Population Density and Distribution

Geographical factors:

  • Water: Availability of water is a huge factor. Access to sufficient or adequate reserves of water attracts people to that region or area.
  • Relief: Rugged terrain is unfavourable for the construction of settlements. Dense populations are usually found on plains or areas that are accessible. Mountainous or forested areas are remote and aren’t suitable for the construction of roads and railways. Setting – up electrical grids and cellular network or radio towers in such areas are difficult too.
  • Agriculture: Areas with fertile soil support large populations. Availability of good fertile land for agriculture is essential for large populations or settlements to thrive as it provides sustenance (food).
  • Climate: Areas with moderate climate are suitable for dense populations and huge settlements as individuals don’t like living in areas where the climatic conditions are extreme. Deserts and cold regions like the Sahara and the Antarctic can’t support large populations because crops can’t be cultivated in such areas. The living conditions in these zones are unfavourable too.

Economic factors:

  • Urbanisation: Urbanised regions with efficient and adequate public and educational facilities attract people from all over the globe. These facilities act as pull factors that entice individuals to shift permanently and reside in that area. Abundant employment opportunities ensure migrants and natives are engaged in gainful work. An increase in the participation rate (proportion of workers in a particular population) results in the growth and development of the settlement itself. Urban areas have good healthcare services too. Availability of utilities like electricity is an added bonus for individuals living in these cities.
  • Natural resources: Areas with abundant natural resources like minerals etc. are more likely to be developed or used by industries for monetary or economic gain. For example the density of population in the Chota Nagpur plateau and the Deccan plateau is high due to the availability of minerals such as iron – ore, bauxite, mica and coal.

Social/Cultural factors:

  • Areas with appropriate or stable political environments provide individuals with a sense of security. The population in such regions grows rapidly. Administrations provide their people with stability. Countries at war have sparse populations due to instability and civil strife that causes a lot of frustration.
  • The migration of people from one place to another due to pull factors (scope for employment in industries and other services, availability of modern facilities such as schools and hospitals, abundance of resources) and push factors (unemployment and scarcity or absence of resources and public facilities) influence the density and distribution of population.
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