Distribution of Population- Geography Guide for Class 8

Distribution of Population- Geography Guide for Class 8

Information about Distribution of Population


Major Industries and Location


Class 8


Class 8 Geography

Topics Covered

  • Distribution of Population
  • India: Land Man Ratio
  • Factors affecting Distribution of Population

Human beings are considered an important and integral part of the ecosystem. They are endowed with intelligence, thinking and creative skills and are the biggest and the most valuable resource.

It is, therefore, imperative that the government provides basic education, better healthcare and employment opportunities to every individual so that they can contribute fully to the development of the society and their country. Education and empowerment of women will have a remarkable impact on the progress of the nation. It has rightly been said that 'educating one woman means educating the whole family'. Human beings have a lot of potential but in many countries this resource is not fully tapped. 

Distribution of Population

Distribution of population means how human beings are spread over the earth's surface.

The distribution of population in the world is highly uneven. It is concentrated in those areas which are rich in natural resources like fertile river valley basins and in industrially developed regions. The population is sparse in areas where climatic conditions are not favourable for habitation, for example, polar regions, hot deserts and thickly forested areas.

At present, the world's population has crossed a seven billion mark. China is the most populous country. India and China account for 37% of the world's population. By and large, 60% of the world's population is living in Asia, 16% in Africa, 13.5% in America, 10% in Europe and 0.5% in Oceania.

A common way of studying distribution of population is by finding out the density of population in a country or a region. The density of population is measured as number of persons living in per square kilometre of an area. If only the Earth's land area of 150,000,000 sq. km is taken into account, human population density is 47 persons per sq. km. This includes all land area of continents and islands, including Antarctica. If Antarctica is excluded, then average population density increases to more than 50 persons per square kilometre.

There are some areas in the world where density is less than 1 person per sq. km like the Antarctic and the Arctic regions. In other areas like Singapore, the population density is 7263 persons per sq. km and in Bangladesh, it is 1019.8 persons per sq. km as in the year 2011.

India: Land Man Ratio

India is the seventh largest country in the world in terms of geographical size, but it ranks the second largest in terms of population. It has crossed a population of one billion mark in the year, 2001. The total population of India is now bigger than the combined population of USA, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • The variation in distribution of population within India is highly remarkable.
  • Nearly half of the population lives in five states, i.e. Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh.
  • Of these, Uttar Pradesh continues to be the most populous state with a population of almost 200 million. 
On the basis of density of population, India can be grouped into the following three broad regions:
  1.  States with a low density of population: In certain states, the density of population is up to 250 persons per sq. km. This is due to the physical constraints, unfavourable climate as well as slow economic development, poor infrastructure and several other factors. This includes North-Eastern and North-Western parts of India and Western Rajasthan. Arunachal Pradesh (17), Mizoram (52) and Sikkim (86) are some states included in this category.
  2. States with a moderate density of population: The density of population in these states varies from 251-500 persons per sq. km. These regions have largely undulating topography, relatively less fertile soil and paucity of water for irrigation. Odisha (269), Gujarat (308), Karnataka (319) and Tripura (350) are some states included in this category.
  3. States with a high density of population: Density of population in these states is above 501 persons per sq. km. Favourable climatic conditions, rich fertile soil, well-developed agriculture and a high level of industrialisation has led to rapid urbanisation and therefore, brought high density of population in these states. Bihar (1102), West Bengal (1029), Kerala (859), Uttar Pradesh (828) are some of the states that fall in this category.

Factors affecting Distribution of Population

People want to settle in areas where food, water and land are easily available. Although, one single factor may not determine population distribution but collectively they play a deciding role in it. All these factors can be grouped into physical factors and economic factors

1. Physical Factors

Physical factors include relief, climate, soil, water and vegetation.
  • Relief: High mountains, rugged terrain and rocky plateau restrict human settlements. Here, the transportation is very difficult and the living conditions are not very favourable. The mountain ranges of Andes, Himalayas, Plateau and Rockies of Tibet are sparsely populated. On the other hand, plain areas of the world are most favourable places for human habitation where transportation facilities are good and rivers are navigable. In the fertile lowlands of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra in India, Hwang-ho in China, Nile in Egypt, Mississippi in USA, Tigris in Iraq and several other places, a large concentration of population is found. Plains are also good for agricultural and industrial activity in the world and important cities of the world have been built on plains.
  • Climate: Climate is one of the most important factors affecting the distribution of population. People prefer to live in regions where temperature and rainfall are moderate. Excessive heat, cold, dryness or wetness cause discomfort. Hot and humid areas of equatorial region, cold desert of Siberia, hot desert of Sahara are the areas which are sparsely populated. On the other hand, favourable climatic conditions in the monsoon regions of India and Bangladesh attract large concentration of population.
  • Soil and water: Land, where the soil is fertile and there is adequate water supply, has high concentration of population. Water resources are very limited in deserts, so the population is sparse.
  • Vegetation: Equatorial forests are dense and inaccessible as compared to monsoon and coniferous forests, which are accessible.

2. Economic Factors

Economic factors include availability of minerals, location of industries, developed means of transport and communication and government policies.
  • Minerals: Mineral deposits play a dominant role in population distribution. The presence of coal and iron ore in different parts of the world has attracted huge population in these areas because these are key minerals required for iron and steel industry. Hot and dry areas of Australian deserts, Saudi Arabia and South Africa have attracted large groups of migrants because of the availability of petroleum. Similarly, the hilly areas of Jharkhand have rich mineral resources attracting large industrial settlements.
  • Industries: Development of industries in any region has a very favourable impact on employment opportunities. An industrial labourer earns a higher wage than an agricultural labourer. Industrial hubs attract people from far off places. The eastern part of the USA, peninsular plateau in India and Western Europe are some of the common examples which have a larger concentration of population mainly because they are highly industrialised.
  • Developed means of transport: People have settled down in distant places due to the development of efficient system of transport network. The economic resources of a region coupled with good network of transport increases the mobility of people and attracts large human settlements. 
  • Discriminatory Government Policies: Political unrest in a region or discriminatory policies of a government against a group of people have made millions of refugees. In recent years, the Persian Gulf War, ethnic conflicts in Ethiopia and Sri Lanka, the break up of Soviet Union into 15 independent nations are some of the examples which show how political unrest can lead to migration and redistribution of population.
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