Human Geography

Human Geography
Population Geography
Cultural Geography
Languages and Religions
Studying Population
• Want to understand the relationship between
populations and their environments
• Demography: statistical study of human
– Help us to forecast future population trends
– Use statistics to understand population changes
and potential impact on the world.
– Used in city planning
Population Study Tools
• Population Density: average number of people
living in an area. Usually expressed as persons
per square mile
– Reflect size of country, size of population, and
environmental conditions
– Vary for each country (Canada 8 per sq mile,
Bangladesh 2,324 per sq mile)
• Population Distribution: Where do people live
and why?
– 90% of world’s population live in N. Hemisphere (60%
of those live in middle latitudes)
– People tend to live in areas favorable for settlement.
– Four great population clusters: East Asia, South Asia,
Europe, North America
Population Study Tools
• Population Change: The number of people in any
place is a result of three major factors:
– Birthrate: # births per year for every 1,000 people
– Death rate: # of deaths each year for every 1,000
– Migration: people moving from one place to another
• Emigrants vs. Immigrants
– Can have major implications on a country
• Push and Pull factors – used in study of migration
• Refugees: people forced to leave and cannot return to their
Population Study Tools
• Natural Increase: based on just births and
deaths , migration is not taken into account.
– Subtract birth from death rate (expressed as a %)
– USA is 0.6% natural growth rate
– Highest rates are found in Africa and Southwest
Asia, averaging about 3%
– Italy and Russia have negative rates
– 3% increase can lead to doubling of population in
23 years – “doubling time”
World Population Trends
• Current world population is 6.8 billion
– USA 300 million
• Increasing by nearly 80 million a year
• 220,000 people a day
• Historically:
Population year 1 AD – 300 million.
By 1600 doubled to 600 million
By 1850 doubled to 1.2 billion
By 1930 doubled to 2.4 billion
By 1975 doubled to 4.6 billion
By 2000 to 6 billion
Estimated to reach 9 billion by 2042!!!!!
• Growing at a rate of 1.2%
Cultural Geography
• Culture: All of the
features of a people’s
way of life. It is learned
and passed down
through teaching,
example, and imitation.
– Includes a group’s
language, economics,
religion, architecture,
clothing, family life,
food, and government
Culture Traits
• These are activities and behaviors that people
often take part in.
– Some such as learning to read and do math are
almost universal
– Others vary: USA we eat with a fork and knife,
Chinese eat with chopsticks, Ethiopians use their
fingers or bread to scoop food
• Each trait is considered correct where it is practiced.
Culture Regions
• An area in which people have many shared
culture traits is called a culture region.
– Some countries have one culture regions (Japan)
while others have many culture regions (Africa,
USA) or ethnic groups
• An ethnic group is a population that shares a common
culture or ancestry
• Country borders can disrupt or separate ethnic groups.
– Kurds of Western Asia (Iran, Iraq, Turkey)
Culture Change
• Cultures are changing all the time (fashion, music,
food, communication, etc)
• When an individual or group adopts some of the traits
of another culture the process is called acculturation
– Immigrants to the USA provide perfect examples
• New language, customs, practices - assimilation
• Innovation – new ideas that a culture accepts
– Can last or fade (baseball starts in USA & spreads)
• Diffusion – when an idea or innovation spreads from
one group to another.
– Jazz starts in New Orleans, spreads around the world
– Shared languages can help diffusion
– Types of diffusion: expansion, relocation, hierarchical
Culture Change – 80’s
Culture Change – 90’s
Culture Change – 2000’s
Culture Change
• Globalization: The process, in which connections
around the world increase and cultures become
more alike
– Cultures blending together: cultural convergence
– USA ideas, music, fashion spread through the world.
Imports to the USA also change us. Spread of products
and food are examples (STARBUCKS)
• Traditionalism: following longtime practices and
opposing many modern technologies and ideas.
– Opposite of globalization
– Tied to fundamentalism
– Cultural divergence: process of cultures becoming
separate and distinct
• Language is important to culture because it is the main
means of communication
• As many as 6500 languages spoken around the world
– Broken into language families that are ten broken into
branches (page 101 of text)
• English is a language in the Germanic branch of the Indo-European
• About 50% of the world speaks an Indo-European language
• Most spoken language is Mandarin Chinese
• Dialect: is a regional variety of language
– British English and American English are dialects of same
• Lingua Franca: a language of trade and communication
– English is the main language of globalization
– Millions speak as a second language
• It is a key culture trait that binds many societies
together and gives meaning to people’s lives
– Geographers are interested in the cultural traits,
landscapes, and conflicts produced by religion
• Geographers identify 3 types of religions
– Ethnic Religion: one ethnic group and has not spread. Do
not seek to convert others. Hinduism, Confucianism,
Judaism, and Taoism are all examples.
– Animist Religion: believe in the presence of spirits and
forces of nature. Closely tied to polytheism.
– Universalizing Religion: seek followers. Hope to appeal to
the masses. More than 50% of world follow this type of
religion. Tied to monotheism. Christianity and Islam are

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