Revision:Population geography and demography

Population Geography is the study of spatial variations in distribution, density, composition and growth of human numbers on earth. It is important because it links all other aspects of geography together. Population is based on the natural increase. This is defined as the birthrate minus the deathrate. The birthrate is the number of babies born per 1000 people per year and similarly, the deathrate is the number of people who died per 1000 people per year. This then gives us the natural increase of a population


Demography is the study of population characteristics. It is significant because:

  • There are more people living today than any other time in history.
  • There's been a population explosion since World War 2.
  • There is an inverse relationship between population growth and resources i.e. there are too many people in places without enough resources to support them and too few people in areas with over abundant resources.

Since WW2, the population has exploded. There are a number of reasons behind it mainly due to a better economy. But there are other factors mainly with LEDCs


The problem with LEDCs is that there is not a lot of medication available to families, so for that reason, the infant mortallity rate was very high. This then caused families to have lots of children so that they work on the farm and the family does not have to pay for labour. But now, medication is becoming more available. This means that the infant mortality rate is decreasing but families are still having children which means that the natural increase is very high.


In MEDCs, there is a lot more education and help for people who do or do not want a child. Methods of contraception are available and so the birthrate is controlled and with the medication now available, so is the death rate meaning that the natural increase is very low

Case Studies

China One Child Policy

China has a population of over 1 billion people, and so in the 1970s the government of china needed to find a way to control to growth of the population so they brought in the 2 child policy. This then allowed each family to have two children but the government found that the policy was not controlling the population very well. So in 1979, the policy was changed to only 1 child per family


The policy has been criticised both inside and outside of China, mainly because of the social problems of the policy. Because the policy restricts growth of the population, it means that when the workforce comes to retire, there will not be sufficient numbers of children (then young adults) to come in and fill their place at the factory, meaning that there is not enough money to support the elderly dependants.
The Policy has also been criticised because, it favours males over females as the males would grow up, bring in money for the family and carry on their name. Whereas, a daughter, once married, is likely to support her husbands family rather than her family.


  • People living in the country, farming land are allowed to have two or more children


  • Work bonuses and promotions may be rejected if people have more children than they are allowed
  • Families may have to pay fines