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Unit 2

2.0 Population & Migration

4 min readโ€ขjune 18, 2021


AP Human Geographyย ๐Ÿšœ

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Unit 2: Population & Migration ๐Ÿ‘ช

2.0: Introduction to Population & Migration

Today, there are over 7 billion people living on the planet! ๐ŸŒ Although global birth rates are declining, there are more people in the world than ever before in human history. Despite improved living conditions and increased access to healthcare ๐Ÿฅ, the vast majority of people still live in low-income developing countries. In this unit, we will tackle a very simple, yet fascinating, question -- Why do people live where they do?ย 

Unit Preview (Try to answer these questions!):

  • Why are there so many people in China and India?ย 
  • What factors cause people to live in certain areas rather than others?
  • Why do people move from place to place?
  • Why do so many migrants come from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia?ย 
  • Why has the world population grown so rapidly in the last century?
  • Why do migrants move to developed regions such as Europe or North America?
  • How do density and spatial distribution affect where people live?

What determines where people live?

Physical Factors ๐ŸŒ„๐Ÿ’ช๐ŸŒ…

Take a moment to think about where you live. What makes a city ๐ŸŒ† or country a desirable (or undesirable) place to live? To answer this question, you might have thought about the climate ๐ŸŒžโ›„of a region, the proximity of bodies of water ๐ŸŒŠ, or even the location of major geographical landmarks such as mountain ranges โ›ฐ๏ธ.ย 
People need food ๐ŸŒฝ๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŽ to survive, and thus we often see cities develop around fertile valleys and around rivers. Most people in the world live in midlatitudes (regions between 30ยฐN and 60ยฐN and between 30ยฐS and 60ยฐS). These areas have moderate climates and better soil that contribute to a desirable location to live.ย 
Lastly, people want to live in low-lying areas rather than high in mountains. Low lying areas have better soils and are often located near oceans or other bodies of water. Freshwater (water without salt) also drives people to lake regions or rivers.

Human Factors ๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿ‘ง๐Ÿ‘ด๐Ÿ‘ต๐Ÿ‘ฒ๐Ÿ‘ณ

Despite the appeal of physical factors, food and water alone are not enough to get people to move into an area. People in the modern world also seek safety, job opportunities, and proximity to relatives. ๐Ÿ‘ทย 

Types of Densities

Demographers study these three types of population density: Arithmetic, Physiological, and Agricultural population density.ย 
Arithmetic population density:ย  This type of density simply measures the average number of people in a given area. ๐Ÿ‘ช For example, the US has a total population of 330 million people spread out over 3,841,999 square miles. Thus, the arithmetic density is about 84 people per square mile.
Physiological population density: Unlike Arithmetic population density, this type of density is calculated by dividing the total population by the amount of arable land available. ๐ŸŒฑ In other words, this is the amount of people in a given area divided by the amount of land suitable for growing crops. ๐ŸŒฝ๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿ…๐ŸŒ๐ŸŽ
Agricultural population density:ย  This last type of population density compares the number of farmers to the area of arable land. ๐ŸŒฑA smaller number of farmers in a given area most likely indicates a higher degree of efficiency because less people are required to make the same amount of food.ย 

Population Pyramids โŸ

Population pyramids โŸ show the distribution of people in a given country by age group ๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿ‘ง๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿ‘ด๐Ÿ‘ต and gender ๐Ÿ‘ซ. Population pyramids can provide valuable information on birth rates, death rates, economic development, and education levels in a country.
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2Fusa%20pop-8P0sRx1lShst.png?alt=media&token=89bcdfd7-7e90-4038-8cf5-bcc9d11c67ee
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2Fafghanistan%20pop-xynv4FfKi9FN.png?alt=media&token=904dfc05-f847-4394-b73e-f7f13b73eb92

Images Courtesy of PopulationPyramid.net

Population Growth and Decline ๐Ÿ“ˆ๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿ“‰

A countryโ€™s population will fluctuate wildly depending on a variety of different factors. The Demographic Transition Model (DTM) is the most important model of population growth and shifting rates of birth and death in a country. There are four main stages of the DTM, but recently there has been a shift towards a fifth stage. As a country modernizes, birth and death rates decline as a result of increased access to education ๐Ÿซ and healthcare โ„ž, larger food supplies ๐Ÿฑ, and overall economic growth ๐Ÿ’ต.
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-Cr4iseEKZzDf.png?alt=media&token=1eed09cd-a570-421d-8461-0fa9ee09778c

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

๐Ÿ“ฝ๏ธWatch: APHUG - The Demographic Transition

Why People Move ๐Ÿƒ

Push and Pull Factorsย 

Push and pull factors are commonly used to describe why migrants move. Push factors are reasons why people leave their home country while pull factors are reasons why people are attracted to another country that they desire to move to. Wars ๐Ÿ”ซ, terrorist activity ๐Ÿ’ฃ, poor economic conditions ๐Ÿ’ฒ๐Ÿ˜ข, and overpopulation are examples of common push factors. A desire to live with relatives in another region, new job opportunities ๐Ÿ’ฐ, and safe living conditions are pull factors that lure people into a new country.
๐Ÿ“ฝ๏ธWatch: APHUG - Population Pyramids
๐Ÿ“ฝ๏ธWatch: APHUG - Migration

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