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Geography

Population distribution and density

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People are unevenly distributed around the world. The difference in distribution is measured by comparing population density - the number of people per square kilometre (km²).

Population density is determined more by environmental factors which make an area more or less attractive to settlers than by economic development.

Population patterns

A street in Cairo

A street in Cairo

The way in which people are spread across a given area is known as population distribution. Geographers study population distribution patterns at different scales: local, regional, national, and global.

Patterns of population distribution tend to be uneven. For example, in the UK there are more people living in south-east England than in Wales.

Population density

Population density is the average number of people per square kilometre. It is a way of measuring population distribution and shows whether an area is sparsely or densely populated. Population density is calculated using the following formula:

Population density = total population ÷ total land area in km²

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