Population distribution is the way in which people are spread across a given area. Geographers study population distribution patterns at different scales: local, regional, national, and global.
Population density is the average number of people per square kilometre. It is a way of measuring population distribution and shows whether an area is sparsely or densely populated. Population density is calculated using the following formula:
Population density = total population ÷ total land area in km²
Factors affecting population density 1
Factors attracting settlement
1. temperate climate, eg the UK
2. low-lying flat fertile land, eg the Bangladesh Delta
3. good supplies of natural resources, eg building resources
Factors affecting population density 2
Factors discouraging settlement
1. extreme climates, eg Sahara Desert
2. mountainous or highland areas, eg the Scottish Highlands
3. dense vegetation, eg the Amazon Rainforest
Socioeconomic factors affecting population density
Factors such as the availability of jobs and comparatively high wages can contribute to high population density through migration. For example, from 2004 the UK has seen an influx of migrants from countries that have recently joined the EU, such as Poland.
Political factors affecting population density
Civil war, eg in the Darfur region of Sudan, can contribute to lower population densities as people become refugees and leave an area.