World Population Distribution
Quick revise

The world’s population distribution is divided into 3 main groups:

1. Areas of low density

  • Less than 10 people per km2
  • Examples include Sahara Desert and Canada

2. Areas of medium density

  • 10-50 people per km2
  • Examples include California, south-east Australia and the Nile Valley in Egypt

3. Areas of high density

  • Above 50 people per km2
  • Examples include South and East Asia and Europe

Population Distribution - the way people are spread out across the Earth’s surface

Population Density - the number of people who live in an area

World Population Growth

The population of the world grew very slowly up until about 1900.

The population then exploded and increased rapidly and still continues today.

The world’s population has continued to grow because the birth rate has remained higher than the death rate.

Reasons for different populations

Densely populated areas are areas which have large numbers of people per km2. These are areas where there are many advantages for the people such as warmer climate, fertile soil and flat land.

Sparsely populated areas are areas which have small numbers of people per km2 . These are areas where there are many disadvantages for the people such as extreme climates (too cold, too dry), infertile soil and lack of employment.

For example, the UK has densely populated areas in large cities and along good transport links, but sparsely populated areas along rugged coast lines and highland areas.

Also Brazil has densely populated regions close to large cities but sparsely populated regions in the tropical rainforest and areas which suffer drought.

Emigration and Immigration

Advantages and disadvantages of emigration / immigration to losing/host country can be seen in the table below

  Advantages Disadvantages
For the host country Extra labour. May bring skills/money. Cultural exchange brings new skills and ideas. A strain on the resources, especially in LEDC’s. Can lead to poor housing being built and poor medical care.
For the losing country Reduces burden on the country as there are fewer people to provide for. Money is sent back to family members from host countries. A loss of labour and skills


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