AP Human Geography: World Population

ActivityExplore the patterns of world population in this ESRI geoinquiry for AP Human Geography in terms of total population, arithmetic density, total fertility rate, natural increase rate, and infant mortality rate. What factors influence the countries with the highest population densities? [Smaller land area, islands, lowlands, favorable climates, and water access influence those countries.] What factors influence the countries with the lowest population densities? [Large land areas, extreme climates, mountainous regions, and being landlocked influence those countries.]

Connections can be made to a local context by turning on different layers in this Wyoming Atlas web map and asking similar questions about Wyoming compared to other states:

  • does it have plenty of land area? Is it mountainous? Is it landlocked? How much rainfall does it get? 
  • Ask students to predict what the population density per square mile is for Wyoming, if the country with the highest population density is Singapore with 18,645 people per square mile and the country with the lowest density is Greenland with 0.012 people per square mile [Wyoming's population density is 5.9 people per square mile, based on 2010 census].  Note: Singapore doesn't show up in the highest density category on the world population density map because of the scale of the map; Singapore is a very small island nation. 
  • Have students zoom into Wyoming and turn on Wyoming's population density layer. Have them find their county and compare the population density of their county to other counties in Wyoming.

AP Human Geography benchmark: APHG:11.A.  Geographic patterns and analysis of population and APHG: 2.B.  Populations grow and decline over time and space 

Learning Outcomes: Students will identify and explain the spatial patterns and distribution of world population based on total population, density, total fertility rate, natural increase rate, and infant mortality rate.