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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.

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Patterns in human geography

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.

Population growth
Population Growth 10% of it’s land area

  • About 10 000 years ago there were about 10 million people worldwide

  • In 1950 the population started growing very quickly

  • In the 1990’s the worlds population grew by around 80 million people a year

  • It is estimated that in 2050 the population will have grown to about 9 billion people

Patterns in human geography

Population Change 10% of it’s land areaThe world's population is growing very rapidly. In 1820 the world's population reached 1 billion. In 1990 it reached 6 billion people.

Patterns in human geography

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.


Health care and sanitation
health care individual country or for the whole world, is the change in birth and death rates. The and sanitation

  • Over the past 150 years improvements in health care and sanitation around the world have led to a drop in the death rate. While birth rates have dropped in MEDCs, birth rates are still high in LEDCs. Therefore the number of people in the world has grown rapidly.

Patterns in human geography

Birth rates are high for a number of reasons: individual country or for the whole world, is the change in birth and death rates. The

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

Patterns in human geography

Case Study: India individual country or for the whole world, is the change in birth and death rates. The

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.

Patterns in human geography

Case Study: China individual country or for the whole world, is the change in birth and death rates. The

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.

Factors affecting population distribution
Factors individual country or for the whole world, is the change in birth and death rates. The affecting population distribution

  • History,

  • Natural environment,

  • technological development,

  • immigration trends/patterns);

Population structure population pyramids
Population Structure / Population Pyramids individual country or for the whole world, is the change in birth and death rates. The

  • The population structure for an area shows the number of males and females within different age groups in the population. This information is displayed as an age-sex or population pyramid. Population pyramids of LEDCs (Less Economically Developed Countries) typically have a wide base and a narrow top. This represents a high birth rate and high death rate. Population pyramids of MEDCs (More Economically Developed Countries) typically have a roughly equal distribution of population throughout the age groups. The top obviously gets narrower as a result of deaths.

Three main patterns of human settlement
three main patterns of human settlement individual country or for the whole world, is the change in birth and death rates. The

  • clustered(nucleated);

  • scattered( dispersed),

  • and linear,

linear individual country or for the whole world, is the change in birth and death rates. The

  • A linear pattern (a settlement along a line) usually develops due to the growth of the town being restricted by mountains, hills, valleys or rivers. Linear settlements are also found along roads.

Population density
Population Density individual country or for the whole world, is the change in birth and death rates. The

  • Population density is an often reported and commonly compared statistic for places around the world. Population density is the measure of the number per unit area. It is commonly represented as people per square mile (or square kilometre), which is derived simply by dividing...

  • total area population / land area in square miles (or square kilometres)

  • For example, Canada's population of 33 million, divided by the land area of 3,559,294 square miles yields a density of 9.27 people per square mile. While this number would seem to indicate that 9.27 people live on each square mile of Canadian land area, the density within the country varies dramatically - a vast majority lives in the southern part of the country. Density is only a raw gauge to measure a population's disbursement across the land.

  • Density can be computed for any area - as long as one knows the size of the land area and the population within that area. The population density of cities, states, entire continents, and even the world can be computed.

Countries with high population densities
Countries with individual country or for the whole world, is the change in birth and death rates. The high population densities:

  • Monaco 44,000

  • Singapore 18,652

  • Malta 3,278

  • Bahrain 2,793

  • Bangladesh 2,637

  • Maldives 2,573

  • Barbados 1,626

  • Mauritius 1,592

  • Nauru 1,529

  • San Marino 1,338

Countries with low population densities

Countries with individual country or for the whole world, is the change in birth and death rates. The 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

Characteristics of places with high and low population densities
Characteristics of Places With High and Low Population Densities

  • People do not live evenly spread through the world. For example large parts of Australia are very sparsely populated (low population density), whereas areas in the south-east and around Perth are crowded (high population density). The spread of people around a country is known its population distribution

    The factors that tend to produce low population densities are:

  • Extreme climate - too cold, hot, wet or dry

  • Extreme relief - too high and too steep

  • Extreme remoteness - places that are difficult to reach

  • Infertile land - need to have extensive (very large) farms

    The factors that can produce a high population density are :

  • Fertile farming land - many, small farms able to support a large population

  • Moderate climate

  • Mineral resources - mines produce jobs, and provide raw materials for other industries

  • Low land - with gentle slopes or flat ground

  • Good water supply

  • Wealthier areas - people will move to where the jobs and money are found

Patterns in human geography

The map Densitiesabove 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.

Factors affecting population density
Factors Affecting Population Density Densities



Patterns in human geography


Site and situation influence settlement patterns chicago
Site Densitiesand Situation influence settlement patterns: Chicago

Over one-third of the city population is concentrated in the lakefront neighborhoods

Patterns in human geography

Main article: DensitiesDemographics 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,[87] 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,[88] 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

Patterns in human geography

  • Site Densities

  • Physical features in an area where a community is situated

    E.g. Chicago:

  • Lake Michigan

  • Chicago River(s)

  • Flatland

  • near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed.

  • Situation

  • The general position of a city in relation to other human features such as transportation routes, other cities and natural resources such as farmland

  • Railways

  • Roads

  • Midwest USA amongst farmland

Patterns in human geography

  • Site Factors Densities

  • • reliable water supply

  • • away from flood risks

  • • defense

  • • building materials (stone or wood)

  • • fertile land

  • • sheltered from winds

  • • fuel supply (wood)

  • • south-facing slope (aspect)

  • • flat land, easy to build on

  • • natural harbour

  • Situation Factors

  • • route centre

  • • gap town

  • • lowest bridging point on a river

  • • port

  • • minerals for export

Types of land use
types of land use Densities

  • residential

  • recreational

  • institutional

  • commercial

  • industrial

  • agricultural

  • for transportation

  • communication

  • utilities

  • public space

Patterns in human geography

  • 1. Residential Land Use - where people live (houses, apartment buildings) 2. Institutional Land Use - government related (schools, town hall, police station) 3. Recreational Land Use - for fun, entertainment purposes (parks, bowling place) 4. Open/ Vacant Space Land Use - empty land 5. Commercial Land Use - places to do with [making] money (stores, banks) 6. Industrial Land Use - working places that help industry (factories) 7. Agricultural Land Use - land used to grow food etc. (farmland)

Urbanization industrialization
urbanization, industrialization apartment buildings)

transportation apartment buildings)

T ourist destinations
T apartment buildings) ouristdestinations

Population pyramids
population pyramids apartment buildings)

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.

Patterns in human geography

  • Expansive or expanding apartment buildings) population pyramids have this classic triangular/pyramid shape.  The wide base of this population pyramid indicates a  high birth rate & the narrow top indicates a high death rate.

  • Generally speaking an expanding population is characteristic of a lower standard of living:

    • high birth rate due to poor access to birth control, lack of education etc.;

    • high death rate due to poor medical care & nutrition.

Patterns in human geography

  • Stationary or Stable apartment buildings) population pyramids have a 1/2 elipse shape.  The base of this population pyramid is similar in width to the population of the reproductive ages which indicates a  stable population.

  • Generally speaking stable populations are characteristic of a high standard of living due to:

    • low birth rate due to good family planning, access to birth control, financial planning, education, etc.;

    • low death rate due to good medical care, nutrition, education etc.

Patterns in human geography

Contractive or contracting apartment buildings) 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.

Patterns in human geography

Reading Population Pyramids apartment buildings)

Observing different characteristics of the population pyramid can tell you a lot about the population.

  • *Width of the base:

    • birth rate varies with the width of the base.  A wide base indicates a high birth rate and a narrow base indicates a low birth rate.

  • *Symmetry:

    • statistically speaking pyramids should be relatively symmetrical.  Any asymmetry indicates a difference in the male and female population.  This pyramid shows more females at the 85+ age range which indicates that women are living to older ages than males.

  • *Shape of sides:

    •  Concave sides indicate a high death rate and convex sides indicate a low death rate.  This population pyramid exhibits concave sides indicating a high death rate.

      *Bumps in the sides:

    • irregularities in the sides indicate a demographic anomaly.  The 30 -50 age group in this population pyramid represents the baby boom.  This bump will travel upward as the baby boomers age.

  • *Classification

  • indicates standard of living as described above.

Patterns in human geography

There are 3 main shapes for a population pyramid: apartment buildings)


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

Patterns in human geography

Population Pyramids Canada apartment buildings)

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

younger people.

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

was growing.

Patterns in human geography

Visit apartment buildings) the following website to observe an animation in the change of Canada’s

population pyramid from 1971 to 2006.

Canada s changing demographics
Canada’s changing demographics apartment buildings)

  • What jobs will be there?

Patterns in human geography

  • Dependency Ratio apartment buildings)

  • The working age of people varies.  Traditionally people worked until they were 65 years old.  The common trend now is for people to retire closer to 55 years of age.  However, for statistic purposes we recognize people between 15 and 65 as the workers of a society.  People under 15 and over 65 are considered dependant upon the working population.  The dependency ratio (DR) of a population indicates how many people are dependant upon every 100 workers The formula is  

  •   DR = (pop. 0-14) + (pop. 65+) ´ 100                                         (pop. 15-64)

Human development index
Human Development Index apartment buildings)



Quality of life
quality of life apartment buildings)

Vocabulary apartment buildings)

  • residential

  • recreational

  • institutional

  • commercial

  • industrial

  • agricultural

  • for transportation

  • communication

  • utilities

  • public space

  • demographic

Patterns in human geography

  • site, situation, apartment buildings)

  • rural,

  • developed,

  • developing,

  • urbanization,

  • population density,

  • population distribution,

  • gross domestic product [GDP],

  • gross national product [GNP],

  • correlation,

  • birth and death rates,

  • literacy rate,

  • life expectancy

Glossary apartment buildings)

  • Amenities: These may be within the home, in which case they refer to baths, toilets (w.c.'s), hot water etc., or outside people's homes in which case they would include parks, shops, public transport provision, etc..

  • Bridging Point: a settlement site where a river is narrow or shallow enough to be bridged. The bridge becomes a route centre and trading centre, the natural location for a market. It is also a good defensive site. The lowest bridging point on a river is the bridge nearest to the sea; this site is ideal for a river port settlement.

Patterns in human geography

Brownfield land apartment buildings) : 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.

Patterns in human geography

Defensive Site apartment buildings) : 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).

Patterns in human geography

Linear Settlement apartment buildings) : 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.

Patterns in human geography

Sphere of Influence apartment buildings) : 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.