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Lecture 2

GEOG 102 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: The Ultimate Resource, Immigration, Ecological Footprint

Course Code
GEOG 102
Faran Ali

of 3
Geo 102- week 2
Population characteristics
• Population characteristics – Population density – Birth and death rates – Growth rates – Age
structure • Spatial and temporal variations of population characteristics is central to many
environmental problems and their solutions
Population density
• Population density – number of individuals of a species – per unit of area or volume – at a
given time – units: persons per square km (persons/km2)
• Variations in population density – in different environments – at different times
• season to season
• year to year
Population change global scale
• Population change – Change over time
• On a global scale – Two factors – Birth rate (b) – number of births per 1000 people per year –
Death rate (d) – number of deaths per 1000 people per year
Population change global scale • Growth rate (g) – birth rate (b) minus death rate (d) – g = b – d
– If g > 0, population increases – If g < 0, population decreases
Population change local scale
• Dispersal – Movement from one region or country to another
• immigration (i) – individuals enter a population and increase its size
• emigration (e) – individuals leave a population and decrease its size
• Growth rate (g) – g = (b – d) + (i – e)
Population growth and carrying capacity
• Carrying capacity is the capacity of an ecosystem to support healthy organisms while
maintaining its productivity and capability for renewal
• Carrying capacity is dynamic in nature, and fluctuates in response to environmental changes in
the ecosystem
We have already exceeded most carrying capacities!
Population growth and resource consumption • Ecological footprint – The area of land that
would be necessary to produce the resources used, and assimilate the wastes produced by a given
Challenges of varying age distribution The size and age distributions of a country’s
population can pose significant challenges
• What kinds of challenges do countries with large populations of elderly people face? (Example:
Europe 1 in 4 over 60 by 2015) – Expensive health care and support services to populations that
are increasingly elderly – Labor forces are shrinking (those people of working age) while having
to support increasing numbers of retired people • What kinds of challenges do you think
countries with large populations of young people face? – Feeding, clothing, and educating a
growing population of young people entering their productive years – National economies must
be able to provide jobs for them, so economic growth is urgently needed
Human Migration
Migration of people in search of better opportunities is on the increase, as are the number of
lands that do not want them – Well over 300,000 immigrants annually enter the US illegally –
1983: thousands of unwanted immigrants massacred globally – Wars due to migration in Africa
due to insurgents migrating across borders
• Definition: movement of people from one place in the world to another for the purpose of
taking up permanent or semipermanent residence, usually across a political boundary
• Population increase and decrease in a given region is often primarily due to migration –
Annual measures of population change due to migration look at the difference between: –
emigration (the number of people who leave a region) – immigration (the number of people who
come into a region)
Migration Terminology 1.
Forced versus voluntary migration 2. Internal versus international migration – Internal migration:
migration within the borders of a country – International migration: migration which cross
national borders 3. Push versus Pull factors – Push Factors: Forces, conditions, or events in a
person’s current location which drive them to leave/move, and therefore become migrants – Pull
Factors: Forces of attraction, they are the particular features or conditions of a particular location
that draw migrants
Conflicting views of the effects of Population Growth on Economic Growth
• Population growth restricts economic growth – The “pessimistic” theory • Population growth
promotes economic growth – The “optimistic” theory • Population growth is independent of
economic growth – The “neutralist” theory
Julian Simon – The Ultimate Resource (1981) • Results – Available resources are actually
expanding – Natural resources are infinite – The more people there are, the better, because more
people mean bigger markets, more specialization and more brains to solve problems – Corollary:
immigrants benefit the host country