AP Human Geography: Population and Migration Notes

Key Takeaways: Population and Migration

  1. British economist Thomas Malthus coined the term overpopulation in the late 1700s. Malthus suggested that the world’s population was growing faster than the rate of food production, and as a result, mass starvation would occur. Malthus was correct in his assumption about world population increase but was incorrect in his assessment of agriculture’s inability to produce sufficient food. Neo-Malthusians today believe that humanity is ripe for another population calamity.
  2. The demographic transition model is a tool demographers use to categorize countries’ population growth rates and economic structures. The model analyzes birth rates, death rates, and total population trends in a society at a given point of time.
  3. The world’s population is growing exponentially. Most of the growth is occurring in less developed countries (LDCs). More developed countries (MDCs) are either at or near zero population growth.
  4. Population pyramids show the age and sex demographics of a particular country, city, or neighborhood. Inverted pyramids indicate a large percentage of elderly persons in the community. A large base indicates a lot of children in the society and could indicate a less developed country.
  5. There are four primary push and pull factors: economic, political, environmental, and social indicators. Each of these factors has caused millions of people to move.

Population and Migration Key Terms

Factors Affecting Population

  • Demography: The study of population characteristics. Birth rate: The number of births per 1,000 people in the population.
  • Death rate: The number of deaths per 1,000 people in the population. Population explosion: A crisis in which population growth occurs in countries ill- prepared to handle the growing numbers of people.
  • Ecumene: The term for habitable land, which includes land with adequate water sources, relatively flat terrain, and available human food sources.
  • Underpopulation: The surplus of necessary resources to meet the needs of the population of a defined area.
  • Overpopulation: The lack of necessary resources to meet the needs of the population of a defined area.
  • Carrying capacity: The ability of the land to sustain a certain number of people.
  • Environmental degradation: The harming of the environment, which occurs when more and more humans inhabit a specific area and place a strain on the environmental resources.

Population Distribution and Density

  • Arithmetic density: Divides the entire population of a country by the total land area to come up with a population density for the country as a whole.
  • Physiologic density: A more accurate way to measure a country’s population density by only taking into account land that is used by humans.

Population and Growth

  • Thomas Malthus: British reverend who concluded that population was growing at a faster rate than productivity in the late 1700s; coined the term overpopulation.
  • Linear growth: Growth that occurs evenly across each unit over time. Exponential growth: Growth as a percentage of the total population.
  • Neo-Malthusian: Those who are critical of the demographic transition model.

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