The population of the world is unevenly distributed. Let’s have a look at why that is.
Factors Influencing The Distribution of Population
I. Physical features
- 1. Availability of water: water is a very valuable commodity as it is used for various purposes such as drinking, cooking, agriculture etc. Which is why it is so significant. It is for this reason that people prefer to live in areas with access to clean water. The most suitable example would be river valleys in the middle of densely populated areas of the world.
- 2. Land: People prefer to live in mountainous plains and on steep slopes. This is because such areas favor crop production, road construction and industry. Mountainous and hilly areas hinder the development of transport networks and are initially reluctant to develop agricultural and industrial development. Therefore, these areas are usually relatively sparse. The Ganga Plains are among the most densely populated areas in the world, while the hilly areas of the Himalayas are relatively sparse.
- 3. Climate: Extreme weather conditions such as very hot or very cold deserts are not conducive to human habitation. Areas with a mild climate, with little seasonal variation, attract more people. Areas with heavy rainfall or extreme weather have low population density. Mediterranean regions have been inhabited since early times in history because of the favorable climate.
- 4. Soil: Fertile soil is important for agricultural and cooperative activities. Therefore, areas with fertile soil have more people living in them as these can support intensive agriculture. Can you name some places in India that have fewer people because of bad soil?
II. Economic Factors
- 1. Minerals: Areas with mineral deposits attract industries. Mining and industrial activities create jobs. Therefore, skilled and less skilled workers travel to these places and make them more crowded. The Katanga Zambia band in Africa is one such example.
- 2. Urbanization: Cities provide better job opportunities, educational and medical facilities, better modes of transport and communication. Effective public services and the attraction of urban life bring people to the cities. It leads to the migration of rural people to cities and cities are growing in size. Mega cities around the world continue to attract large numbers of immigrants every year.
- 3. Industrial establishment: Industrial belts provide job opportunities and attract more people. This includes not only factory workers but also transport workers, shop owners, bank employees, doctors, teachers and other service providers. The Kobe-Osaka region of Japan is densely populated due to the presence of many industries
III. Social and Cultural Factors
- 1. Some places attract more people because of their religious or cultural significance.
- 2. In the same way, people tend to move away from places where there are social and political upheavals.
- 3. Often, governments provide people with money to move to less populated areas.
IV. Political factors-
Political unrest war and economic hardship result in significant population movement. E.g., in 1947 when Pakistan was formed millions of people migrated from each side due to political threats.