Unequal Population Distribution


(Some extracts have been taken from Richmond's Geography and History texbook

2004 by Santillana Educación, S.L. ISBN: 84-294-9216-X)


Read this information about population. If you find problems with vocabulary look up the words you don't understand.

Africa, Asia Minor and the Middle East have the highest growth rate. The most industrialized countries, especially European countries, have the lowest, sometimes negative, growth rates. This is called demographic ageing: more than 15% of the population is over 65 years old.

In regards to fertility rates, the average number of children per woman is 3, but there are great contrasts depending on the countries: African women have an average of five children, while European women have an average of 1.5, which does not ensure biological replacement.

In some countries, like China, there is a serious imbalance between male and female citizens because of political reasons. The "one-child-only" policy caused 8.7 million baby girls to be "lost" between 1975 and 1995 because parents prefered boys if they could only have one baby.

To get information about migration, go to this page


Let's look at the different factors that influence the demographic structure of a population:

(Chart: Antonio Rodrigo)

1. Write in your notebook the meaning of these words and the difference between them.Birth rate and fertility rate.

(photograph: Wikipedia)

2. On the map above you can see the fertility rate in the countries of the world. Where do you see the higher fertility rates?

3. Click on the map to see it bigger and identify the countries coloured in green. Write the countries in your notebook.

4. Read about the factors that influence birth rates and fertility rates:

Fill in the gaps with the words DECREASE or INCREASE:

1. Socio-economic factors: Children working in underdeveloped countries contribute to the family's economy.( So the number of children _____________) Children in industrialized countries cost a lot of money. (So the number of children _______________)

    1. 2. Political: Some Governments are pro-natalist, like Iran, or anti-natalist, like China. In Iran the number of children ______________ while in China the number of children _______________
    2. 3. Cultural: Where women have access to education and work the number of children _______________
    3. 4. Religious: Where religion has a great influence , the number of children ___________________

Look up these words in the links you have and copy them in your notebook

5. Death rate Life expectancy Natural growth or Increase

(photograph source: wikipedia)

There are great inequalities regarding death rates. As you can see on the map above ( Lifeexpectancy in the world) industrialized countries have a higher life expectancy and lower infant mortality than underdeveloped countries.

Click on the map to see it bigger.

6. Identify the countries with life expentancy higher than 75. Write them in your notebook.

7. Identify those countries with life expentancy higher than 80. How many of them have got a coastline?

The factors that influence these inequalities are:

    1. Biological factors
  1. Social factors: Health conditions, education, environment...

The natural growth rate in the world is about 1.2% The less industrialized regions have a higher growth rate than the average: the most industrialized regions have an extremely low rate (0.2%).

Spain, for example, has a negative growth rate.

5. Look up for the word below and copy the meaning in your notebook

ageing or aging

There are three main age groups:

  • Young population ( from 0 to 14)
  • Adult population ( from 15 to 64)
  • Elderly population (+ 65)

The composition of the population according to age greatly affects the evolution of natality and mortality. Underdeveloped countries are usually young countries.

6. Find the population data (Central Intelligence Agency) of two different countries, such as Iran and Canada , one underdeveloped and the other industrialized, and compare how young or how old each country is:





Write your conclusions in your notebook.

7. We'll go further in our study of population:

You are going to compare two different countries, but this time you'll calculate the rates and the percentages of the given factors on Excel pages: Write the results in your notebook:


  • A) Calculate the Birth rate and fertility rate:
    1. Specific fertility rates referring to the mother's age.
    2. Gereral fertility rate. (all ages)
  1. Birth rate
  • B) Calculate the Death rate:
    1. Death rate
    2. Infant mortality rate
  1. Life expentancy
    • C) Looking at the Inflow of population and the Outflow, calculate the net Migration.
  • D) Calculate the population structure:

Brazil and United Kingdom

    1. Percentage of young population
    2. Percentage of adult population
  1. Percentage of elderly population

Now let's go to the final task:

Construct a population pyramid.