Patterns in Human Geography. human settlement population distribution and land use living and working conditions in countries examine how demographic factors could affect your own life in the future. The Earth’s Surface: 90% of the Earth’s people live on 10% of it’s land area.
Patterns in Human Geography
population distribution and land use
living and working conditions in countries
examine how demographic factors could affect your own life in the future.
Population ChangeThe world's population is growing very rapidly. In 1820 the world's population reached 1 billion. In 1990 it reached 6 billion people.
The major reason for population changes, whether in an individual country or for the whole world, is the change in birth and death rates. The birth rate is the number of live babies born in a year for every 1000 people in the total population. Death rates are number of people dying per 1000 people. When birth rates are higher than death rates the population of an area will increase.
Birth rates are high for a number of reasons:
1.Lack of family planning education or contraceptives
2.In rural areas children are needed as labour on farms. In urban areas they are needed to work in the informal sector to earn money for their families.
3. Women have a large number of children as there is a high level of infant mortality
4. Culture/religion mean it is unacceptable to use contraception
Case Study: India
India's population is estimated to be around one billion. India has one of the highest population growth rates in the world. In the last ten years its population has increased by 181 million. If this growth rate continues it could become the world's most populated country by 2020.
However, India's population growth rate is slowing. This is particularly the case in the southern state of Kerala. In Kerala there have been a number of initiatives to reduce population growth:
1. Women are being educatedAround half of all Indian women cannot read or write (illiterate). However, in Kerala 85% of women are literate. Better educated women are more likely to keep their children healthy. Therefore infant mortality has dropped. This has led to a drop in birth rates. If children are surviving families no longer have to have a couple of extra children to replace those that die. 2. Contraception is more widely available3. The status of women has improved significantlyWomen are no longer seen as a burden - they are regarded as an asset. Traditionally in India when a woman gets married the family have to pay money to the bridegroom's family. This is called a dowry. However, in Kerala it is the bridegroom's family who pay a dowry to the brides family.
Case Study: China
The Chinese government introduced the 'One Child Policy' in 1979. The aim of this policy was to attempt to control population growth. The policy limited couples to one child. Under this policy couples have to gain permission from family planning officials for each birth.
If families followed this policy they received free education, health care, pensions and family benefits. These are taken away if the couple have more than one child.
The benefits of this policy are that the growth rate of China's population has declined. Without the policy it is estimated that there would be an extra 320 million more people in a country whose population is estimated to be 1.3 billion.
The scheme has caused a number of problems in China. This is particularly the case for hundreds of thousands of young females. Many thousands of young girls have been abandoned by their parents as the result of the one child policy. Many parents in China prefer to have a boy to carry on the family name. As a result large numbers of girls have either ended up in orphanages, homeless or in some cases killed. Also, 90% of foetuses aborted in China are female.
Countries with low population densities:
Mongolia: 4 people
Nambia: 6 people
Australia: 7 people
Mauritania: 8 people
Botswana: 8 people
Canada: 8 people
Suriname: 8 people
Iceland: 8 people
Guyana: 9 people
Libya: 9 people
Gabon: 14 people
Kazakhstan: 15 people
Central African Republic: 18 people
The factors that tend to produce low population densities are:
The factors that can produce a high population density are :
The map above is a choropleth (shading) map and illustrates population density. The darker the colour the greater the population density.
The map above shows that world population distribution is uneven. Some areas have a high population density while others have a low population density. Areas of high population density tend to be located between 20° and 60°N. This area contains a large land area and a relatively temperate climate.
HIGH DENSITY LOW DENSITY
Over one-third of the city population is concentrated in the lakefront neighborhoods
Main article: Demographics of Chicago
During its first 100 years as a city, Chicago grew at a rate that ranked among the fastest growing in the world. Within the span of forty years, the city's population grew from slightly under 30,000 to over 1 million by 1890. By the close of the 19th century, Chicago was the fifth largest city in the world, and the largest of the cities that did not exist at the dawn of the century. Within fifty years of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the population had tripled to over 3 million, and reached its highest ever-recorded population of 3.6 million for the 1950 census.
As of the 2000 census, there were 2,896,016 people, 1,061,928 households, and 632,558 families residing within Chicago. More than half the population of the state of Illinois lives in the Chicago metropolitan area. The population density of the city itself was 12,750.3 /sq mi (4,922.9 /km2), making it one of the nation's most densely populated cities. There were 1,152,868 housing units at an average
Notice the following points about population pyramids:
normally Males are on the left and females are on the right;
age categories are in 5 year increasing intervals labelled up the center axis;
the horizontal axis is measured in millions.
Contractive or contracting population pyramids have a narrower base than the reproductive age population. This indicates a decreasing population trend. The low birth rate is indicative of a well developed country.
Reading Population Pyramids
Observing different characteristics of the population pyramid can tell you a lot about the population.
*Bumps in the sides:
Three Shapes of Population Pyramids
There are 3 main shapes for a population pyramid:
Has larger numbers or percentages of the population in the younger age groups, usually with each age group smaller in size or proportion than the one born before it
Has relatively equal numbers or percentages for almost all age groups, with the oldest age groups having smaller numbers
Has smaller numbers or percentages at the younger
age groups, usually with each age group slightly larger than the one below it
Population Pyramids Canada
There are bulges and
narrower parts in the
middle part of the
pyramid. The people in
their 20s in 1961 were
born during the
Depression, a time of
economic hardship in
Canada when people
were having fewer
The pyramid narrows
toward the top. This is
because the death rate
is higher among older
people than among
In 1961 the pyramid had
a wide base. These are
the baby boomers, a
large group of people
born between 1947 and
1966 when the economy
Visit the following website to observe an animation in the change of Canada’s
population pyramid from 1971 to 2006.
Brownfield land: urban land that has previously been developed, such as a the site of a demolished building or factory.
By-pass: A road built around a busy urban area to avoid traffic jams.
CBD: Central Business District or city centre; the commercial and business centre of a town or city where land values are at the highest. This is the most accessible part of the town or city. High land values lead to intensive use of the land and buildings are built as high as possible to maximise office space and therefore rental income.
Central Place: any settlement that provides goods and services for smaller neighbouring settlements.
City: cities are urban places. They are usually large (more than 20,000 people) and are economically self- sufficient (unlike a large dormitory or suburban town).
Clustered Settlement Pattern: a settlement where buildings are clustered around a particular point.
Commuting: the process by which people living in one place, travel to another place to work.
Congestion: overcrowding on roads causing traffic jams.
Consumer: these are people. As trade in goods and services increases, the power of the consumer increases. Industries must create what people want (or think they need).
Conurbation: a large urban settlement which is the result of towns and cities spreading out and merging together.
Convenience Goods/Services: these are low/order goods - inexpensive things that vary little in price, quality or other features that we need to buy regularly e.g. newspapers, cigarettes and bread. Convenience shops are found on most street corners where they have a small market area of people who visit the shop on most days.
Defensive Site: a settlement which usually grew at or around a fort or castle on top of a hill, although river meander bends, bridges, dry-point sites and coastal sites with cliffs were also good for defense.
Dispersed Settlement Pattern: where buildings in a settlement are not clustered around a particular point but are scattered in a random fashion (see linear and nucleated settlement).
Dormitory Settlement: one where many commuters 'sleep' overnight but travel to work elsewhere during the day.
Function of a Settlement: what the settlement does to 'earn its living' e.g. market town, mining town, administrative centre, tourist resort etc..
Gap Town: a town located at a gap between hills, providing a good defensive site and route centre that led to a trade and market function.
Green Belt: An area around a city, composed mostly of parkland and farmland, in which development is strictly controlled. Its purpose is to prevent the outward growth of the city, preserve countryside for farming, wildlife and recreation, and, often to prevent two or more cities from merging to form one huge urban area.
High-order goods/services: agood or service, usually expensive, that people buy only occasionally e.g. furniture, computers and jewellery. High-order services are usually located in larger towns and cities with a large market area - accessible to large numbers of people.
Hinterland: the area served by a port (its sphere of influence).
Industrial Revolution: the growth and development of manufacturing industry and the factory system which began in the UK in the eighteenth century.
Informal Sector: casual, irregular work, e.g. street selling.
Inner City: the part of the urban area surrounding the CBD; it often contains older housing and industry, in a state of poor repair and dereliction (See urban redevelopment and urban renewal).
Linear Settlement: a settlement which follows the line of, for example, a road or river.
Loose-Knit Settlement: a settlement with many gaps between its buildings and little, if any, pattern. (See dispersed settlement pattern).
Market Area: the area served by a particular settlement, shop or service. (See sphere of influence).
Megalopolis: a continuous stretch of urban settlement which results from towns cities and conurbations merging together.
Market Town: a town whose main function is that of a shopping and service centre for the surrounding region.
Millionaire City: a city with over one million inhabitants.
Natural Harbour: where the shape of the coastline helps to provide shelter for ships from storms.
Over-urbanisation: problems experienced by most LEDC cities e.g. Bombay, where too many people are migrating to the city resulting in housing shortages, poor housing conditions, lack of sanitation and piped water, illness and crime, traffic congestion, pollution, over-stretched services, unemployment, underemployment, etc..
Quality of Life: an idea which is difficult to define because it means different things to different people. Things which make for a good quality of life might include high income, good health, good housing, basic home amenities, pleasant surroundings, recreational open space, good local shops, a secure job, etc..
Route Centre: a settlement located at the meeting point of several roads/railways; the meeting point of two or more river valleys (which provide good road and rail routes through high land), is often the location of a route-centre settlement. Bridging points, ports and gap towns are also natural route centres.
Sphere of Influence: the area served by a settlement, shop or service.
Spontaneous Settlement: a squatter settlement or shanty town containing self-built houses made of scrap materials such as corrugated iron and plastic; the settlement usually lacks piped water, an electricity supply and sewage disposal facilities. Spontaneous settlements are very common in cities in LEDCs and are illegal because the residents neither own the land on which the houses are built, nor have permission to build there.
Squatter Settlement: another name for a spontaneous settlement.
Suburbs: the outer zone of towns and cities.
Suburbanisation: the process by which people, factories, offices and shops move out from the central areas of cities and into the suburbs.
Urban Renewal/Regeneration: the improvement of old houses and the addition of amenities in an attempt to bring new life to old inner city areas.
Urban Sprawl: the unplanned uncontrolled growth of urban areas into the surrounding countryside.
Urbanisation: the process by which an increasing percentage of a country's population comes to live in towns and cities. Rapid urbanisation is a feature of most LEDCs.
Wet Point Site: a settlement location where the main advantage is a water supply in an otherwise dry area e.g. at a spring where an impermeable clay valley meets the foot of permeable limestone or chalk hills.