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.

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