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Economic and Cultural Factors
Economic Factors. (i) Ability to obtain "outside income" is an important economic factor which affects the density of population in an area. The dense population of North-west European countries is, to a certain extent, due to their ability to earn outside income in the form of income from investments in foreign countries, expenditure incurred by foreign tourists and income from shipping services performed by them in other parts of the world. The carrying capacity of the land in view of all these has increased manifold.
(ii) Excessive urbanization. At present about one-fifth of the world people live in big cities and towns with more than 1 million people. People move to urban centres because there are employment opportunities in various fields such as manufacturing building construction, transportation and education. The towns are centres of administration commerce, trade and industry. The number of big towns has increased manifold in recent years in the world. Shanghai (China) with 10,820,000 inhabitants, Tokyo (8,841,000), New York (7,895,0003), Beijing (7,570,000), London (7,379,000), Moscow (7,050,000) are some of the big urban centres in the world (1985 figures). All these cities have a high density of population.
(iii) The growth of the means of transport is fundamental in the present distribution of people on the earth. Ocean transport has permitted the discovery of new lands and the establishment of cheap, long distance trade routes; great ports have flourished and major cities have sprung up. The development of continental transport, i.e., land transport and internal waterways has rendered possible the birth of modem civilization through concentration, i.e., the gathering of raw materials, means of production, foodstuffs, the growth and multiplication of resources and so of people in one place.
(c) Cultural Factors - The cultural factors of world population are closely related to technological development. Degree of technical development is one of the most important cultural factors causing difference in population densities in the world. The power of the earth in providing food and other human necessities of life is very elastic. How much benefit man can derive from nature depends mainly upon his skill and ingenuity. No one knows what increase of production may be possible by future technological discoveries or new forms of economic organization. Even with the present knowledge and with the existing form of society, conservative estimates imply that it is technically possible to feed a much larger population than the earth now supports. If all potentially productive lands were cultivated and if modern agricultural science were fully applied everywhere, the production of food could be increased several times over. Studies of the reserves of coal, iron ore and other sources of energy,
and industrial raw material, show that with prudent use and conservation they would be sufficient to meet the need of a growing population for a long time to come.
Man has developed various technical devices by which production can be achieved at a lesser cost. Wise and efficient use of natural resources has been found out and due to this, dense population can be supported in certain areas of the world. The internal carrying capacity of the land has been increased by scientific and technical development in countries of North-west Europe, U.S.A., Japan, and the Soviet Union, and consequently, dense population is found in these countries. But still, there are a large number of impediments, ignorance, illiteracy, old traditions, corruptions, which come in the way of technical progress and , as such, optimum use of resources is not found in certain parts of the tropical world resulting in starvation and misery of people.
(d) Religious, Political and Social Factors - Religious factors like polygamy in Muslims and early marriage in Hindus play an important role in population growth in respective areas.
As a political measure, all necessary steps were taken and incentives were offered for the growth of population in inter-war period in Italy under the leadership of Mussolini and in Germany under the leadership of Hitler. Increasing population was considered as an aid to war effort.
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