How Do Population Structures Vary?

Population Structures

  • Change is driven by local, national and global processes which affect the demographic and cultures of local places.
  • These processes include the movement of people, capital, information and resources and make places demographically and culturally heterogeneous whilst others remain less dynamic. The differences in areas create social inequalities.
  • Population structures vary from place to place and over time. Globally, population growth has seen exponential growth since 1500.
  • Places have increases in population due to increasing birth rates, decreasing death rates and many migrants coming in.
  • The UK population has grown unevenly in the last 50 years and is overall an ageing population, meaning the proportion of over 65s is greater than the younger working population.
  • London and the south-east have seen a rapid population growth rate whilst north-east England has been growing at a much slower rate.
  • The rural-urban continuum is a classification that distinguishes metropolitan counties by their population size, and nonmetropolitan counties by their degree of urbanisation and closeness to metro areas, seen in the image on the left.
  • The right image shows how urban and rural areas differ.
  • Population structure and density therefore varies according to placement in the rural-urban continuum. If you are in a rural area, the population will be sparser than that of an urban area.
  • Accessibility, physical factors, historical development and planning determine the rural-urban divide and so have an influence over population settlements.
  • Population structures and dynamics are also a result of differences in fertility and mortality rates and international and internal migration. Places with high fertility rates, such as Niger will have larger family sizes and a growing population with young dependents.
  • Places with high mortality rates, such as Ukraine, will face natural decreases and a declining population.


Population Characteristics

  • Population characteristics can have variations in gender and ethnicity.
  • China’s population, for instance, has a gender imbalance where there are more females than males.
  • This is a result of the one child policy causing couples to abandon daughters in favour of having sons instead.
  • Cultural diversity can be explained by social clustering, accessibility to key cities, physical factors and government planning policies which can suppress or foster diversity.
  • Usually, migrants tend to cluster in one area, creating a culturally rich place such as Southall in London being called ‘Little India’ shown above.


Past and Present Connections

  • Regional and national influences shape characteristics of places and this can be viewed visually by images, either contrasting two places or tracking before/after changes in one place.
  • International and global influences can be analysed statistically and presented using graphs. Changes to an area can affect the lives of people and work to shape their identity, analysed through questionnaires/interviews.