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For the use of the word population in statistics, see statistical population.

Image:Pop density.jpg Image:Takeshita street view.jpg Image:Worldpopulationgrowth-billions.jpg In sociologyand biology, a population is the collection of people, or organismsof a particular species, living in a given geographicarea, or space.

In biology, plant and animal populations are studied, in particular, in a branch of ecologyknown as population biology, and in population genetics. In population dynamics, size, age and sex structure, mortality, reproductivebehaviour, and growth of a population are studied. In biology, an isolated population denotes a breeding group whose members breed mostly or solely among themselves, usually as a result of physical isolation, although biologically they could breed with any members of the species. Metapopulationis a group of sub-populations in a given area, where the individuals of the various sub-populations are able to cross uninhabitable areas of the region. Biological dispersal is one of the key elements affecting in such populations.

Demography is the study of humanpopulations. Various aspects of human behavior in populations are studied in sociology, economics, and geography. Study of populations is almost always governed by the laws of probability, and the conclusions of the studies may thus not always be applicable to some individuals. This odd factor may be reduced by statistical means, but such a generalization may be too vague to imply anything. Demography is used extensively in marketing, which relates to economic units, such as retailers, to potential customers. For example, Starbucks, a coffeeshop company that wants to sell to a younger audience, looks at the demographics of an area to be able to appeal to this younger audience.


  • 1 Population density
    • 1.1 Population pyramid
  • 2 Underpopulation
  • 3 Overpopulation
  • 4 Population control
  • 5 Population decline
  • 6 Population ageing
  • 7 Population transfer
  • 8 Population bomb
  • 9 World population
  • 10 Countries by population
  • 11 See also
  • 12 External links

Population density


Population densityis measured by dividing the number of individuals by the area of the region in which they live.

Some observers of human societiesbelieve that the concept of carrying capacity also applies to the human populationof the Earth, and that unchecked population growth can result in a "Malthusian catastrophe." Others dispute this view. The graph to the right depicts logistic growthof population.

Populate, as a verb, means the process of populating a geographicarea, as by procreationor immigration.

The countries with the highest population densityare microstates: Monaco, Singapore, the Vatican City, and Malta. Among larger-sized countries, Japanand Bangladeshhave two of the highest population densities.

Population pyramid

Image:Population pyramid 1 (triangle).PNG The age and gender distribution of a population within a given nation or region is commonly represented by means of a population pyramid. This is a triangular distribution with the portion of the population along the horizontal X-axisand the 5-year age grouping along the vertical Y-axis. Male population is shown to the left of the vertical axis and female to the right.

This type of chart displays the development of a population over a period of time. Nations with low infant mortality and high longevity will display a more rectangular shape as a majority of the population living to old age. The converse will have a more pyramidal shape with a wide base, reflecting higher infant mortalityand greater risk of early death.


Main article: Underpopulation

In biology, a rarely occurring situation in which a group of individuals of a species appear in a new, inhabitable area suitable for more individuals, and begin to populate it. This may also happen if individuals of a species have been transferred to new areas on purpose or by accident. Ecological nichesare usually populated, but evolutionof a species may enable it to overcome the difficulties encountered in an initially hostile environment.


Main article: Overpopulation

Image:Africa crowd.jpg The world's human population is currently growing by more than 75 million people per year. About half the world lives in nations with sub-replacement fertility, and population growth in those countries is due to immigration. Overpopulation can result from increases in births and survival rates, or from an unsustainable use and depletion of resources. Advances in technology can reduce the threat of overpopulation by making new resources available, or by increasing the productivity of existing resources.

In biology, a classic example of an overpopulation are the lemmingsin Lapland, which procreate over the years to such densities, that a great part of the population is forced to wander to inhospitable areas. Nowadays, this happens usually in less dramatic ways than in the past, one reason probably being that the food supply of lemmings is shared with an increased number of reindeerin Lapland.

Population control

Main article: Population control

Population control is the practice of curtailing population increase, usually by reducing the birth rate. Surviving records from Ancient Greecedocument the first known examples of population control. These include the colonization movement, which saw Greek outposts being built across the Mediterraneanand Black Seabasins to accommodate the excess population of individual states. An important example of mandated population control is China's one-child policy, in which having more than one child is made extremely unattractive. This has led to allegations that practices like infanticide, forced abortions, and forced sterilization are used as a result of the policy.

In ecology, population control is on occasions considered to be done solely by predators, diseases, parasites, and environmental factors. At many times human effects on animal and plant populations are also considered. See also [1]. Migrationsof animals may be seen as a natural way of population control, for the food on land is more abundant on some seasons. The area of the migrations' start is left to reproduce the food supply for large mass of animals next time around. See also immigration.

Population decline

Main article: Population decline

Population decline is a fall in a region's population. It can be caused by sub-replacement fertility or heavy emigration, or more dramatically disease, famine, or war. Or most often by a combination of the factors. In the past population decline was mostly observed due to disease. In recent years, the population of Russiaand seventeen other ex-Communist countries has begun to decline (1995-2005). The Black Deathin Europe, the arrival of Old Worlddiseases to the Americas, or the Irish Potato Famine (1845-1849), all caused massive population declines.

In biology, population decline of a species is usually described as a result of gradually worsening environmental factors, such as prolonged drought or loss of inhabitable areas for the studied species. These, or other factors, may lead to a small population, in which case geneticalfactors may become dominant in the survival, or extinctionof a population.

Population ageing

Main article: Population ageing

Population ageing occurs when the fertility rate declines. This means that, for a period of time, the ratio of old to young will be higher than average. It also occurs due to increasing life expectancy. Japanand Western Europeare the two regions which are most confronted by severe population ageing in the near future. The second largest expenditure of most governments is education and these expenses will fall with an ageing population. However older people tend to be the section of the population most concerned about crime and most insistent on more (and more expensive) law and order.

Population transfer

Main article: Population transfer

biological aspects, see introduced species

Population transferis a term referring to a policy by which a state forces the movement of a large group of people out of a region, most frequently on the basis of their ethnicity or religion. This has occurred in Indiaand Pakistan, between Turkeyand Greece, and in Eastern Europeafter the Second World War. Other movements in population are caused by immigration, such as the immigration from Europe to European colonies in the Americas, Africa, Australiaand other places.

Population bomb

Main article: The Population Bomb

A best-selling work, The Population Bomb (1968) by Paul R. Ehrlichpredicted disaster for humanity due to overpopulation and the "population explosion". The work used a similar argument to Thomas Malthus's An Essay on the Principle of Population(1798), that population is subject to exponential growthand will outstrip foodsupply resulting in famine. However, a key difference was Ehrlich's introduction of the Impact formula:

I = PAT (where I=Impact, PAT = Population x Affluence x Technology)

Hence, Ehrlich argues, affluent technological nations have a greater per capita impact than poorer nations.

A "population bomb," as defined in the book, requires three things: a rapid rate of change; a limit of some sort; and delays in perceiving the limit. The book's specific predictionthat "in the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death" did not come to pass, however, due for the most part to the efforts of Norman Borlaug's "Green Revolution" of the 1960s.

It was later shown by Keith Greiner(1994) that Ehrlich's projections could not possibly have held the scrutiny of time, because Ehrlich applied the financial compound interestformula to population growth. Using two sets of assumptions based on Ehrlich's hypothesis, it was shown that the theorized wild growth in population and subsequent scarcity of resources could not have occurred on Ehrlich's time schedule.

In 1972 the Club of Romemore or less repeated the argument in Limits to Growth.

World population

Main article: World population

According to estimates published by the United States Census Bureau, the world population at the beginning of December 2005 was about 6,483,600,000. The United Nations Population Funddesignated October 12, 1999 as the approximate day on which world population reached six billion. This was about 12 years after world population reached five billion, in 1987.

Countries by population

Main article: List of countries by population

About 4 billion of the world's nearly 6.5 billion people live in Asia. Seven of the world's ten largest countries by population are in Asia (although Russia is also located in Europe). However, a large population is not the same thing as economic size, and the United States, which has a much smaller population than India or China, has a much larger economy.

Rank Country Population[1] Density
(people/ km2)
? World 6,446,000,000 43
1 name={{{name|}}}}} 1,306,313,812 136
2 name={{{name|}}}}} 1,103,600,000 328
3 name={{{name|}}}}} 297,800,000 30
4 name={{{name|}}}}} 241,973,879 126
5 name={{{name|}}}}} 186,112,794 21
6 name={{{name|}}}}} 162,419,946 202
7 name={{{name|}}}}} 144,319,628 1,002
8 name={{{name|}}}}} 143,420,309 8
9 name={{{name|}}}}} 128,771,988 139
10 name={{{name|}}}}} 127,417,244 337

See also

  • Stellar population
  • 1907 populations
  • Population coding
  • Optimum population
  • Small population size
  • Idealised population
  • Population genetics
  • Founder population
  • List of religious populations
  • Population momentum
  • Population bottleneck
  • Population pyramid
  • Population health
  • List of selected cities by population density
  • Biological dispersal

External links

  • Phishare.org (2005). Population and Health InfoShare. Retrieved February 13, 2005.
  • Population Reference Bureau (2005). Retrieved February 13, 2005.
  • Populationworld.com (2005). Population World: Population of World. Retrieved February 13, 2004.
  • United Nations(2004). Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Retrieved February 13, 2004.
  • United States Census Bureau(2005). Census Bureau - Countries Ranked by Population. Retrieved February 13, 2005.
  • PopulationData.net (2005). PopulationData.net - Informations and maps about populations around the world. Retrieved March 4, 2005.
  • World Population Clock (French) WorldPopClock.com - World population clock.
  • World Population Clock (English) - US Censusaf:Bevolking

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population Wikipedia article Population.

  All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License