Human Population Density
As Vidal-de-la Blache stated: 'Human societies like those of the vegetable and animal world are composed of different elements subject to the influence of environment'. He also recognized that population did not spread like a drop of oil, but it grew in clumps like corals. Recent studies relate the degree of environmental change directly to population density. The cultural patterns describe the patterns of human societies and their behavior.
Therefore all these systematic studies have emerged because of enumeration techniques. The role of man in production and consumption of resources is significant. The numbers of human beings in any area gives a broad idea of nature and extent of economic activities in that area. A study of the population distribution is therefore necessary. Population distribution on the surface of the earth is uneven. This unevenness can be studied by grouping all factors into physical and non-physical.
Physical factors- includes accessibility, relief, soil fertility, climate, natural vegetation, water supply and mineral resources. Inaccessible mountains, poor soil, extreme climate do not favor man. On the other hand low land of fertile soil, accessible equable climate, sufficient water availability and easy mode of transport attracted the man to practices agriculture, later on manufacturing. Thus river plains, coastal plains and temperate grasslands are the region of high population concentration. Extremes of climate like too hot and wet equatorial region too rugged Cold Mountain and plateau tops too hot and dry deserts, dry Polar Regions have the lowest density of population.
Non-physical factors include social and cultural togetherness economic and demographic factors. The groups of smaller culture stick together because of food taboo, beliefs customs and behaviors. Demographic factors like birth rate, death rate, infant mortality and longevity of life add the net increase of population changes. The economic factors like better jobs educational and commercial activities induces migration from backward area to the developed part of the world.
All these result in the identification of ecumene and non ecumene areas showing two density divisions. Ecumene area covers 60% of the total land surface within which density varies greatly. This could be divided into areas of high density, moderate and less density.
The areas of high density are the areas of both high and low living standard. The average density per 100 persons per square kilometer. This belt is including N.E.U.S.A., England and North Western Europe, Monsoon countries of Asia. Among these monsoon countries except Japan are agricultural economic based nations with the low standard of living. The countries of U.S.A and Europe are having industrial economy with the high standard of living.
Areas of moderate population density have 25-100 persons per square kilometer. France, parts of former western USSR, South eastern Australia, South eastern Canada, mid west U.S.A. are having high standard of living and fall into this second group. The other countries of low standard of living are Turkey, Nigeria, South east Brazil and Mexico.'
Areas of low density (less than 25 persons per square kilometer) are Sweden, Norway, New Zealand, Western Canada of high standard of living and Northern Africa, central Brazil, Patagonia, New Guinea of low living standard.
Even though the density classification is adopted for all practical purposes, there is no clear cut demarcation of spatial division. The urban centres of high density merges into the country side. There is a gradual variation away from the agricultural or industrial centres. It is generally an accepted fact that population density declines regularly as distance increases away from the central point of concentration. The rate of change in terms of distance decay become gradual as the standard of living improves and vice versa.
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