IB Population

Study and revision resources

Population Distribution

Population distribution refers to how people are spread out over the planet/country. Population density refers to how many people there are per km2 in an area.

  1. Describe the distribution of world population.
  2. Suggest reasons for the pattern shown:
    • human factors
    • physical factors
  3. Identify 3 areas that are densely populated and 3 that are sparsely populated.
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Img 1.1: World population distribution, source

High, middle and low income countries

"For the current 2017 fiscal year, low-income economies are defined as those with a GNI per capita, calculated using the World Bank Atlas method, of $1,025 or less in 2015; lower-middle-income economies are those with a GNI per capita between $1,026 and $4,035; upper-middle-income economies are those with a GNI per capita between $4,036 and $12,475; high-income economies are those with a GNI per capita of $12,476 or more." World Bank

  1. Define high, middle and low income countries.
  2. Describe the pattern shown on fig 1.2
World income categories map
Fig 1.2: World income map, source

Case Study Spain

Spain population density map
Fig 1.3: Spain opulation density map,source
  1. Describe the population distribution shown in fig 1.3. Be detailed in your description (refer to specific regions and cities also include the population densities.
  2. Explain the pattern shown - refer to climate, economic factors, trade opportunities etc.
  3. Identify the core and periphery regions of Spain, support your answer with reasons.

Case Study China

Video 1.1 China population movements
  1. Watch fig 1.4 and Make notes about:
    • the number of people migrating
    • The points of origin and destination of the migrants
    • The reasons why they are leaving the rural areas
    • Why they are attracted to the urban areas.
  2. Describe the pattern shown on fig 1.2
  3. Study the before and after pictures in this article: Chinas Pearl Delta
  4. Read pages 391 and 392, complete Activity 1.

Natural Population Change

Demographic Transition Model
Fig 1.5 Demographic transition model
  1. Use pages 396 to 398 to define the terms:
    • Crude birth rate:
    • Crude death rate:
    • Natural increase:
    • Doubling time:
  2. Population momentum:
  3. Population projection:
  4. Take a copy of the DTM model and insert into your notes.

Population growth and momentum

Fig 1.5 Population momentum
  1. Watch fig 1.6:
  2. Summarise the main points that are made about population growth and momentum.
  3. Describe the geographical location of the countries that will continue to have the largest growth.
  4. Watch video 1.3 (below) and explain why saving the poorest children is key to reducing population growth.
Video 1.2 Stable populations
Video 1.3 Saving poor children

Population pyramids

Developing country population pyramid
Fig 1.6 Developing country population pyramid
Developed country population pyramid
Fig 1.7 Developed country population pyramid


Population Pyramids are a way of displaying the demographic make up of a country in a simple graph.
They show the number of males and females in each age group.


Population pyramids are important because they allow governments to predict future population patterns and plan for the changes.
They also give a good indication of the level of development in a country.

Anti-natalist policy: China

Fig 1.7 Antinatalist Policy China
  1. Read this Telegraph article, describe the population policy of China and why it was put in place.
  2. Read this Guardian article and this Huffington Post article:
    • Was the one child policy successful?
    • What is the 2 child policy and why has it been introduced?
    • Do you think China will need to adopt pro-natalist policies in the future? Explain your answer.
  3. Read this Guardian article, make bullet points about the 4 impacts of the 1 child policy that it mentions.

Anti-natalist policy: Thailand

Fig 1.7 Antinatalist Policy Thailand
  1. Watch the video 1.7.
  2. Describe the methods used/approaches taken to reduce the birth rate.
  3. How successful has this anti-natalist policy been?
  4. Identify ways in which this approach differs from Chinas population policy?
  5. Which approach do you think is most effective? Why?
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