Population geography
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Population Geography. Distribution of World Population Rates of Population Growth Demographic Transition Theory Overpopulation (Malthus and Neo-Malthusians. Humanity has wandered the earth for a very long time. The first hominids roamed eastern Africa 5-7 million years ago.

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Population Geography

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Population geography

Population Geography

  • Distribution of World Population

  • Rates of Population Growth

  • Demographic Transition Theory

  • Overpopulation (Malthus and Neo-Malthusians

Humanity has wandered the earth for a very long time

Humanity has wandered the earth for a very long time.

The first hominids roamed eastern Africa 5-7 million years ago.

The first modern humans walked out of africa as hunter gatherers only 70 000 years ago

The first modern humans walked out of Africa as hunter-gatherers only 70,000 years ago.

Population geography

At that time there were probably about 1 million humans on Earth

Graph Source: www.census.gov & www.wikipedia.org

When darwin published on the origin of species there were 1 billion humans

When Darwin published On the Origin of Species there were 1billion humans

Graph Source: www.census.gov & www.wikipedia.org

When i was born there were 3 6 billion humans

When I was born there were3.6billion humans

Graph Source: www.census.gov & www.wikipedia.org

6 914 504 604 humans today

6,914,504,604humans today

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the world population at:

…and counting!

Our impacts are growing

Las Vegas, Nevada

LANDSAT Images 1973 - 2006

Our impacts are growing.

Human impact on the environment

Human Impact on the Environment, 1700

Human Impact on the Environment, 2032

Human Impact on the Environment, 2002

Human Impact on The Environment

Source: Hugo Ahlenius. 2003. UNEP/GRID-Arendal. Global Environmental Outlook 3, 2002.

Population geography


  • Densely Population Areas

  • East Asia

  • South Asia

  • Southeast Asia

  • Europe

  • North America

  • Sparsely Population Areas

  • arid lands

  • tropical rainforests

  • highlands

  • high latitudes

World and country population totals

World and Country Population Totals

Distribution and Structure: 3/4 of people live on 5% of earth's surface!

Total: 6.8 billion on planet as of March 5, 2010

Current World Population Counter from U.S Census Bureau

Five most populous regions and countries


  • East Asia1.6 billionChina1.3 billion

  • South Asia1.5 billionIndia1.1 billion

  • Europe1 billionU.S. 300 million

  • SE Asia600 millionIndonesia250 million

  • Eastern N. America &Canada 275 millionBrazil188 million

Population geography

Kolkata, India

Population geography

Rajasthan, India

Population geography

Overpopulation is when there are too many people relative to available resources. Simple density is not the determinant.

Population geography

Human Population Projections

How many people will the planet eventually support?

The U.S. Census Bureau and the United Nations Statistics Division both agree that world population will level off somewhere between 9 and 11 billion people and then start to fall.

Doubling time

Doubling Time

  • How long will it take for a population of a given area to double in size?

  • Divide 70 by the annual population natural increase rate and you find the doubling time.

  • World = 58

    Sub-Saharan Africa = 30

    Uganda = 20 years

    Costa Rica = 80

    U.S.A. = 128 years

    Denmark = 333 years

    Russia = ?

    Japan = ?

Source: National Geographic Magazine

  • Example: Bangladesh

  • 70 / R.N.I. => 70/2.09 = 33.5 years

  • Bangladesh with a population of 144.3 million people in 2005 will have approximately 288.6

  • million people in 2038, if the population continues to grow at current rates.

Population geography

Rates of Natural Increase

Population geography

Total Fertility Rate

Population geography

Total Fertility Rate - the average number of children a women will have in her childbearing years. This rate varies from just over 1 (Japan, Italy) to around 7 (Niger, Mali). The U.S. rate is 2.

2.1 is generally regarded as the replacement rate (the rate at which a population neither grows nor shrinks) in the developed world. In less developed countries this rate should be higher to account for so many children not reaching childbearing age.

Population geography

Infant Mortality Rate – the number of deaths of children under the age of one per thousand live births. The rate ranges from as low as 3 (Singapore, Iceland) to as much as 150 (Sierra Leone, Afghanistan). The U.S. rate is just over 6. High infant mortality tends to result in higher fertility rates as families seek “insurance” for the loss of children.

World death rates

World Death Rates

  • Epidemiological Transition is the shift from infectious to degenerative diseases that occurs with development.

  • Infectious diseases (developing world)

    • HIV/AIDS

    • SARS

    • Malaria

    • Cholera

  • Degenerative diseases (developed countries)

    • Obesity

    • Tobacco use

Adults and children living with hiv aids mid 2006

Adults and Children Living with HIV/AIDS, mid-2006

Population geography

Life Expectancy

Life expectancy

Life Expectancy

  • Rapid increase throughout world

  • Infant mortality rate declining in most countries

  • Antibiotics/immunization

  • Increasing standards of living

Influences on birth rates

Influences on Birth Rates

  • Family planning programs – India, Thailand, Bangladesh, etc.

  • Contraceptive technology

  • Role of mass media

    • Radio/TV Soap Operas ("Twende na Wakati" in 1990s Tanzania, which means "Let's Go with the Times"

Government Billboard, Indonesia

Population geography

Demographic Transition Model

  • Stage one (preindustrial/pre-agricultural)

    • Crude birth/death rate high

    • Fragile, but stable, population

  • Stage two (improved agriculture and medicine)

    • Lower death rates

    • Infant mortality rate falls

    • Natural increase very high

  • Stage three (attitudes change)

    • Indicative of richer developed countries

    • Higher standards of living/education

    • Crude birth rate finally falls

  • Stage four (low growth or Z.P.G.)

    • Crude birth and death rates low

    • Population stable

    • Populations aging

  • Stage five (declining)

    • Crude birth rates exceptionally low

    • death rates low

    • Population decreasing

    • Populations aging rapidly

Population geography

  • Problems with the Demographic Transition Model

  • based on European experience, assumes all countries will progress to complete industrialization and that this is key issue

  • many countries reducing growth rate dramatically without increase in wealth or industrial economies – TV and family planning seem to be at work

  • on the other hand, some countries “stuck” in stage 2 or stage 3, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and Middle East

Population geography

Population Pyramids

  • Population Pyramids quickly show

    • age distributions

    • demographic booms and busts

    • sex ratios

    • dependency ratios

  • Wide base depicts young population; narrow base suggests declining birth rates or growing elderly population.

Population control

Population Control

  • Challenges

    • Manufacture/distribution expense

    • Religion

    • Low female status

      • Many studies show that fastest way to reduce fertility rate is to encourage more women to get educated

    • Preference for male children

    • Female Infanticide



  • When consumption of natural resources by people outstrip the ability of a natural region to replace those natural resources.

Jean antoine condorcet

Jean Antoine Condorcet

(1743 – 1794)

  • predicted that innovation and the resulting increased wealth and choice it creates would provide alternate foods and resources in the future and lead to fewer children per family and improving societies: larger populations are good because they lead to more innovations and ideas.

  • believed that society was perfectible

Thomas malthus on population

Malthus, responding to Condorcet, predicted population would outrun food supply, leading to a decrease in food per person.

His Assumptions:

Populations grow exponentially.

Food supply grows arithmetically.

Food shortages and chaos inevitable.

Thomas Malthus on Population

An Essay on the Principle of Population, 1798

Population geography

Population J-CurveThis graphs depicts the actual growth in human population from the beginning of agriculture until 2000!

Population and the environment

Population and the Environment

I = P x A x T

Impact = Population x Affluence x Technology

  • Population-influenced environmental problems:

  • Global Warming

  • Habitat Loss / Endangered Species

  • Resource Depletion

  • Food Shortages? Not globally, but regionally.

Population affluence and resource consumption

Population, Affluence, and Resource Consumption

Population affluence and resource consumption1

Population, Affluence, and Resource Consumption

Source: World Bank, 2012: siteresources.worldbank.org/

Technology energy consumption and environmental impact

Technology, Energy Consumption, and Environmental Impact

Individual Annual Energy Use (Goudie, 2006)

There has been a dramatic increase in:

  • individual energy use over time: 3,000 kcal/person - 300,000 kcal/person (each of us in the U.S. has the equivalent of about 100 energy servants)

  • the power of technology to change the environment: think stone axe versus bulldozer versus atomic bomb.

  • the scope and severity of environmental impacts.

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