The Earth’s population. Cities and urban areas
Population refers to all the people who live in a certain geographical territory. Population are organised into societies, each with own unique cultural identity. One characteristic of the world’s population is that it is always changing. The science that studies population is called demography. Demography analyses the size, structure and distribution of populations. It is also concerned with changes that affect populations over time due to factors such as birth rate, mortality rate and migrations.
Factors such as birth rates and migration have changed the population throughout history. In the last two centuries, we have seen significant population growth, with the rate of growth slowing in recent years. However, there is much variation between regions, depending on the level of economic development. Another characteristic of the world’s population is its uneven distribution. The population is densest in areas where there is work, due to the abundance of natural resources or industrial activity. This means that today the majority of the world’s population lives in cities. Today, the issues that demography considers most urgent are population growth in poor countries, the aging populations of wealthy countries and the planet’s capacity to sustain a growing global population.
A factor that has a great influence on how populations change is migration. Each year, many thousands of people move to other countries in search of a better or safer life.
Spain is not densely populated compared to other European countries. However, in the 20th century the population began to grow. The major changes in Spain’s population in recent decades have been caused by a decrease in the birth rate and mortality rate, a rise in life expectancy, an increase in the urban population and large-scale immigration. During the same period, there have been lots of social changes. One example is the incorporation of women into the workplace, which has changed the structure of family life. Check the following set of worksheets about the Earth’s population and population in Spain.
Cities are densely populated areas and centres of many economic and social activities. The areas where cities are located define their shape, size and environmental and cultural characteristics. The continuing growth of urban areas, or urbanisation, means that today there are more people in the world living in towns and cities than in the countryside.