Competitive Exams: Population Distribution

Factors affecting distribution of population

  • Availability of arable land and water The plain areas having fertile soil and appropriate climate for the cultivation of crops are the regions of high density of population. Areas having incidence of anthropogenic innovations like irrigation etc. Also tend to have high population density.

  • Area of civilization The longer a place has been continuously used by farmers, the larger is the density and the population (E. g. Eastern China plains and Indo Gangetic plains).

  • Accessibility: Accessible places are those that can easily be connected by transportation to other places. Such areas always tend to have high population. A higher relief would result in lower population density. 56 percent ofthe world's population is confined to. An altitude of less than 200 m. Only about 20 percent of the world's total population is found in regions with an altitude of more than 500 m. Japan provides the classic example of relationship where the demographic relief is opposite of its physiographic relief.

  • Restrictions of National boundaries: Crossing of international boundaries by the people of one country to another are not allowed by the proviso of international law. Most governments restrict immigration and several countries control emigration as well. Therefore the population density is not uniform throughout the world.

  • Inhabited regions of the world are known as Ecumene areas, whereas the uninhabited areas are known as Non Ecumene areas.

Population Distribution

The world can be divided into densely and sparsely populated areas.

Densely populated regions are those having density greater than hundred persons per square kilometers. It includes the following areas-East Asia (China, Japan, S. Korea and Taiwan)

  • South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal)

  • North Western Europe (France, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Ireland, Denmark, Spain, Portugal and Italy).

  • Eastern North America (NE USA and SE Canada)

High Density

Apart from the above four, following regions also have high density:

  • Deltas of Mekong, Menam and Irrawady.

  • Indonesian island of Java (high population density is because of rich volcanic soil)

  • Linear concentration along the Nile Valley in Egypt. Ring of settlement around Lake Victoria and the coastal area of Nigeria.

  • Central Mexico.

  • Coastal areas of Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina.

Sparse Density

Sparsely populated areas are as follows:

  • Desert, arid and semiarid areas (generally they are thinly populated by nomadic hunters and gatherers like the Bushmen of Kalahari and nomads like the Badawins of Arabia and Sahara etc.). Exceptions occur where towns have emerged in deserts owing to the mining of gold and other precious metals (e. g. Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie in Australia and Cripple Creek in USA etc.)

  • Ice caps and cold regions (Very sparsely inhabited, usually by hunters like Eskimos). Exceptions occur where minerals are available and men have settled there to exploit them (e. g. Iron ore in Gallivare in Sweden, gold in Yukon Valley and Fort Yukon in Alaska.)

  • Mountainous Regions. Exceptions occur where minerals are found, like some pockets in Peru and Bolivia. In Kishtwar (Bhadarwah district of J&K), mining of precious stones have led to the emergence of settlements.

In tropical regions where climate at lower altitudes is not conducive, most of the towns, cities and settlements have developed around 2000 m above sea level Addis Abab (Ethiopia), Kampala (Uganda), Nairobi (Kenya), Quit (Euador), Ooty (India), Kandy (Sri Lanka)

Most populated countries in world

  • China
  • India
  • USA
  • Indonesia
  • Brazil
  • Pakistan
  • Russia
  • Japan
  • Bangladesh
  • Nigeria
  • Mexico
  • Germany
  • Iran
  • Egypt
  • UK
  • France

Asia (countries in sequence of their population)

  • China
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Pakistan
  • Japan
  • Bangladesh
  • Vietnam
  • Philippines
  • Iran
  • Turkey
  • Thailand
  • Myanmar
  • S. Korea
  • N. Korea
  • Uzbekistan
  • Nepal
  • Afghanistan
  • Iraq
  • Taiwan
  • Malaysia
  • S. Arabia
  • Sri Lanka
  • Kazakhstan
  • Yemen
  • Syria
  • Cambodia