Factors influencing global population distribution

Physical factors


  • People prefer to live in comfortable climates where there is enough rainfall and no temperature extremes.
  • A lack of fresh water for drinking or watering crops stops people living in an area.
  • Very high temperatures make farming difficult - dehydration and heat stroke are other issues.
  • Areas with high humidity are also uncomfortable places to live and can have diseases such as malaria.
  • Very cold temperatures make it difficult to grow crops or build homes and transport links as the ground can be frozen for much of the year.
  • Frostbite makes it difficult to work outside for any length of time, protective clothing would need to be worn.

Types of land

  • Steep slopes make the use of machinery difficult as well as the building of houses, roads and railways.
  • High mountainous areas are too cold which make it hard to grow crops and are often remote making access difficult.
  • Flat, low-lying areas have deeper soil which makes it easier to grow crops.

Natural resources

  • Few natural resources, such as coal, in an area means there is a lack of industry and therefore a lack of employment opportunities.
  • Scenery is a resource and can attract tourists, bringing job opportunities.


  • Areas with fertile soils, eg river deltas, are good for growing crops to feed the population.
  • Poor soils with few nutrients mean there will be a low agricultural output.