Friday, 7 December 2012

Population distribution and population density

Population distribution

Population distribution means the pattern of where people live. World population distribution is uneven. Places which are sparsely populated contain few people. 

Places which are densely populated contain many people. Sparsely populated areas tend to be difficult places to live. These are usually places with hostile environments (example: Antarctica). Places which are densely populated are habitable environments (example: Europe).

Geographers study population distribution patterns at different scales: local, regional, national, continental and global. Patterns of population distribution tend to be uneven. For example, in the Netherlands there are more people living in the Randstad than in the rest of the Netherlands. 

Population density

Population density is a measurement of the number of people in an area. It is an average number. Population density is calculated by dividing the number of people by area. Population density is usually shown as the number of people per square kilometer.

Population density is calculated using the following formula:

Population density = total population ÷ total land area in km²

The map above illustrates the population density. The darker the colour, the greater the population density.

Factors attracting settlement
  • temperate climate (example: maritime climate)
  • low-lying flat fertile land (example: the Netherlands)
  • good supplies of natural resources (example: building resources)
  • enough drinking water
  • good infrastructure (example: high quality roads and bridges)

Factors discouraging settlement
  • extreme climates (example: arid climate)
  • mountainous or highland areas  (example: the Himalaya mountain range)
  • dense vegetation (example: the Amazon rainforest)
  • too little water (example: drought)
  • poor infrastructure  (example:  need for infrastructure improvement)