2019 Updates to the APHG CED

The AP Human Geography Course and Exam Description has been updated and the 2020 exam will reflect these changes.  In the past I tagged resources by the main unit on my scoop.it site.  My scoop.it site will now only archive the last 50 posts, so the archives that will go back to all resources saved since 2012, will be archived on my wordpress site, geographyeducation.org.  Some old scoop.it links will be dead, and I apologize for that, but that was why I posted in duplicate (National Geographic, through the alliance network, was sponsoring my my hosting costs on scoop.it and that funding has dried up.  WordPress became the more economic set-up for a side project that doesn’t bring in any revenue).

Going forward, I will tag resources that based on key terms in the CED as well as based on the given APHG topics/modules within each unit (1.1, 2.2, 3.9, 4.10, etc.).  It will take some time to organize the materials by the new topic/modules but here is where I with archive everything.  I will also try to find new resources to cover the new topics.


1.1       Introduction to Maps

  • Types of maps include reference maps and thematic maps.
  • Types of spatial patterns represented on maps include absolute and relative distance and direction, clustering, dispersal, and elevation.
  • All maps are selective in information; map projections inevitably distort spatial relationships in shape, area, distance, and direction.

1.2       Geographic Data

1.3       The Power of Geographic Data

  • Geospatial and geographical data, including census data and satellite imagery, are used at all scales for personal, business and organizational, and governmental decision making purposes.

1.4       Spatial Concepts

  • Spatial concepts include absolute and relative location, space, place, flows, distance decay, time-space compression, and pattern.

1.5       Human-Environmental Interaction

  • Concepts of nature and society include sustainability, natural resources, and land use.
  • Theories regarding the interaction of the natural environment with human societies have evolved from environmental determinism to possibilism.

1.6       Scales of Analysis

  • Scales of analysis include global, regional, national, and local.
  • Patterns and processes at different scales reveal variations in, and different interpretations of, data.

1.7       Regional Analysis

  • Regions are defined on the basis of one or more unifying characteristics or on patterns of activity.
  • Types of regions include formal, functional, and perceptual/vernacular.
  • Regional boundaries are transitional and often contested and overlapping.
  • Geographers apply regional analysis at local, national, and
  • global scales.


2.1       Population Distribution

  • Physical factors (climate, landforms, water bodies) and human factors (culture, economics, history, politics) influence the distribution of population.
  • Factors that illustrate patterns of population distribution vary according to the scale of analysis.
  • The three methods for calculating population density are arithmetic, physiological, and agricultural.
  • The method used to calculate population density reveals different information about the pressure the population exerts on the land.

2.2.      Consequences of Population Distribution 

  • Population distribution and density affect political, economic, and social processes, including the provision of services such as medical care.
  • Population distribution and density affect the environment and natural resources; this is known as carrying capacity.

2.3       Population Composition

  • Patterns of age structure and sex ratio vary across different regions and may be mapped and analyzed at different scales.
  • Population pyramids are used to assess population growth and decline and to predict markets for goods and services.

2.4       Population Dynamics

  • Demographic factors that determine a population’s growth and decline are fertility, mortality, and migration.
  • Geographers use the rate of natural increase and population-doubling time to explain population growth and decline.
  • Social, cultural, political and economic factors influence fertility, mortality, and migration rates.
  • Social, cultural, political and economic factors influence fertility, mortality, and migration rates.

2.5       The Demographic Transition Model

  • The demographic transition model can be used to explain population change over time.
  • The epidemiological transition explains causes of changing death rates.

2.6       Malthusian Theory

  • Malthusian theory and its critiques are used to analyze population change and its consequences.

2.7       Population Policies

  • Types of population policies include those that promote or discourage population growth such as pronatalist, antinatalist, and immigration policies.

2.8       Women and Demographic Change

  • Changing social values and access to education, employment, health care, and contraception have reduced fertility rates in most parts of the world.
  • Social, economic, and political roles for females have influenced patterns of fertility, mortality, and migration, as illustrated by Ravenstein’s laws of migration.

2.9 Aging Populations

  • Population aging is determined by birth and death rates and life expectancy.
  • An aging population has political, social, and economic consequences, including the dependency ratio.

2.10     Causes of Migration

  • Migration is commonly divided into push factors and pull factors.
  • Push/pull factors and intervening obstacles/opportunities can be cultural, demographic, economic, environmental or political.

2.11     Forced and Voluntary Migration

  • Forced migrations include slavery and events that produce refugees, internally displaced persons, and asylum seekers.
  • Types of voluntary migrations include transnational, transhumance, internal, chain, step, guest worker, and rural-to-urban.

2.12     Effects of Migration

  • Migration has political, economic, and cultural effects.


3.1       Introduction to Culture

  • Culture comprises the shared practices, technologies, attitudes, and behaviors transmitted by a society.
  • Cultural traits include such things as food preferences, architecture, and land use.
  • Cultural relativism and ethnocentrism are different attitudes toward cultural difference.

3.2       Cultural Landscapes

  • Cultural landscapes are combinations of physical features, agricultural and industrial practices, religious and linguistic characteristics, evidence of sequent occupancy, and other expressions of culture including traditional and postmodern architecture and land-use patterns.
  • Attitudes toward ethnicity and gender, including the role of women in the workforce; ethnic neighborhoods; and indigenous communities and lands help shape the use of space in a given society.

3.3       Cultural Patterns

  • Regional patterns of language, religion, and ethnicity contribute to a sense of place, enhance placemaking, and shape the global cultural landscape.
  • Language, ethnicity, and religion are factors in creating centripetal and centrifugal forces.

3.4       Types of Diffusion

  • Relocation and expansion—including contagious, hierarchical, and stimulus expansion—are types of diffusion.

3.5       Historical Causes of Diffusion

  • Interactions between and among cultural traits and larger global forces can lead to new forms of cultural expression; for example, creolization and lingua franca.
  • Colonialism, imperialism, and trade helped to shape patterns and practices of culture.

3.6       Contemporary Causes of Diffusion

  • Cultural ideas and practices are socially constructed and change through both small-scale and large-scale processes such as urbanization and globalization. These processes come to bear on culture through media, technological change, politics, economics, and social relationships.
  • Communication technologies, such as the internet and the time-space convergence, are reshaping and accelerating interactions among people; changing cultural practices, as in the increasing use of English and the loss of indigenous languages; and creating cultural convergence and divergence.

3.7       Diffusion of Religion and Language

  • Language families, languages, dialects, world religions, ethnic cultures, and gender roles diffuse from cultural hearths.
  • Diffusion of language families, including Indo-European, and religious patterns and distributions can be visually represented on maps, in charts and toponyms, and in other representations.
  • Religions have distinct places of origin from which they diffused to other locations through different processes. Practices and belief systems impacted how widespread the religion diffused.
  • Universalizing religion, including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Sikhism, are spread through expansion and relocation diffusion.
  • Ethnic religions, including Hinduism and Judaism, are generally found near the hearth or spread through relocation diffusion.

3.8       Effects of Diffusion

  • Acculturation, assimilation, syncretism, and multiculturalism are effects of the diffusion of culture.


4.1       Introduction to Political Geography

  • Independent states are the primary building blocks of the world political map.
  • Types of political entities include nations, nation-states, stateless nations, multinational states, multistate nations, and autonomous and semi-autonomous regions, such as American Indian reservations.

4.2       Political Processes

  • The concepts of sovereignty, nation-states, and self-determination shape the contemporary world.
  • Colonialism, imperialism, independence movements, and devolution along national lines have influenced contemporary political boundaries.

4.3       Political Power and Territoriality

4.4.      Defining Political Boundaries

  • Types of political boundaries include relic, superimposed, subsequent, antecedent, geometric, and consequent boundaries.
  • Boundaries are defined, delimited, demarcated, and administered to establish limits of sovereignty, but they are often contested.

4.5       The Function of Political Boundaries

  • Political boundaries often coincide with cultural, national, or economic divisions. However, some boundaries are created by demilitarized zones or policy, such as the Berlin Conference.
  • Land and maritime boundaries and international agreements can influence national or regional identity and encourage or discourage international or internal interactions and disputes over resources.
  • The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea defines the rights and responsibilities of nations in the use of international waters, established territorial seas, and exclusive economic zones.

4.6       Internal Boundaries

4.7       Forms of Governance

  • Forms of governance include unitary states and federal states.
  • Unitary states tend to have a more top-down, centralized form of governance, while federal states have more locally based, dispersed power centers.

4.8       Defining Devolutionary Factors

  • Factors that can lead to the devolution of states include the division of groups by physical geography, ethnic separatism, ethnic cleansing, terrorism, economic and social problems, and irredentism.
  • Devolution occurs when states fragment into autonomous regions; subnational political-territorial units, such as those within Spain, Belgium, Canada, and Nigeria; or when states disintegrate, as happened in Eritrea, South Sudan, East Timor, and states that were a part of the former Soviet Union.
  • Advances in communication technology have facilitated devolution, supranationalism, and democratization.

4.9       Challenges to Sovereignty

  • Global efforts to address transnational and environmental challenges and to create economies of scale, trade agreements, and military alliances help to further supranationalism.
  • Supranational organizations- including the UN, NATO, EU, ASEAN Arctic Council and African Union- can challenge state sovereignty by limiting the economic or political actions of member states.

4.10     Consequences of Centrifugal and Centripetal Forces

  • Centrifugal forces may lead to failed states, uneven development, stateless nations, and ethnic nationalist movements.
  • Centripetal forces can lead to ethnonationalism, more equitable infrastructure development, and increased cultural cohesion.


5.1       Introduction to Agriculture

  • Agricultural practices are influenced by the physical environment and climate conditions, such as the Mediterranean climate and tropical climates.
  • Intensive farming practices include market gardening, plantation agriculture, and mixed crop/livestock.
  • Extensive farming practices include shifting cultivation, nomadic herding, and ranching.

5.2       Settlement Patterns and Survey Methods

  • Specific agricultural practices shape different rural land-use patterns.
  • Rural settlement patterns are classified as clustered, dispersed, or linear.
  • Rural survey methods include metes and bounds, township and range and long lot.

5.3       Agricultural Origins and Diffusions

  • Early hearths of domestication of plants and animals arose in the Fertile Crescent and several other regions of the world, including the Indus River Valley, Southeast Asia, and Central America.
  • Patterns of diffusion, such as the Columbian Exchange and the agricultural revolutions, resulted in the global spread of various plants and animals.

5.4       The Second Agricultural Revolution

  • New technology and increased food production in the Second Agricultural Revolution led to better diets, longer life expectancies, and more people available for work in factories.

5.5       The Green Revolution

  • The Green Revolution was characterized in agricultural by the use of high-yield seeds, increased use of chemicals, and mechanized farming.
  • The Green Revolution had positive and negative consequences for both human populations and the environment.

5.6       Agricultural Production Regions

  • Agricultural production regions are defined by the extent to which they reflect subsistence or commercial practices (monocropping or monoculture).
  • Intensive and extensive farming practices are determined in part by land costs (bid-rent theory).

5.7       Spatial Organization of Agriculture

  • Large-scale commercial agricultural operations are replacing small family farms.
  • Complex commodity chains link production and consumption of agricultural products.
  • Technology has increased economies of scale in the agricultural sector and the carrying capacity of the land.

5.8       Von Thünen Model

  • Von Thunen’s model helps to explain rural land use by emphasizing the importance of transportation costs associated with distance from the market; however regions of speciality farming do not always conform to von Thunen’s concentric rings.

5.9       The Global System of Agriculture

  • Food and other agricultural products are part of a global supply chain.
  • Some countries have become highly dependent on one or more export commodities.
  • The main elements of global food distribution networks are affected by political relationships, infrastructure, and patterns of world trade.

5.10     Consequences of Agricultural Practices

  • Environmental effects of agricultural land use include pollution, land cover change, desertification, soil salinization, and conservation efforts.
  • Agricultural practices- including slash and burn, terraces, irrigation, deforestation, draining wetlands, shifting cultivation, and pastoral nomadism – alter the landscape.
  • Societal effects of agricultural practices include changing diets, role of women in agricultural production, and economic purpose.

5.11     Challenges of Contemporary Agriculture

  • Agricultural innovations such as biotechnology, genetically modified organisms, and aquaculture have been accompanied by debates over sustainability, soil and water usage, reduction in biodiversity, and extensive fertilizer and pesticide use.
  • Patterns of food production and consumption are influenced by movements relating to individual food choice, such as urban farming, community-supported agriculture (CSA), organic farming, value-added specialty crops, fair trade, local-food movements, and dietary shifts.
  • Challenges of feeding a global population include lack of food access, as in cases of food insecurity and food deserts; problems with distribution systems; adverse weather; and land use lost to suburbanization.
  • The location of food-processing facilities and markets, economies of scale, distribution systems, and government policies all have economic effects on food-production practices.

5.12     Women in Agriculture

  • The role of females in food production, distribution, and consumption varies in many places depending on the type of production involved.


6.1       The Origin and Influences of Urbanization

6.2       Cities Across the World

  • Megacities and metacities are distinct spatial outcomes of urbanization increasingly located in countries of the periphery and semiperiphery.
  • Processes of suburbanization, sprawl, and decentralization have created new land-use forms-including edge cities, exurbs, and boomburbs-and new challenges.

6.3       Cities and Globalization

  • World cities function at the top of the world’s urban hierarchy and drive globalization.
  • Cities are connected globally by networks and linkages and mediate global processes.

6.4       The Size and Distribution of Cities

  • Principles that are useful for explaining the distribution and size of cities include rank-size rule, the primate city, gravity, and Christaller’s central place theory.

6.5       The Internal Structure of Cities

  • Models and theories that are useful for explaining internal structures of cities include the Burgess concentric-zone model, the Hoyt sector model, the Harris and Ullman multiple-nuclei model, the galactic city model, bid-rent theory, and urban models drawn from Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa.

6.6       Density and Land Use

  • Density: Residential buildings and patterns of land use reflect and shape the city’s culture, technological capabilities, cycles of development, and infilling.

6.7       Infrastructure

  • The location and quality of a city’s infrastructure directly affects its spatial patterns of economic and social development.

6.8       Urban Sustainability

  • Sustainable design initiatives and zoning practices include mixed land use, walkability, transportation-oriented development, and smart-growth policies, including New Urbanism, greenbelts, and slow-growth cities.
  • Praise for urban design initiatives includes the reduction of sprawl, improved walkability & transportation, improved and diverse housing options, improved livability, and promotion of sustainable options. Criticisms include increased housing costs, possible de facto segregation, and the potential loss of historical or place character.

6.9       Urban Data

  • Quantitative data from census and survey data provide information about changes in population composition and size in urban areas.
  • Qualitative data from field studies and narratives provide information about individual attitudes toward urban change.

6.10     Challenges of Urban Changes

  • As urban populations move within a city, economic and social challenges result, including: issues related to housing discrimination such as redlining, blockbusting, and affordability; access to services; rising crime; environmental injustice; and the growth of disamenity zones or zones of abandonment.
  • Squatter settlements and conflicts over land tenure within large cities have increased.
  • Responses to economic and social challenges in urban areas can include inclusionary zoning and local food movements.
  • Urban renewal and gentrification have both positive and negative consequences.
  • Functional and geographic fragmentation of governments-the way government agencies and institutions are dispersed between state, county, city, and neighborhood levels-presents challenges in addressing urban issues.

6.11     Challenges of Urban Sustainability

  • Challenges to urban sustainability include suburban sprawl, sanitation, climate change, air and water quality, the large ecological footprint of cities, and energy use.
  • Responses to urban sustainability challenges can include regional planning efforts, remediation and redevelopment of brownfields, establishment of urban growth boundaries, and farmland protection policies.


7.1       The Industrial Revolution

  • Industrialization began as a result of new technologies and was facilitated by the availability of natural resources.
  • As industrialization spread it caused food supplies to increase and populations to grow; it allowed workers to seek new industrial jobs in cities and changed class structures.
  • Investors in industry sought out more raw materials and new markets, a factor that contributed to the rise of colonialism and imperialism.

7.2       Economic Sectors and Patterns

  • The different economic sectors- including primary, secondary, tertiary, quaternary, and quinary- are characterized by distinct development patterns.
  • Labor, transportation (including shipping containers), the break-of-bulk point, least cost theory, markets and resources influence the location of manufacturing such as core, semi-periphery, and periphery locations.

7.3       Measures of Development

  • Measures of social and economic development include Gross Domestic Product (GDP); Gross National Product (GNP); and Gross National Income (GNI) per capita; sectoral structure of the economy, both formal and informal; income distribution, fertility rates, infant mortality rates; access to healthcare; use of fossil fuels and renewable energy; and literacy rates.
  • Measures of gender inequality, such as the Gender Inequality Index (GII), include reproductive health, indices of empowerment, and labor-market participation.
  • The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite measure used to show spatial variation among states in levels of development.

7.4       Women and Economic Development

  • The roles of women change as countries develop economically.
  • Although there are more women in the workforce, they do not have equity in wages or employment opportunities.
  • Microloans have provided opportunities for women to create small local businesses, which have improved standards of living.

7.5       Theories of Development

  • Different theories, such as Rostow’s Stages of Economic Growth, Wallerstein’s World System Theory, dependency theory, and commodity dependence, help explain spatial variations in development.

7.6       Trade and the World Economy

  • Complementarity and comparative advantage establish the basis for trade.
  • Neoliberal policies, including free trade agreements, have created new organizations, spatial connections, and trade relationships, such as the EU, World Trade Organization (WTO), Mercosur, and OPEC, that foster greater globalization.
  • Government initiatives at all scales may affect economic development, including tariffs.
  • Global financial crises, international lending agencies (International Monetary Fund), and strategies of development (microlending) demonstrate how different economies have become more closely connected, even interdependent.

7.7       Changes as a Result of the World Economy

  • Outsourcing and economic restructuring have led to a decline in jobs in core regions and an increase in jobs in newly industrialized countries.
  • In countries outside of the core, the growth of industry has resulted in the creation of new manufacturing zones- including special economic zones, free-trade zones, and export processing zones-and the emergence of an international division of labor in which developing countries have lower-paying jobs.
  • The contemporary economic landscape has been transformed by post-Fordist methods of production, multiplier effects, economies of scale, agglomeration, just-in-time delivery, the emergence of service sectors, high technology industries, and growth poles.

7.8       Sustainable Development

  • Sustainable development policies attempt to remedy problems stemming from natural-resource depletion, mass consumption, the effects of pollution, and the impact of climate change.
  • Ecotourism is tourism based in natural environments- often environments that are threatened by looming industrialization or development- that frequently helps to protect the environment in question while also providing jobs for the local population.
  • The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals help measure progress in development, such as small-scale finance and public transportation projects.



I’ve included approximately 10 of my favorite resources for each unit to the corresponding page.  James Nelsen, a veteran APHG teacher has produced a “grand review.” which many teachers have enjoyed.  This intentionally does not come with a key to force the students to delve deeper.  Here’s a student-produced study guide for the APHG test focusing on the ‘big ideas.’  Here is a Trivia Pursuit review game with over 400 color-coded question prepared by  Lorrie Etheridge.   Here is a APHG Jeopardy-style review game.

Some Kahoot! APHG reviews…a good way to gamify the review process.  There is also this APHG Kahoot! interactive quiz–in this one the students match a development clue to a regional map.

Best of luck in the new school year!