# Population Density and Distribution_1_

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```					                 Global Geography 12 ● C.P. Allen High School
Population Density and Distribution ICA Worksheet
Read pages 182-189 in Global Connections.

The purpose of this lab is to understand how the distribution of people in a country differs from the population
density. As well, students will compare arithmetic densities to physiologic densities in order to understand population
pressures on the land.

1. What is the difference between population distribution and population density?
2. Explain what Canada’s population distribution looks like. Does Canada have a high or low population density?
Canada’s population distribution is concentrated along its southern border, especially in Southern Ontario
and Quebec, with other major concentrations in urban centres on the Prairies, the Vancouver area and the
coastal regions of Atlantic Canada. Overall, it has low population density- it has a few people for a very
large area.
3. Explain how the physical characteristics of Egypt and Bangladesh have influenced their population distribution
patterns. Most of Egypt is desert, and the only arable land is along the banks of the Nile river, so most of the
population has settled around those areas that support agriculture and had ready access to the river as
transportation before modern times. Bangladesh…
4. Create a formula to explain the difference between arithmetic population density and physiologic population
density.
Total area – Cultivated Area=amount of land within a country that cannot be used to grow food to support
its population
5. Complete the chart. Round to one decimal place.
Population           Total Area        Cultivated Area      Arithmetic           Physiologic
Country             (1998)                (km2)               (km2)             Density              Density
Botswana            1400000             566730               4200                             2.5                 333.3

Chad                7400000             1259200             32560                               5.9               227.3

Egypt               65500000            995450              32650                             65.8              2006.1

Kenya               28300000            569140              45200                             49.7                626.1

France              58800000            550100              194880                           106.9                301.7

Iceland             300000              100250              60                                  3.0             5000.0

Italy               57700000            294060              111430                           196.2                517.8

Switzerland         7100000             39550               4340                             179.5              1635.9

United Kingdom      59100000            241600              59490                            244.6                993.4

Ukraine             50300000            579350              343570                            86.8                146.4

Canada              30600000            9220970             455000                              3.3                67.3

United States       270200000           9159120             1877760                           29.5                143.9

Mexico              97500000            1908690             247300                            51.1                394.3

Argentina           36100000            2736690             272000                            13.2                132.7

Japan               126400000           376520              44220                            335.7              2858.4

Israel              6000000             20620               4340                             291.0              1382.5

Nepal               23700000            143000              27430                            165.7                864.0

Vietnam             78500000            325490              67580                            241.2              1161.6

India               988700000           2973190             1697000                          332.5                582.6
China               1242500000          9291000              957820                           133.7              1297.2
6. Which 2 countries have the lowest physiologic densities? Give a reason for each to explain why they have such a
small proportion of cultivated land. Canada, Argentina. Most of their land area is covered with features
(arctic, Canadian shield, Boreal Forest, Andes mountains) which make it difficult to carry out agriculture.
7. What do you notice about all the physiological density values in your chart compared with their corresponding
arithmetic density values? How can this be explained? All physiologic density values are higher than their
corresponding arithmetic density values. This is due to the fact that there are no countries where all land
area within its borders is either suitable or available for use in agriculture (desert, mountains, land
inhabited by settlement)
8. With the arithmetic and physiologic density values graphed in order of smallest total population to largest total
population (see graph below), what trends or patterns can be found solely on the basis of small or large
populations? What explanation can you give for the presence or absence of a trend based on total population?
There is no trend or pattern to predict population density values by total population; some countries with
small population have large gaps, but so do some countries with large populations, and some countries with
small populations have small gaps, as do some large countries. This can be explained by the fact that the
number of people in a country does nothing to determine the amount of land it contains, and only somewhat
effects the amount of land used for food production.

9. Explain why countries such as Egypt, Iceland, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Japan, Israel and China have a special
challenge in trying to provide sufficient amounts of food for their populations. Suggest one strategy that these
countries might use to keep their populations well fed. All of these countries have large populations and small
amounts of arable lands, which means that unless their arable lands are super productive, much of their
food supply would have to be imported. Bringing in food is likely the main strategy (imports), and perhaps
advanced agricultural techniques would be a second option to get the most out of the little arable land they
do have.
10. When we think of countries where there is chronic hunger, African countries such as Chad and Botswana come to
mind, yet the number of people depending on each square kilometer of cultivated land in these countries is not
nearly as high as in question 8. What does this say about the quality of land in the African countries? This likely
means that though there may be more arable land available in these countries than other countries, the
arable land isn’t as productive per unit as the arable land in other countries- it means they get less yield
from their land than other countries with better quality land do.
11. Based on the physiologic densities suggest at least 2 countries in the world that might be food exporters. Canada,
Ukraine, USA, France, Italy, Mexico.
12. Find an example of a country with a high population but a relatively low physiologic population density. USA,
Mexico, India
13. Find an example of a country with a low population but a relatively high physiologic population density. Iceland,
Switzerland, Israel, Egypt, Japan
14. Does a high population necessarily lead to a high physiologic density? Why or why not? Not necessarily. Mexico
and the USA have high populations but have enough arable land to keep their physiologic density value low
(along with advanced methods of cultivation and agriculture). Countries with MEGA populations look like
their high populations are trending towards high physiologic densities because the number of people is
growing at a far faster rate than new arable land can be cleared and put to use, and the amount of land that
can be cleared is disappearing quickly.
15. Explain one problem in only using arithmetic population density to determine how dense the population of a
country is.

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