard (in those cases, the sign usually displays "Population today").


[[folder: Films -- Animated ]]

* In ''WesternAnimation/SouthParkBiggerLongerAndUncut'', at the beginning of "Hell Isn't Good", we see a sign for Heaven with the counter at only 2500, while a sign for Hell is in the millions and is rapidly increasing.
* In ''Disney/{{Zootopia}}'', the sign for Bunnyburrow (shown in the page image) has a ticker that [[ExplosiveBreeder never stops going up]].


[[folder: Films -- Live-Action ]]

* The movie ''Film/{{Oblivion 2013}}'' establishes its SpaceWestern credentials with a scene in which the bad guy moseys into town and adjusts the population sign to -1... with the blood of his latest victim.
* The population sign was updated several times in ''Film/MyNameIsBruce'', as more and more people were killed. At one point the guy painting the sign is killed and he uses his last moments to paint on the new number.
* This occurs in ''Film/{{THX 1138}}''. There was an "Officers in service" counter for robot policemen; after one was in a car crash, the number reduced by a tick.
* ''Film/FreddysDeadTheFinalNightmare'' reveals that whenever Freddy kills, he alters the Dream World version of the "Welcome to Springwood" sign to reflect the decreasing population.
* Smalltown, USA in ''Film/TheMuppets'' has a population sign which flips, seemingly by magic, to keep the population count accurate whenever the main characters enter or leave the town.
* ''Film/ThePostman'': The Pineveiw town sign has a population number that has been repeatedly crossed out and re-written, going from 267 to 132 even before the town came to the attention of the [[CrazySurvivalist Holinists]].


[[folder: Literature ]]

* In ''Literature/BoredOfTheRings'', the village of Whee has a welcoming sign announcing its population as "96 and still growing!" with 1004 and 328 each crossed out before it.


[[folder: Live Action Television ]]

* In ''Series/BattlestarGalactica2003'', the president of the colonies keeps a running tally of the number of humans left alive. Starting from the second season, the opening credits also show this number, updated week-to-week. The number is 50298 in the first episode and 39406 in the last one.
** Notably, near the end of the premier mini-series, there's a moving moment where the president's aide, amidst a flurry of other news and updates from the civilian fleet, informs her that a pregnant woman has given birth. Her face lights up with hope and delight as she takes a moment to savor ''adding one'' to the population/survivor tally on display in her make-shift office.


[[folder: Theatre ]]

* ''Theatre/PaintYourWagon'' uses this to show the decline of Rumson's population from 4000 to 6.


[[folder: Theme Parks ]]

* At the Ride/DisneyThemeParks:
** Disneyland and Walt Disney World have population signs above the railway station at the foot of Main Street, which gets amended whenever a guest milestone is achieved.
** In front of ''Ride/BigThunderMountainRailroad'' at Disneyland is a sign showing the population number of the nearby towns, which reveals that the number of people has gone from 2,015 to just 38.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* The town of Fyrestone has a sign like this on the outskirts in ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands}}''.


[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* There was also that incident in ''Webcomic/LookingForGroup'' where Richard massacres an entire village, and on his way out, he crosses out the population counter on the sign, writing in a '0' instead. Using the blood of his victims as paint, obviously.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* At the start of the ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' short "WesternAnimation/DripAlongDaffy", a gunshot is heard, the population sign goes down one number and a sign reading "Sheriff Wanted" pops up. Pan over to the cemetery, where the population (listed as all sheriffs) goes up one number.
* In the first episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Doug}}'', the Bluffington population counter ticks over by four as the family drives past it.
-->'''Doug:''' Population: 20,001. I guess the "one" is me.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' episode "To Love and Die in Dixie", an old man in a rocking chair paints over the population number for the town of Bumblescum, amending the number by adding the Griffins to it.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones'' episode [[RipVanWinkle "Rip Van Flintstone"]], Fred wakes up after a 20-year nap and is shocked to find that Bedrock's population sign reads 30,000 instead of 2,000 like when he last saw it.
* ''[[WesternAnimation/TexAveryMGMCartoons The Shooting of Dan McFoo]]'' opens with a shot of the sign for Coldernell, Alaska, whose population sign decreases whenever a gunshot is heard.


[[folder: Real Life ]]

* Played with on a billboard in LA, listing the number of smoking deaths each year. [[http://articles.latimes.com/2012/feb/05/opinion/la-oe-brower-smokingdeaths-20120205 It gets reset every January 1.]]