The way in which people are spread across a given area is known as population distribution. Geographers study population distribution at different scales : local, regional, national, and global. In order-wards, population distribution means the pattern o f where people live. Population denotes the spacial pattern due to dispersal of population, formation of agglomeration, linear spread etc...
FACTORS INFLUENCING POPULATION DISTRIBUTION
The world's population is unevenly distributed. We can not purely accept the deterministic view point that natural factors are the controlling factors of population distribution. Physical factors alone will not explain partial distribution of population distribution anywhere in the world. Hence apart from physical factors such as climate, relief, soil vegetation, drainage, economic social political demography and historical reasons collectively known as physical factors must also be considered therefore the factors influencing the world's population distribution can be classified under physical and human factors.
- Climate: Supporters of the doctine of determinism consider that climate is the most important physical factors that influences population distribution. Climate does not only act directly on human beings but also indirectly through its effects on soils vegetation and agriculture. The genaralisation about the influence of climate upon the population distribution is that extreme climate conditions ( too cold and too hot) repel human habitation while condusive climatic conditions favor human habitation . COLD CLIMATES OF THE WORLD: It accounts between latitude 60°- 90° North and South of the equator known as poles or high latitude which are sparcely populated areas . Temperatures are generally below freezen point (0°-32°) severe winters, persistent snow and ice cover. Rainfall amount is also reduced to about 250 km. The soils are permanently frozen (permafrost) in many areas rendering agriculture difficult. Few people can survive this harsh and in hospitable condition. Regions such as Green land, Atatical condusive, Siberia, Scandinaria, Northern Canada, Northern Russia. Densities here are below 0.5 people per km square.
- THE HOT WET LAND. These are tropical regions which plaque by climatic elements ( temperature is 27°c and rain fall is 2000 mm). They exhibit all types of settlement densities ranging from emptiness to over crowding.These conditions are condusive or rapid vegetation growth permits multiple cropping and reduce requirements for clothing.
- SOIL VERSUS POPULATION DISTRIBUTION: The general notion about soils and population distribution is that regions of the world with fertile soils are densely populated while regions with infertile soils are sparcely populated except they improve upon.Some fertile soils which support dense population include Alluvial soil found mostly arround river valleys and plain for instance Nile valley, I Kiang in China .Chenozems of the steppes prairies and other grasslands, Volcanic soils of the coastal lowlands and western high lands of Cameroon and Ethopia high lands.The rich loess deposite of western Europe and northern China. However, there are some areas with fertile soils but sparcely population density example is the rich chernozems of the temperate grassland.
- DRAINAGE AND POPULATION DISTRIBUTION:Drainage attracts and also repel human habitation depending on the nature of drainage in the area. many rivers or lakes attracts population because of their usefulness and sources of water for domestic use. Hydro Eectric Power ( H.E.P) generation, fishing, sand exploitation, transportation.On the other hand, rivers and lakes may also repel population distribution this is because they may be infested with pest and diseases vectors such as mosquitoes which causes malaria
- Economic activities. AGRICULTURE: This can either attract or repel population depending on the system that is either weather intensive subsistence or extensive subsistence or intensive commercial or extensive commercial and pastoral nomadism . Other factors are INDUSTRIAL ACTIVITIES, COMMERCIAL ACTIVITIES,and TRANSPORT.
- HISTORICAL ISSUES: A good knowledge of he pass is necessary to correctly explain present day patterns of population distribution .Pass events invension and intertribal wars have contributed to present day population for instance Jihads made many people to seek refuge on mountains example is the mandarra mountain in Cameroon. SOCIAL FACTORS: Disasters cause short term adjustment and redistributed and occur suddenly e.g lake Nyos volcanic eruption which provocks massive out movement of people in other areas.
EFFECTS OF DIFFERENTIAL POPULATION GROWTH RATE ON POPULATION DISTRIBUTION
The world's population growth rate is between 1.7-2 percent .Generally there are marked variations between developed and less developed countries. Developed countries have far lower growth of between 0.5 and 0.7 while the less developed have between 1.9 and 2.5 percent. However, it should be noted that some less developed countries government have adopted anti-natal policies aimed at increasing fertility e.g countries like China, Pakistan etc.
government population policy therefore have effects on population distribution where the government encourages high birth rate (pro-natal policy ) densities will be high as opposed to where population controlled.