The population
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   1. The population

   The number of people living in the world has grown throughout history and their distribution in different countries is diverse: some countries have a lot of population and others just a little.

   - Until the fifteenth century (before 1500) the growth was very slow. Many people died because of the war, the diseases and the hunger.

   - In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the growth was moderate because of the lower incidence of epidemics.

   - In the XVIII, XIX, XX and XXI, the growth has been very fast because of the advances in medicine and the improvement in nutrition.

   Population grows when births exceed deaths, that is, when the birth rate exceeds the death rate.

   2. Answer if these sentences are true or false:

The population is divided equally


Before the fifteenth century, the growth was slow


The growth is slowly because of wars


In the sixteenth and seventeenth century, there were epidemics


In the XX century, the growth has been rapid.


The medicine affects the population


In the sixteenth century, there was significant growth


    3. Population distribution

   There are countries with a high concentration of inhabitants and others with few inhabitants per square kilometer. Population density is the number of inhabitants per km2.

   The different density is due to natural factors (climate, soil wealth, etc.), economic factors (agriculture, animal husbandry, industry, etc.) and cultural and historical factors (development, wars, etc.)

   The most populated areas of the world are:

   - The eastern part of Asia, like China (1 336 million of inhabitants and a density of 140 inhabitants per km2);  India (1 186 million and 370 inhabitants per km2), Japan (127 million and 376 of density).

   - The Central and Western Europe, such as France (62 million and 112 of density), Germany (82 million and 229 of density).

   - The eastern coast of the United States and Canada

   The less populated areas are:

   - The cold deserts like Antarctica, northern Siberia (in Asia), Alaska (in North America).

   - Warm deserts like Sahara (Africa).

   - Equatorial and tropical forests.

   4. Indicate if these regions are very populated or sparsely populated:

The Sahara desert






Equatorial forest


Central Europe


The Antarctic


The eastern coast of the U.S.


The rainforest


Northern Siberia




    5. Migratory movements

    When the population is abundant and there is little work, it is forced to migrate, or to go to other countries in search of better living conditions. On the contrary, in other less populated and wealthy regions, more people are needed to work, so immigrants go to there.

   The causes of human migration are:

   - Economic Causes, as the unemployment, poverty of soil, poor industrialization and low standard of living.

   - Social and political causes, such as war, terrorism, political and religious persecution and border changes between countries.

    6. Rural and urban population

   In recent centuries, there has been a process of population concentration in big cities. Many people in the villages have migrated to the cities to work in the industry and enjoy better living conditions (health, educational, cultural, etc.)

   The biggest cities are: Tokyo, Japan with 35 million; Mexico city with 18.7 million; New York, United States with 18.3 million; Sao Paulo in Brazil with 17.9 million and Numbai in India with 17.4 million.

    7. The population by age and sex

   If there are many children and young people in a country like Venezuela, it is said that it has a young population. If there are more adults and elderly population, it is said that it has an old population.

   Developing countries have a high birth rate and the average duration of life is low. By contrast, in developed countries the birth rate is usually lower and life expectancy is higher.

   Regarding the sex, the number of men and women is similar, although in old age, there are more women than men.

   8. Answer if these sentences are true or false:

People have migrated from the village to the town


The biggest city is Mexico


New York is greater than Tokyo


There are better living conditions in cities


When there are many children, the population is young


There are more men than women


    9. Population by economic sectors

   The three economic sectors are:

   - The primary sector of the economy includes agriculture, animal husbandry and fishing.

   - The secondary sector of the economy includes the industry and mining.

   - The tertiary sector of the economy includes the commerce, the transportation, health, administration and other services.

   The United States and other developed countries have little population in the primary sector (2%) and many in the tertiary sector (66%).

   In Guatemala and other developing countries, the primary sector is the most abundant (55%) and other sectors have less population (21 and 24 %).

   Another important aspect is that in developed countries the proportion of people with jobs is higher than in developing countries.

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®Arturo Ramo García.-Record of intellectual property of Teruel (Spain) No 141, of 29-IX-1999
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