Prepared by Ray Bodnaruk

Thousands of people stand shoulder to shoulder in an overcrowded area
Let observation, with extensive view
Survey Mankind from China to Peru
Samuel Johnson



Prescribed Learning Outcomes: Social Studies 11 IRP

  • Identify and use approaches from the social sciences and humanities to examine Canada and the world.
  • Communicate effectively in written and spoken language or other forms of expression as appropriate to the social sciences.
  • Demonstrate the ability to thing critically, including the ability to
    • Define an issue or problem
    • Develop hypotheses and supporting arguments
  • Gather relevant information from appropriate sources.
  • Assess the reliability, currency, and objectivity of evidence.
  • Develop and express appropriate responses to issues or problems.
  • Reassess their responses to issues on the basis of new information.
  • Assess the influence of mass media on public opinion.
  • Develop, express, and defend a position on an issue, and explain how to put the idea into action.
  • Assess the role of values, ethics, and beliefs in decision making.
  • Demonstrate appropriate research skills, including the ability to:
    • Develop pertinent questions about a topic, an issue, or a situation.
    • Collect original data.
    • Use a range of research tools and resources.
    • Compile and document task-specific information from a wide variety of print and electronic sources.
    • Present and interpret data in graphic form.
    • Evaluate and interpret data for accuracy, reliability, bias and point of view.
    • Understand the nature of and appropriate uses for primary and secondary sources.
  • Recognize connections between events and their causes, consequences and implications.
  • Demonstrate awareness of current geographical technology.
  • Identify elements that contribute to the regional, cultural and ethnic diversity of Canadian society.
  • Identify major Canadian social policies and programs and their impact on Canadian society.
  • Recognize the importance of both individual and collective action in responsible global citizenship.
  • Identify and assess social issues facing Canadians.
  • Identify and assess cultural issues facing Canadians.
  • Describe and assess Canada's participation in world affairs.
  • Identify and assess political issues facing Canadians.
  • Describe the stages of economic activity, including the acquisition of resources, production and distribution, the exchange of goods and services, and consumption.
  • Demonstrate awareness of disparities in the distribution of wealth in Canada and the world.
  • Identify and assess economic issues facing Canadians.
  • Explain the environmental impact of economic activity, population growth, urbanization and standards of living.
  • Apply the following themes of geography to relevant issues:
    • Location (a position on the earth's surface).
    • Place (the physical and human characteristics that make a location unique).
    • Movement (the varied patterns in the movement of life forms, ideas and materials).
    • Regions (basic units of study that define an area with certain human and physical characteristics)
    • Human and physical interaction (the way humans depend on, adapt to, and modify the environment)
  • Identify the geographical forces shaping Canada's position among nations.
  • Identify and assess environmental issues facing Canadians.





Arithmetic Growth Birthrate
Birth Rate Boserup
Catton Census
Census Demographics
Demography Doubling Time
Ecological Footprint Emigration class=Terms
Exponential Growth Death Rate
Demographic Transition Model Dependency Ratio
Fertility General Fertility Rate
Immigration Infant Mortality Rate
"J" Curve Malthus
Mortality Mortality Rate
Natural Increase Population Change
Population Process Population Rate of Change
Population Pyramid Rate of Natural Increase
Rule of 70 "S" Curve
Total Fertility Rate Urbanization


Topographic map of earth with 10 working class people standing in front


On July 11, 1987, child 5 billion was born into our world. A short 12 years later, child 6 billion arrived on October 12, 1999. On this planet, every second 5 people are born and 2 die - this results in a net increase of 90 million people per year. At this rate, the world's population will double every 40 years! Thus in the year 2040 the earth will have to feed, cloth and house 12 billion people, in the year 2080, 24 billion and so on. However, according to the United Nations, world population is expected to stabilize. Given the varying birth rates through out the world, it is very likely that both child 5 and 6 billion were born in a developing country. As a result, many people see the issue of over-population as being a problem of the developing world that would be solved simply by people having fewer children.



The purpose of this unit is to provide information so that students can develop an understanding of the dynamics surrounding population growth and gain a better understanding of how the developed and developing worlds are inextricably linked.

Population Growth in Vancouver
  • It took 130 years for Greater Vancouver to reach 1.3 million
  • It has only taken the last 10 years for our population to increase by 50%
  • In the last 10 years over 300,000 motor vehicles have been added to our streets - there are 1.3 million vehicles in the Lower Mainland
  • Does Greater Vancouver have a population problem?
Skyline view shows Vancouver's congested city area

Population Growth - Population Explosion

The explosion of the human population is a relatively recent phenomenon. From the beginning of human history until the early 1800's, population increase was slow and incremental. Not until around 1830 did the earth's population reach a billion people. Roughly one hundred years later the world's population was two billion. Within thirty years, (1960) the world's population reached three billion and in only fifteen more years reached four billion (1975). Twelve years later, in 1987, it edged past the five billion mark. Growing at a rate of about 90 million people a year (roughly three times the population of Canada), the world's population reached 6 billion in October of 1999. Population growth is expected to level off at around 12 billion people by the end of the next century.

Causes of Population Growth

The main reasons for the slow growth of the human population over the millennia prior to the 1830's were disease and famine. Outbreaks of smallpox, measles, diphtheria and scarlet fever, today thought of as very curable diseases, were often fatal - particularly for infants and young children. It was not uncommon for a woman to bear seven or eight children only to see one or two reach adulthood. Furthermore, epidemics of diseases such as typhoid, cholera as well as the plague, would be responsible for the deaths of large numbers of adults.

With the advent of scientific discoveries in the 1800's, it was found that most diseases were caused by infectious agents -- viruses, bacteria and parasites -- spread by contaminated water. Based on this knowledge, improvement in sanitation, personal hygiene, and nutrition, coupled with the discovery of penicillin in the 1930's, led to spectacular decreases in mortality - particularly among infants and children.



Yet, while mortality rates began to decline, birthrates remained high, leading to exponential growth in population.

1. How many people were there in the world in 1830? In 1930? In 1960? In 1987? In 1999? Why are people concerned about the rapid growth in world population?
2. How many people are there in the world today? What percentage of this total live in Canada?
3. What has changed in the relationship between birthrates and mortality over the last two centuries?


Statistics Canada conducts a major census every ten years in Canada - a national counting of the population. Data collected include physical (age, gender, birthplace) social (marital status, language spoken, level of education) and economic (family income, etc.). The scientific study of the counting of population is primarily referred to as demography. Demography is of primary interest to government and business alike. Governments, among other things, use the data to plan for the building of schools, hospitals, roadways and other infrastructure.

1. What is a census and how often are they conducted?
2. What kinds of information are noted in census reports? Why is this data useful?
3. Suggest reasons why the reliability of census information varies between countries?

Population Change

In order to give governments time to plan for the future, two of the most important sets of data are: population size and rate of change. As some of the world's industrialized countries are declining in population, it is more appropriate to use the term population change instead of population growth. The measurement of population change is simply the increase or decrease actual numbers of a country or region's population. The data below show population changes for Canada and India from 1980 to 2000:

Canada 1990  27 297 000
1980  24 343 000
2 954 000
2000  30 491 000
1990  27 297 000
3 194 000
India 1990  851 790 000
1980  676 200 000
175 590 000
2000  1 014 004 000
1990     851 790 000
162 214 000



The data above indicate the changes in population from 1980 to 1990 and from 1990 to 2000. While it is obvious that the increase in actual population in India was much greater than in Canada, what cannot be judged by the data is the rate at which these two countries grew.

Population Rate of Change (Relative Change)

In order to judge which of the two countries grew at the fastest rate one needs to determine the percent rate of change. The percent rate of change or relative change can be determined by dividing the absolute change in population during the time period by the population at the beginning of the time period. The answer is then multiplied by 100 to give a percent. This, in turn, is divided by the number of years over which the change is measured.   For example:

Canada Rate of Change  1980 to 1990
  2,954,000 x 100
 =  12.1
 =  1.21%
India 175,590,000 x 100
 =  25.96
 =  2.59%

One can see that, for the decade, India's population grew approximately two times faster than Canada's.

1.   Determine the rate of change for both Canada and India from 1990 to 2000.

Natural Increase: Doubling Time

Another important demographic measure of a country is the time it takes to double the population. If a country's population takes a relatively few years to double, then it is possible to surmise the potential problems a government might have in trying to meet certain needs such as building enough schools, hospitals or even having an adequate water supply in place. Since relative changes in population (expressed as a percent) may appear innocuous or inconsequential, it is useful to apply the Rule of 70. The rule of 70 is calculated by dividing the percent rate of growth into 70. If a country has a growth rate of 1% its population will double in 70 years. If a country has a growth rate of 4% its population will double in 18 years! Using the rate of change for Canada from 1980 to 1990 (above), the doubling rate can be determined thus:

Canada        70       
% rate of growth
 =  number of years for population to double
 =  57.8 years


1. Calculate the doubling time for India based on the percent rate of change from 1980 to 1990.
2. Find the rates of growth for both Canada and India based on the most recent population data available. Determine the doubling times based on the new data.

The Population Process

Other important demographic information is explained through the population process. This process accounts for the four main factors that affect population change: births (fertility), deaths (mortality), immigration and emigration.

Fertility deals with factors that affect the rate of human reproduction. While mortality deals with the death rate. Important measures of fertility and mortality are:  birth rate, general fertility rate, total fertility rate (TFR), death rate, infant mortality rate and rate of natural change. Both birth and death rates can be measures in relative terms - as a percent or in actual numbers.

Birth Rate - the number of live births per thousand population in one year.

For example -- Canada (1999 estimate. source: Statistics Canada)

total live births
total population
 x 1000*     340,891  
 x 1000 = 11.18 per 1000

* if multiplied by 100 the result is a percentage

General Fertility Rate - the rate of births for the female section of the population between the ages 15 and 49. This is a more meaningful statistic for government planning and data collection than the birth rate as the male portion of the population does not bear children.

  total live births   
total women aged 15ᇀ
  x 1000

Canada (estimated 2000. source: Statistics Canada)

 x 1000 = 49.2*

* per 1000 female population of child bearing years

* notice this figure is significantly higher than the crude birth rate above and more realistic.


Graph compares total fertility rate of Canada, Italy, China, and Developing World (excluding China)

Total Fertility Rate - again a useful statistic to demographers, the total fertility rate or TFR is an estimate of the number of births a woman would have in her lifetime. The TFR is used to determine the necessary level for a population to replace itself. In Canada, one would think that a TFR of two is all that would be necessary for the population to replace itself. However a TFR of 2.1 is necessary as not all children who are born survive. In the developing world the TFR is higher, at about 2.5.

In Canada, since 1972, the TFR has been steadily declining. With a low TFR, Canada's population would eventually decline, as the current population levels would not be maintained. Can you think of a way to increase the population given the low TFR?

Death Rate - similar to the birth rate, the death rate is crude measure of mortality. It measures the total number of deaths in a year per thousand population.

  total deaths  
total population
 x 1000

For example -- Canada (estimate 20000 source: Statistics Canada)

 x 1000 = 7.3 per 1000 population

Infant Mortality Rate - is the measure of the number of infants under one year of age who die each year. This is a useful statistic as it is often included as an indicator of a country's quality of life. Generally speaking, developing countries have a higher infant mortality rate than do developed countries.


total deaths of infants under 1 year
total live births
 x 1000

In 1989 Canada's infant mortality rate was 7.9 per thousand. Afghanistan, on the other hand, was 172 per thousand! (Source: United Nations)

Graph shows infant mortality rates
Canada - 7.9
China - 45
Bhutan - 116
Sri Lanka - 18
Canada China Bhutan Sri Lanka
Infant Mortality Rates

Rate of natural increase - is a reflection of the birth rate minus the death rate for a particular year. This statistic might be used to compare increases or decreases in population over the years. Using the above birth rate and death rate data for Canada, the rate of natural change is 4.4 per 1000 (11.7 - 7.3 = 4.4). To give an accurate picture, net migration rates must also be included in this figure.

Dependency Ratio - is a final important demographic statistic. Dependency ratios are a way of separating the working population from the non-working population. In Canada, the non-working population includes people who are generally considered too young to work, those under the age of 15 (young dependents), and the elderly, those over the age of 65 (old dependents). It is assumed that the non-working population would have to be supported by the working population, thus, too large a non-working population would be an economic burden to the country.

Dependency Ratio

% young dependents + % old dependents
% people of working age
 x 100

Using 1981 data, Canada's dependency ratio is:

22.5 + 9.7
 x 100 = 47.5

This means that for every 100 workers there are 47.5 who are dependent on them.


1. Visit Statistics Canada to determine Canada's dependency ratio based on 1999 data. How has it changed?

Life Expectancy - or the average age a person can expect to live, is an important statistic. On the whole, while life expectancy has increased throughout all countries of the world, it is clear that countries with the greatest increase in life expectancy are found in the developed world. There are many factors which contribute to long life, among them access to reliable food supply, clean water, medical help and education.

Today some countries are experiencing a decline in life expectancy due to unexpected factors such as war, the spread of A.I.D.S and increases in crime rates.
Population pyramid for Canada in 1996

Population Characteristics

Age - Sex Structure/Population Pyramid. To understand population dynamics more completely, one must go beyond increases or decreases in population numbers. We need to consider total numbers of persons, specific age groups and gender.

A population pyramid (above right) is basically two, back-to-back bar graphs. The data on the left gives population data for males and data on the right population data for females. Each bar on the graph represents a proportion of the total population. Each graph covers a specific number of years (five) and is called a cohort. For example, at the base of the pyramid, the first cohort covers age group 0 to 4 years, the second, 5 to 9 years, etc. The bottom of the graph indicates percentages. Altogether, the population pyramid gives a snapshot of the population characteristics of the country which, based on the shape, can give demographers insight into potential problems that the country might face in the future. To get an idea of how Canada's and the United States populations have changed over time visit Statistic Canada's dynamic population pyramid and the U.S. animated population pyramid .


Population pyramids for Mali(Least Less Developed) and Germany(Developed) in 2000

1. What is shown in a population pyramid?
2. Go to the US Census Bureau International Data Base . Download and print a population pyramid based on the most recent census for Canada (1996). Next, download and print a population pyramid for Nigeria for the same year. Do the same again for Japan in 1996. Compare the shapes of these three population pyramids. Suggest reasons for why they are so different from one another.

Demographic Transition Model

The Demographic Transition Model (DTM) describes the effect on birth and death rates due to social and economic changes over time. The model is based on changes that have occurred in industrialized countries and it is assumed that the model can also be applied to developing countries.

Births and deaths (per thousand per year The model is characterized by four stages:



Stage 1 - Primitive

Stage 1 gets wider at an increasing rate as it gets closer to the bottom

This stage is characterized as having high birth and death rates resulting in low population growth. A country at this stage would have a primitive economy. High birth rates are a result of no family planning, or birth control. As well, there is a high birth rate - many children die in infancy so parents have many children with hope that several will survive. Also, with a primitive economy, many persons are needed to work the land. In many societies, having many children is regarded as a sign of virility. High death rates would mainly be do to disease, famine, poor hygiene and lack of medical knowledge. A population pyramid reflective of this stage would be very short with a wide base.

Stage 2 - Early Expanding

Stage 2 is triangle with straight sides

Stage 2 reflects changes in declining death rates due to improved medical science, greater food supply, improved sanitation. Birth rates remain high as traditional social values regarding the need for large families is still in place. Religion may also play a role in maintaining large families. At this stage the difference between the birth and death rates produces (the rate of natural change) is at its greatest. A population pyramid reflecting this stage would show a broad base, but not as broad as in stage 1.

Stage 3 - Late Expanding

Stage 3 belows out, then tapers back in

In stage 3 there is a decrease in the rate of population change as birth rates fall mainly due to changing social values. Birth control is widely available, there is a lower infant mortality rate due to medical advances, Moreover, the countries are more industrialized thus the need for fewer labourers. Women choose career paths that affect the number of children they are willing to have. Also, there is an increased desire to accumulate material possessions that could not be afforded if families were larger. The corresponding population pyramid for stage 3 shows a narrow base with abroad middle section. Even though both the birth and death rates are declining, there is continued population growth in terms of actual numbers.

Stage 4 belows out, tapers back in, belows out, and again tapersa back in

Stage 4 - Low Fluctuating

This stage is typical of a country experiencing zero population growth. Both birth and death rates are close leading to little or no population growth. As the population ages in a country at stage 4, there may be a higher death rate than birth rate leading to a decline in total population numbers. A country in stage 4 will have a very narrow population pyramid.

Stage Diagram Source: Stewart Dunlop, Towards Tomorrow;
Canada in a Changing World; Geography


1. What is a model? How does the demographic transition model explain what is happening to population numbers of countries around the world?
2. At what stage in the demographic transition model is population growth the greatest?
3. At what stage is the total population greatest?
4. What would happen to the total population if mortality rates were greater than birth rates for over a period of several years?
5. Explain why mortality rates have fallen before birth rates?
6. Using the US Census Bureau's International Data Base, identify one country that is currently at each of the following stages in the demographic transition model: Early Expanding, Late Expanding and Low Fluctuating (Zero Population Growth).

Population and Resources

The relationship between population and resources is key. With a clearer understanding of the dynamics of population, it is now possible to look at the potential problems population changes have on the natural resources and the environment. Over time, many people have developed theories to help try explain why population changes and what might happen in the future.

Population Theorists

Thomas Malthus

Malthus's Theory of Population Growth

In 1798 Thomas Malthus published his views on the effect of population on food supply. His theory has two basic principals:

  1. Population grows at a geometric rate i.e. 1, 2, 4, 16, 32, etc.
  2. Food production increases at an arithmetic rate i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.

The consequence of these two principles is that eventually, population will exceed the capacity of agriculture to support the new population numbers. Population would rise until a limit to growth was reached. Further growth would be limited when: preventive checks - postponement of marriage (lowering of fertility rate), etc. and positive checks - famine, war, disease, would increase the death rate.

While Malthus's theories regarding population checks are evident in developing countries, the same is not true in developed countries. Many modern day or "neo-Malthists" are alarmed at the rate of population growth because the many of the Malthusian checks appear to be diminishing as health care and sanitation are improving. Malthusian ideas are often supported by western governments as they highlight the problem of too many mouths to feed, rather than the uneven distribution of resources.


Malthus' Theory of Population and Food Growth Over Time

William Catton

A neo-Malthist, William Catton, provides a modern theory to explain the world's current population explosion. Catton's main premise is that the earth has a limited capacity to provide resources for its population. If the population exceeds this carrying capacity then environmental damage will occur, ultimately reducing the carrying capacity itself. According to Catton, we are living beyond our means and using up future reserves of resources. Eventually, our economic systems will collapse resulting in a rapid decline or die-off of population. Catton contends that population will return to level that can be supported but due to the environmental damage already done, the population will not be as great as it was before the die-off occurred.

Esther Boserup's Theory

In contrast to the above, instead of too many mouths to feed, Boserup emphasized the positive aspects of a large population. In simple terms, Boserup suggested that the more people there are, the more hands there are to work. She argued that as population increases, more pressure is placed on the existing agricultural system, which stimulates invention. The changes in technology allow for improved crop strains and increased yields.

'J' Curve - Population Crash Model


Models are often helpful in illustrating concepts. The models below help in explaining both Malthus's and Boserup's theories.


'J' Curve - Population Crash Model



This follows the ideas of Malthus in so far as the population rapidly expands, reaching the carrying capacity of the land. As the population exceeds this, famine and disease play havoc with the population and it crashes.

Increasing population, leveling out at top

'S' Curve - Stabilization Model

This follows ideas of the demographic transition model over time. A low base population is followed by a rapidly expanding one that finally stabilizes at a new high population level.

Source: Longman Reference Guide

Ecological Footprint

Given that humans on earth need air, water, food and mineral resources to survive and given that the earth is capable of producing limited amounts of these resources, it makes sense that if the world's population increases too rapidly it leads to the overuse of resources, resulting in a degraded environment. This idea is not new. However, it has led to a novel approach in looking at the degree to which people on earth consume resources, seeking to understand mankind's ecological footprints' .

The basic idea of an ecological footprint is that as individuals, we all require a certain amount of functioning ecosystem in order to meet our needs. For example, so much farmland has to be maintained in order to produce our food requirements; so much forest to provide oxygen, lumber, etc. and so much fossil fuel to heat our homes and power our vehicles. To help put this in perspective find out the ecological footprint of a large North American city - such as Toronto! . Be sure to check out the "so what?" link.

It is estimated that in order to maintain the world's current population at the Canadian standard of living, we need the equivalent of four more planet earths! To determine an estimate of your own ecological footprint (EF) take the ecological footprint quiz .

1. Briefly outline Thomas Malthus' theory of population growth and food supply.
2. Why do Malthus' beliefs appeal to people in developed countries who feel that population growth is only a concern for those in developing nations? What logical objections might people in developing countries have to such notions?


3. Why is William Catton described as a neo-Malthist? Why does he feel that mankind faces a future catastrophe because of population growth?
4. Why does Boserup feel that large populations are essentially good?
5. Do you feel that Catton or Boserup has the best understanding of the impact of population growth on the world today? Why?
6. What does the term ecological footprint mean? How does your personal ecological footprint compare with that of a teen-aged African Bushman who still lives by hunting and gathering? How does it compare with that of a native teen-ager who lives on a Squamish Band native reserve in North Vancouver? Explain your conclusions.

Distribution of Population

Rural Thailand Most of the national population now lives in Bangkok

Numbers are not our only demographic concern. Demographers have also noted that populations are becoming increasingly concentrated. Traditionally, this concentration of population has related to the productive capacity of the land. People live where there is sufficient food to sustain them. Stewart Dunlop noted that the land areas of the earth can be divided into fifths - a fifth that is too cold for agriculture, a fifth that is too dry, another fifth is too high or too steep, another fifth has a biological make-up that renders it difficult to settle, and only one fifth of the land surface of the globe is suitable for large-scale settlement.

Mankind has further localized settlement since the industrial revolution. As late as 1920, only about 14% of the world's population lived in cities and towns. Now, more and more people crowd into urban environment. Demographers note that by the year 2005, for the first time, mankind will become an urbanized species, with more of us living in cities than in rural areas. In the developed world this is especially so, as farming is an increasingly mechanized activity that employs as little as 5% of a country's population. Other pursuits in rural areas raise the population of the countryside somewhat, but a concentration of over 80% of a nation's population in urban areas is quite normal in the industrialized developed world.

World's Largest Cities 1900 World's Largest Cities 2015 (projected)
London 6.4 million Tokyo 28.7 million
New York 4.2 million Mumbai (Bombay) 27.4 million
Paris 3.3 million Lagos 24.4 million
Berlin 2.4 million Shanghai 23.4 million
Chicago 1.7 million Jakarta 21.2 million

More and more people crowd the world's cities and urban populations are growing most rapidly in the developing nations of the world.



The rate of population growth for the developing world as a whole is 1.9%, but the urban growth rate is much greater, at 3.5%. The World Resources Institute estimates that for every 1% increase in national population brings a 1.7% growth in urban population. Cities, particularly in the developing world, are growing quickly, placing great strain on such infrastructure as water, power and roads. Open spaces are encroached upon as rising property values bring development and squatters simply take over any available room. In most major cities of the developing world skyscrapers reach for the sky and slum housing fans out into the hinterland. Rich and poor share the urban environment, though they do not sleep in the same neighbourhoods. Nowhere is the divide between rich and poor more pronounced than in the huge new cities of the developing world.

Within those urban areas densities may be unbelievably high. In highly urbanized nations, like Singapore, population density is 5,699 people per square kilometer. Canada's figure of 3 per square kilometer might make it appear that our population is extremely spread out, but the reality of life for most Canadians is that they go about their daily business in urban environments not unlike Singapore in terms of population density - the population density of the City of Vancouver is 4,457 per square kilometer. Vancouverites are certainly more likely to live in single family homes than are Singaporeans, but increasing land prices are increasing densities throughout the metropolitan region. It is not unthinkable that in the central core areas of Greater Vancouver, single-family residences will disappear in the next century.

Shoshine Business in Mexico's Zona Rosa

What brings ever more migrants to the cities? Clearly poverty in the city is infinitely preferable to the grinding poverty of rural areas. At least the city offers opportunities to improve one's lot. A living can be eked out recycling garbage on the dumps of Mexico City and enough might be earned to purchase the brushes and polish needed to set up shop as a shoeshine in the business district, the Zona Rosa. Sons and daughters may benefit from an education and enter the workforce in even better jobs. Occasionally people pull themselves out of poverty and even generate wealth; such success stories fill the heads of urban immigrants and motivate them to strive for a better future and endure the hardships of the slums, barrios, favellas or shantytowns of the developing world.

Mexico's Polluted Air

The problem of coping with the unbelievable demands of developing megacities perplexes even the most capable governments. Traffic pollution blackens the air of Bangkok and Mexico City. The Mexicans even restrict drivers to using their vehicles only on alternate days, yet those who can afford it have taken to registering two vehicles so as to continue to drive. The air in Mexico City is so bad that it affects the health of all who breathe it. One's spit is black after a two-block walk



and the mountains that serve as a backdrop are all but invisible through the filthy haze. The situation reminds one of Charles Dickens' London, where an oppressive grime covered everything, the residue of coal-fired industry and coal-heated homes.

Hashish Seller in the Streets of Peshawar, Pakistan

Crime also plagues the new megacities. Muggings and break-ins are everyday facts of life in Sao Paulo and Johannesburg, the result of terrible poverty existing alongside enormous wealth.Alcoholism and drug addiction plague the slums of the developed and developing worlds alike.However, it is easy to overstate the problem. Crime is certainly bad, yet it does not necessarily dominate the lives of the millions who live in large urban centers.

New York Tenements

Rapid growth puts incredible stress on housing stock. In Hong Kong, old men and the disabled sometimes rent "apartments" that are little more than chicken coops - wire enclosures piled one on top of another. Whole extended families live in on leaky houseboats where someone is obligated to pump water 24 hours a day to prevent their home from sinking. Large extended families share tiny high-rise apartments on Kowloon. People sleep in shifts because there is so little space available - and these are working people, not beggars. Nonetheless, this is no different to life in New York's Lower East Side in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, where as many as 18 people shared tiny, three-room, 100 square meter tenement apartments. Perhaps the grandchildren of Hong Kong or Calcutta's poor will one day be as amazed by the hardiness of their ancestors as long time residents of Manhattan today.

Cities are marvelous wonders, full of opportunities and amenities. Though Mexico City long ago outstripped its water supply, somehow its inhabitants manage. At the end of the working day in the Zona Rosa the businessmen go home to their palatial residences and drink beer and mineral water. The poor emerge From their hiding places and set up their cardboard mattresses in the entr nces of the darkened office towers as their children beg for water that they bring to their make-shift homes in old bleach bottles. It may seem terrible to us, but it is a world filled with hope for them. In Cairo, Egypt, squatters long ago appropriated the tombs of long-dead Cairenes. Now, a generation or two later, television antennas sprout from tomb roofs. The streets and shops offer a marvelously entertaining vista for all to enjoy. More importantly, city streets offer freedom from the bonds of rigid class-bound rural societies, where rural bosses and landlords no can no longer force their will upon all. The medieval European saying that "town air makes men free" is not just a quaint old saying in the developing world.


1. How much of the Earth's land surface is suitable for large numbers of people to live on?
2. When is it expected that more than 50% of the human race will live in towns and cities? How does this compare with the situation in 1920?
3. In 1900, the world's 5 most populous cities were all in the developed world. How many of the top 5 cities are expected to be in the developed world in 2015?
4. Why are people flocking to cities in the developing world? Why don't they remain in rural areas?
5. What pressures are being placed on cities in developing countries as a result of this rapid population growth?<



Further Thought

Population Pyramids:   Use the population data for the two countries below to construct population pyramids on graph paper.
Country A Country B
Cohort Male Female Male Female

0 - 4 2.6 2.4 5.8 5.6
5 - 9 2.9 2.7 5.8 5.7
10 - 14 3.7 3.5 5.7 5.5
15 - 19 4.1 3.9 5.6 5.4
20 - 24 4.3 4.2 5.4 5.2
25 - 29 3.9 3.8 4.6 4.5
30 - 34 3.4 3.4 3.9 3.9
35 - 39 3.4 3.4 3.1 3.1
40 - 44 3.2 3.2 2.4 2.7
45 - 49 3.2 3.3 2.2 2.4
50 - 54 3.0 3.2 2.0 2.0
55 - 59 2.9 3.1 1.7 1.8
60 - 64 2.7 3.0 1.4 1.5
65 - 69 2.6 3.0 1.1 1.2
70 - 74 1.9 2.4 0.7 0.8
75 + 3.6 5.8 0.9 1.3
total population
total population
Note:   All data are percentages of total population.
Source:   U.N. Demographic Yearbook.


1. Based on your understanding of the Demographic Transition Model, indicate which stage of the DTM the two population pyramids represent.
2. Identify the main social and economic characteristics of the two counties above.
3. Estimate the number of people, both male and female for your cohort.
4. Calculate the dependency ratios for both countries.
5. What can be said about the life expectancy for the two countries?



Fertility and Education: A Statistical Analysis

Demographers often look for relationships in the data they analyze. If, for example, life expectancy could be related to the level of wealth of a country, then it might be a desirable goal of governments to try to increase the economic productivity of a country so that people could enjoy a long life. One way to look for relationships among different data is to construct a scattergraph. Scattergraphs graphically show the nature of the relationship between two different variables or sets of data.

If the plotted data form a linear pattern to the right or left, then there is a strong relationship between the two variables. If the pattern slopes upward to the left, then there said to be a negative (or inverse) relationship. If the pattern slopes to the right, there is said to be a positive relationship as in the following example:

Graph showing scattergraph indicating positive relationship
Drawing a scattergraph involves drawing two axes, an x axis and a y axis - just like in math - and plotting the given data. On a piece of graph paper, construct a scattergraph using the data in the table below:  (Be sure to appropriately lable the axes.)
Country Total Fertility Rate Female Literacy Rate %
 Afghanistan 6.8 14
 Australia 1.9 99
 Bolivia 4.8 71
 Canada 1.7 99
 Ecuador 3.7 84
 Germany 1.5 99
 Guatemala 5.4 47
 India 4.0 34
 Jamaica 2.8 99
 Mexico 3.3 85
 Rwanda 8.3 37
 United Kingdom 1.8 99

Source:  U.N.





1. Based on the plotted data above, describe the type of relationship that exists between the data.
2. In your own words describe the role education (female literacy) plays on population growth.
3. Suggest reasons why women educated in developed countries would want fewer children.



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