The issue of global population is at the very center of geographic inquiry. From the use of resources to the density of people in cars on a freeway to the number of children in a region who are malnourished, issues of population size, composition, age, and socioeconomic characteristics are all aspects of geographic study. This lesson will illustrate the breadth of ways that people and their demographic characteristics are of major geographic and global importance.
After completing this lesson, you should be able to accomplish the following:
- Define density, rate of increase, fertility, and mortality.
- Identify the locations of the major concentrations of human population.
- Describe the regional distribution of heavily settled as well as unsettled regions.
- Explain the various implications of overpopulation.
- Define and interpret different population pyramids.
- Explain the global significance of demographic transition.
- Explain the significance of the writings of Thomas Malthus.
- Identify both those who support and argue against Malthus and his beliefs.
- Describe how the global population has changed since 1900.
- Identify the size of the global population.
Contemporary Human Geography
These study questions are for your own benefit and should not be submitted to your instructor. You can check your answers against those provided.
- Describe the factors that affect the population growth of a place.
Population growth is affected by the age of the population, fertility and mortality (birth and death) rates, the health of a population, and the cultural traditions of a people. When people live in cities, they are likely to have fewer children than people who live in farm settings. The quality of health care also has an impact on mortality rate, and this, too, shows up in growth patterns. Generally, the largest factor is the level of development. Less developed countries are more likely to have higher population growth rates. Immigration also affects population growth.
- Explain why it is often easier to lower the crude death rates than the crude birth rates.
Crude death rates (CDR) can be lowered by improvements in sanitation, medical care, education, and food supply. These changes tend to be welcomed universally in any culture. Lowering crude birth rates (CBR) means the introduction of contraception, promotion of family planning, or otherwise encouraging young couples to have fewer children. These steps often contradict traditional cultural or religious practices and are more difficult for people to embrace. CBR tends to decline with increasing development and a growth of urban populations. Large numbers of children in an urban family are not as economically beneficial as the same number of children on a farm.
When you can accomplish the learning objectives for this lesson, you should begin work on the essay questions described below. You may use any assigned readings, your notes, and other course-related materials to complete this assignment.
2 essays, 25 points each, 50 total points.
Answer the following two essay questions, using the textbook and your own view of the world. Limit your response to about one page (approximately 200 words) per essay. Be sure to include relevant examples or statistics to support your answers. You will be graded on the accuracy and clarity of your response.
- Explain the importance of Thomas Malthus and his theories related to population growth. What would the Malthusian Scenario look like, and where is it more likely to occur?
- Explain the term zero population growth (ZPG) and discuss the countries in which ZPG is likely to occur.
You are about to turn in your first written assignment for this course. Make sure you can answer "yes" to the following questions before you upload your work:
- Is the work my own? Learning is up to you, and the MU community takes academic integrity seriously.
- Did I credit words or ideas to the people who published or shared them on the Web? Plagiarism is using someone else's words or ideas without crediting or "citing" their work. Students who plagiarize will be penalized depending on their instructor and the situation. Don't be afraid to use sources when you write, just make sure you "give credit where credit is due."
Need help figuring out when you should cite other people's words or ideas? Read about "Avoiding Plagiarism"
from Purdue University or contact Mizzou Online
with questions for your instructor.
Uploads to prepare: 1 (.doc or .rtf format)