AQA A-Level Geography Population and the Environment

  • Created by: 12megdyk
  • Created on: 14-06-19 14:06

Population and the environment AO1 revision

Introduction (

In demography it is important to note that the growth of population is dynamic, not static and can take place across various timeframes and scales; Micro (local), Meso (regional) and Macro (global).

Between 1950 and 1990 the world’s population doubled.

11th July 1987 – 5 billion     12th October 1999 – 6 billion      31st October 2011 – 7 billion

2023 – 8 billion       2050 – 9.2 billion        2100 – 11 billion

·         By 2050 90% of people will live in a developing country

·         Global CO2 emissions have quadrupled since 1950

·         768 million people do not have access to safe and clean water

·         By 2050, 27% of all Europeans will be over 60

Density and distribution

Population density: the number of people who live in an area, usually measured in people per km² and often presented on choropleth maps.

Population distribution: the way that people are dispersed or spread out across a landscape, often presented on dot maps with each dot representing a given number of people.


Development has played a key role in population growth as developments in the use of natural resources and technology has enabled some areas to support larger human populations. The human ability to acquire and make use of natural resources meant that there was a surge in population growth. This enabled the industrial revolution which furthered this ability. The control of infectious diseases has also meant that population size has begun to increase.


World Population density

Sparsely Populated

Densely Populated

·         Northern Canada: areas of coniferous forest make it difficult to construct large transport systems. The climate is cold and has a short growing season.

·         Arctic: frozen soils and low annual temperatures make agriculture difficult.

·         Ethiopia: lacks minerals and a permanent supply of clean, fresh water. Also lacking in money and technology which makes development difficult.

·         Himalayas: the mountains provide a barrier to transport and trade. The climate is cold and lacking in oxygen.

·         California: good roads and transport links, large amounts of money to build reservoirs and harness natural water supplies.

·         Netherlands: flat topography which means it is easy to build on and construct agricultural industries.

·         Mt. Etna: fertile soils means that farming can occur here, the volcano also attracts tourists creating employment opportunities.

·         Bangladesh: flat plains and low lying areas with seasonal monsoon farming.


Elements in the physical environment

Elements in the physical environment play a key role in dictating population distribution and density.

Climate:extreme temperatures limit population growth. Too much or too little rainfall will also present challenges to population development. Desert and polar environments have low population densities.

Soils:the presence of fertile soils is necessary to grow food. In areas that lack this or areas that have permafrost, agricultural productivity is low which means population can be hard to


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