POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT – FULL COURSE CLASS NOTES

The concept of population




What is population?

The word population comes from the Latin word Populus meaning people. Population or human population refers to the total number of people found in a given area at a specified time.

What is a population size?

Population size refers to the total number of people in the country.

This may change over time due to dynamic components like birth, death, and migration. Population size is obtained through censuses.




GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF POPULATION

un even distribution

It is unevenly distributed over the surface such that some areas have low density other have medium density and some areas have high-density population other areas have no population at all.

Population is dynamic

Population is dynamic in the sense that it is migratory as people move from one place to another place either permanently or temporarily depending on the prevailing conditions.

The population has an age-sex structure

This refers to the composition or proportion of the population in terms of sex, age, and occupation.




variation of development across population

The population is characterized by variation in the level of development and technology, Such as Japan, America, and France while other countries are less developed or poor due to the use of low technology like Tanzania, Malawi, and Mozambique.

it is faced by various problems

The population usually faces problems like diseases such as HIV-AIDS, Environment calamities like famine and flood as well as earthquakes.

FACTORS AFFECTING POPULATION DISTRIBUTION

Population distribution refers to the way people are spread out on the land. Population distribution is uneven since some areas are densely settled while others are not.




sometimes population distribution can be described as being even or uneven, scattered or concentrated in a particular place.

The distribution of population on the surface of the earth is not uniform due to many factors.

These factors can be classified into four main groups, namely physical, historical, economical, and political.

Physical factors

The physical factors are divided into climate, relief, vegetation, soil, drainage, and diseases.

they are explained hereunder:

climate

Temperature and rainfall are the two main influential climatic elements. People have a tendency to adapt to moderate variations in temperature.




Extreme temperatures however play a significant role as far as the human population is concerned.

Very high temperatures like those experienced in Tanga, Zanzibar, and Dar es salaam discourage human settlement and consequently influence the population pattern. Places receiving rainfall of over 1000 mm are densely populated, e.g. Kilimanjaro and Kagera.

relief

Areas of high attitude have low population because of extremely low temperatures experienced there.

Most crops do not do well beyond an altitude of 2500 m. However, some communities choose to live in the mountain areas for security reasons.




vegetation

Dense forests are sparsely populated. It is difficult to develop a communication line in such areas.

They are also habitats for wild animals which may be a danger to human habitation, Livestock, and crops.

Areas such as the Miombo woodlands of Tanzania are infested with tsetse flies which are a threat to people and livestock.

This has discouraged settlement in such areas.




soil

Areas with fertile soil such as those areas around lake Victoria have attracted many people.

A place with infertile soils such as the leached soils of the savannah is sparsely settled because they are agriculturally unproductive.

drainage

Well-drained areas attract settlement and hence have a high population.

Swampy places and areas with seasonal swamps are normally uninhabited.

Such places do not attract settlement or farming.

People avoid settling in areas that are prone to flooding

historical factors

Historical events may also be responsible for low population densities in some areas.




In the 18th century, many parts of East, Central, and West Africa were affected by the slave trade.

Strong young men and women were captured and sold as slaves to go and work on the farms in the West Indies and America.

Some were taken as slaves to the Arab world.

Meanwhile, other people ran away from the same areas to avoid being captured and never returned.

This reduced population in these areas.

Tribal conflicts and war have led to some places becoming sparsely populated as people, seeking safety move away from them.

Economic factors

Economic development resulting from activities such as the exploitation of natural resources attracts a large population of job-seekers and service providers.




Mining centers, no matter how remote they may be in a country, usually attract a large population.

People move and settle near established transport routes such as roads.

The establishment of towns and industries attracts human settlements for similar reasons as mining.

This accounts for the large population in the major towns of East Africa.

POLITICAL FACTORS AND GOVERNMENT POLICIES

Political unrest in many parts of the world has caused migration from certain areas. Between 1971 – 1979 many Ugandans ran away from their homeland to other parts of the country or into neighboring countries to avoid political persecution during the reign of dictator Idi Amin

Many people from Southern Sudan and Somalia have sought refugee status in Kenya in recent years because of political instability in their respective countries.




Some government programs may require the removal of people from certain areas in order to settle them in new areas.

For example the construction of large dams or road constructions. This causes formerly inhabited areas to become sparsely populated while new settlements realize an increase in population.

National parks and forest reserves are areas that are controlled by the government. Human occupation of such areas is therefore prohibited. These areas are sparsely populated with the only people living there being workers and, in some isolated cases, illegal squatters.




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