From the same source as above:
The raccoon has had a tremendous reversal of fortune in the last 70 years both in terms of numbers and distribution. By the late 1980s, the number of raccoons in the U.S. was estimated to be 15 to 20 times larger than the amount that existed during the 1930s. This reversal of fortune is partly due to the widespread regrowth of forests and revegetation of riparian areas, partly due to the rise of suburbia where they do so well, partly due to a decline in trapping and hunting, partly due to raccoons spreading out into new areas with the arrival of human-based food and denning structures (especially in the Plains states), and partly due to the stocking of raccoon in areas as far flung as California and Alaska (where islands were stocked with raccoons from Indiana).
Raccoons are not native to most of Canada, and in fact some tribes in nothern Canada still do not have a name for the raccoon.
There are now raccoon populations in Germany (introduced in 1934) and they are spreading into France and the Netherlands. In 1936, raccoons were released into the former Soviet Union, and commercial trapping began in 1954. By 1964 the number had risen to over 40,000, but due to deep loose snow (which makes winter foraging very difficult) the raccoon seems to only thrive in the Caucus region and Byelorussia.
Most of a raccoon's diet is fruits, berries, nuts and seeds, and they strongly prefer to den near water (average distance 200-400 feet) which is why berry-rich and nut-rich hedgerows near water and corn and soy fields are the most likely location to find them. In the spring diet may be supplemented with birds eggs and hatchlings, and in the fall wounded wildlife may also be an important food source. In late fall acorns are important, and in the summer insects. Crustaceans are prefered all the time. Frogs are rarely eaten (hard to catch?)
Raccoon population densities are very variable and depend almost entirely on food. Densities range from a low of 1-3 per square kilometer for North Dakota and Manitoba to 4-14 per square kiolometer in Texas chaparal, to 15-20 in the tidewater and marshy areas of Virginia. Numbers as high as 30 per square kilometer are reported in some swamps and waterfowl areas (where eggs, nestlings and wounded birds are important food supplements), and on the Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri (a marsh), 100 raccoons were removed from a 102 acre tract -- a density level of 250 per square kilometer.
Raccoon home ranges also depend on food density. A typical range is 100 to 250 acres, but they may be as small as five acres to as much as 12,000 acres depending on food availability. Male racoons always have much larger ranges than females, and almost always leave the area they are born in.
Canine distemper and rabies appear to be the big population control dieases for rabies, with distemper capable of wiping out a raccoon population in an area. The spread of rabies was greatly accelerated northward in the eastern U.S. in the 1970s due to several thousand raccoons from Florida being used to restock depleted hunting club lands in North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Raccoons often move their young from tree dens to ground dens in the spring, when they are 45-65 days old, perhaps so they will not fall out, and perhaps to encourage them to start foraging on their own.
Raccoon harvest has gone up and down with the price of pelts, fads (for coats and hats) and population densities. The peak raccoon harvest was about 5.2 million pelts a year for the years 1980-83, but pelt prices have plumeted since then, and during the first half of the 1990s, only 1 to 2 million raccoon were trapped a year. Unlike fox and mink, raccoons are never farm raised, as it's simply non economical. Only about 200,000 raccoons a year are harvested in Canada, reflecting their much smaller populations (most are taken in Ontario). The majority of raccoon pelts are exported to Europe, especially West Germany, where they are sheared and dyed and sold as imitation otter, mink or seal.
The colloquial name for the raccoon in Mexico is the "tejon solitaria" which means solitary badger. Columbus called them the "perro tejon" or badger-like dog.