Detail about population distribution


The human race is the most advanced of all animal groups in the world. A large part of geography deals with human groups, population, etc. which is known as population geography. Population is the aggregation of all the organisms belonging to the same species in a particular area at a given time. When this population spreads all over the world, it is known as population distribution.

Population geography is the spatial study of the human population. Discussing the spatial distribution pattern of the population is one of the topics of population geography. The whole world is home to people, but not all places in the world have a favorable environment for human settlement.

The distribution of population is not the same all over the world. Somewhere the distribution of population is more and somewhere the distribution of population is less. So the geographical distribution of mankind is unequal (1) & (3).

Population distribution

Population distribution is a term that describes how people expand in a particular area. There is so much imbalance in world population distribution that it is not possible to review it in a short range. These distributions can range from scattered to unequal distribution due to the environmental location of a particular region and the real impact of humans (2).

What are the three common patterns of population distribution?

Patterns of distribution of population describe spatial relationships between members of the population present in a given habitat. There are three common patterns of distribution of population.

1. Uniform

In this case, populations spread in a regular pattern. Uniform population distribution occurs only when there is competition among individuals for a limited resource, such as water, light, etc.

2. Random

Random population distribution is a type of pattern where the population is distributed scattered.

3. Clumped

In this type of population distribution, the population is spared in clusters. It is the most common distribution pattern. In this case, the distance between people is minimized (2) & (4).

Characteristics of population distribution

1. It is unequal.

2. There are three main regulators of the global distribution of population, namely birth rate, mortality rate, and migration.

3. Distribution of the population in a region shows where people live.

4. Birth rate and mortality rates have a profound effect on the distribution of the population of a country.

5. It is an ongoing process.

6. Differences are observed in the distribution of the population over time and space.

7. It describes the way people are spaced over the earth’s surface.

8. Of the world’s total population distribution, about three-quarters of the population lives in Africa and Asia (1) & (2).

The factor of population distribution

Humans thrive in those parts of the world where the environment is favorable. On the other hand, in areas where the environment is unfavorable, life is difficult hence fewer people live there. So the distribution of population in the whole world is unequal. There are several factors of this distribution of population. These are as follows

Physical factors

1. Climate

Climate directly or indirectly affects the distribution of population such as

  • Areas with pleasant and healthy climates are naturally more densely populated.
  • Rare settlement can be observed in extreme desert climates or in the cold polar region.
  • High temperatures and rainfall are especially conducive to agriculture in the monsoon climatic regions of Southeast Asia. As a result, very dense settlements have developed in these areas.
  • Although the climate in the Nile basin in Egypt is rough, it is densely populated to improve agriculture.
  • The Himalayan foothills of India are less densely populated due to extreme cold (2) & (5).

2. Soil

The improvement of agriculture in a region depends on the fertility of the soil. And agriculture affects the population distribution of the world. Most of the world’s population lives in the river basins of south and Southeast Asia. Because the fertile alluvial soil of the region is conducive to paddy production.

On the other hand, the soils of the Thar deserts in India, the deserts of the Middle East, and the Sahara desert of Africa are sandy and barren. That is why the population density in these areas is low. Areas with low soil productivity are also currently densely populated. The main reasons for this are the abundance of mineral resources or the expansion of industry and trade (1) & (5).

3. Physiography or topography

The distribution of the population of a region is determined by its geographical features. Population density is generally lower in hilly or plateau areas. On the other hand dense population is observed in river basins, coastal regions, and valleys or in some plains.

In the plain areas, it is easy to make the land suitable for agriculture. The depth of the soil is higher in the plain regions.

People can easily carry out economic activities suitable for living on the plains. On the other hand, roads and railways cannot be easily built in the hilly or plateau areas. It is not easy to build a river transport system in these areas as the rivers are fast flowing. Due to all these, dense settlements did not develop in the hilly areas. Therefore, the role of geological factors is very important in the distribution of the population (1).

4. River

The river is an important factor for the distribution of population. The spread of settlements can be seen centered on rivers and lakes. People collect drinking water from rivers and lakes.

Rivers and lakes also play an important role in the industrialization and transportation system of a region. In ancient times, therefore human civilizations were formed around rivers or lakes such as dense populations have developed on both river basins of the Nile (2).

5. Natural vegetation

People collect resources from natural vegetation. But the dense equatorial forest areas of the world have not developed dense populations due to unfavorable climate. On the other hand, various industries such as the wood industry, paper industry, etc. are developed in the northern hemisphere. So this region is densely populated (2).

6. Power and mineral resources

Adverse climates and topography can also lead to dense populations if those areas are rich in mineral resources. For example, the Chota Nagpur plateau region in India is rich in various types of minerals like coal, copper, iron, ore, manganese, Avro, etc.

People are involved in extracting mineral resources from mines. As a result, this region is a densely populated region. So power and minerals also play an important role in the distribution of the population (4).

Non-physical factors

1. Economic condition

Economic conditions control the distribution of the population of a country or region. It depends on agriculture, industry, trade, etc. Therefore, in areas that are economically very prosperous, the population density is very high. Population density is less in economically backward areas. For example, North-Western Europe and the Northeast of the United States are densely populated due to improved agriculture, industry, trade, and good port and communication systems (5).

2. Social status

Social factors like religion, family size, and structure, education level, population density, etc. play an important role in the population distribution of a region. The distribution of population is also regulated by the social infrastructure of a country (1).

  • Religious factor

Religious factors cause huge gatherings in different parts of the world such as Haridwar, Kashi in India, Bethlehem in Europe, etc. densely populated religious places (1).

  • Cultural factor

Cultural factors’ impacts and is also important. Human education, knowledge, science, intellect, knowledge in technology, etc. are cultural factors. Due to all these cultural factors people today are making the desert land suitable for agricultural work. As a result, mountains, plateaus, plains, and coastal areas have been densely populated almost everywhere (1) & (4).

  • Political factor

The political factors of a region control the population density. In areas where there is political instability, low population densities are created due to a lack of human security. In addition, political and administrative cities have a higher population density for various facilities.  Due to this more people live in cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Washington, etc. So political factors are also an important factor for the population distribution of a region (2).


1. What is population distribution?

The process in which people are spread across a particular area.

2. What does population distribution mean?

It means the way in which people expand across the earth’s surface. The world’s population distribution is always uneven. Some areas are densely populated and in some places, it is less populated.

3. What is population distribution?

It is a process that describes how people expand in a particular area on the earth’s surface.

Written By: Manisha Bharati

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