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Explaining Economic Geography

The key concepts and definitions in the field of population

Definitions and Differences
Before tackling this subject head on it is important to define the key concepts and terms that will be used within this section. Only terms will be defined and not the actual models and theories used by demographers.
  • Demographic means 'about the population'.  Demography is the geographical study of human populations by statistical techniques in order to find their size, composition and distribution.
  • Migration is defined as the permanent change of home although the term has now evolved to incorporate the temporary movement of people from one place to another. Migration can be referred to as the travel between or within countries amd to be a migrant you can be associated with any defined social group that moves from one place to another.
  • Immigration is very similar to the term migration however immigrants are people that have moved to one place permanently from another. They are caught up in a stereotype of being people from a poorer region or country settling in a place of greater prosperity.
  • Emigrants are people who leave their country of birth or origin and settle in another country. They are different to emigrants in the fact that they often are associated with people that leave a properous area for another prosperous area. For example, a wealthy British citizen that leaves home for a job in the US are quite often referred to as emigrants.
  • The Migration Balance is the net figure or ratio that is produced from comparing the emigration with immigration figures of a given place. So we can compare how many people have came to settle in the UK compared with those who have left...within a given time period.
  • Population Dynamics refers to the concept of the change in a given population within a defined space or placed. So if we were to look at the population dynamics in Wales we would look to see how the population has changed within the boundaries of this dependency.
  • MEDC's and LEDC's are popular terms within the geography field that refers to More Econonmically Developed Countries and Less Economically Developed Coutries, respectively. The difference between the two types of nations is how devoped one is and what the standard of life they present to their people. 
  • Globalisation is the process, initially associated with economic activity but now with any activity, of operating on a global scale and reaching every country on this planet.
  • Population Density refers to the level of people to a given (defined) area. It can be referred to as the size of a given area defined by the size of the population within this given place.

Differences in Distribution and Density
There are many, many factors that affect the distribution and density of population on the global and on smaller scales. These differences can include:
  1. Urban-Rural Differences in distribution
  2. ELDC's and EMDC's in terms of population density
  3. Inter-Urban Distribution (illustrated by Burgess's concentric ring model)
  4. Coastland Vs inner-land areas (Such as China)
  5. Terrain and Other Geographic factors. This is usually the most influencing factor of distribution on a global scale. Terrain and geography becomes an influencial factor when considering that only 29% of the earth is land and of that 29%, 11% is habitable (taking away extreme arctic, mountainous, desert and dangerous environments).
  6. There are also factors that influence local population distribution. These can be factors such as:
    1. Services on offer (see Sphere of Influence)
    2. Cultral Factors such as religious land and buildings
    3. Economic and social factors such as the location of schools, hospitals and businesses
    4. Political factors
  7. Contraception. In 1999, one sixth of people on this planet did not have access to contraception when they wanted it and therefore this partly accounts for the increase in births in ELDC's
  8. Resources. Can a given area sustain a high population. Factors such as fertile soils, clean rivers and minerals are key to this factor.
  9. Communications: Areas where it is difficult to construct and maintain avenues of communication are sparsely populated.
  10. Disease and Pests limit the area in which people can live and maintain their lives.

You can see that there are a number of factors that affect population size and distribution, but above is only a general list of what these factors are...and why they affect the distribution and density of populations worldwide.

POPULATION SECTION: Home   Introduction   Population Distribution and Density   Population Change   Migration   Population Structure   Patterns, Trends and Concepts   Resource exploitation and Management   'The Demographic Response'