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Population Change

The population change refers to change in the number of people during a specific time.

Population change can refer to:

  • Population growth
  • Population decline
  • Population growth is the increase in population over time.

    Population decline is the reduction in population over time. It can be caused for several reasons; notable ones are migration, disease, famine, and war.

    The world population has not been stable.

    During the first 1800 years of the Common Era, the population rose very gradually as humanity spread across the globe. 


    Large numbers of babies were born, but they died early. There were no proper health facilities and sufficient food was not available for all the people. Farmers were not able to produce enough to meet the food requirements of all the people. As a result the total increase in population was very low.


    Around 1800 this began to change, and by 1900 the human population was rising dramatically:

    The above diagram shows the population growth across the continents from 1950 to 2030

    • In 1820, the world’s population was one billion.
    • In 1970, the world’s population reached 3 billion.
    • In 1999, the population doubled to 6 billion; and it was called ‘population explosion’.


    The main reason for this growth in population is better food supplies and the advancement in the field of health care which has reduced the number of deaths while the number of births still remained fairly high.


    The population increase in the world is mainly due to rapid increase in natural growth rate.



    Natural Growth Rate

    The difference between the birth rate and the death rate of a country is called the natural growth rate.
    • Birth Rate

    The number of live births per 1,000 people is known as ‘birth rate’. Births are usually measured using the ‘birth rate’.

    • Death Rate

    The number of deaths per 1,000 people is known as ‘death rate’. Deaths are usually measured using the ‘death rate’.

    From this we can come to the conclusion that …

    • If the birth rate is higher than the death rate then there is an increase in the population
    • If the death rate is higher than the birth rate then there is a decrease in population
    • If the birth rate and the death rate are equal then the population is stable



    Migration is another way by which there is a population change.


    Migration is the movement of people in and out of an area. It can also be described as a person leaving his own home to go to a new place or residence for different reasons.


    Types of Migration

    • Emigration, leaving one's native country to live in another.
    • Forced migration, the forced movement of a person or persons away from their home or home region.
    • Free migration, a belief that people should be able to migrate to whatever country they choose, free of substantial barriers.
    • Immigration, arriving to live in a new country.
    • Family reunification, the mechanism by which foreign nationals are allowed to immigrate due to the acquired citizenship of an adult relative.
    • Mass migrations, the movement of a large group of people from one geographical area to another.
    • Urbanization, the moving of people from rural areas into cities.
    • The activity of nomads, communities that continually move from one place to another.
      • Countries like the United States of America and Australia have gained in-numbers by immigration.
      • Sudan’s population has decreased due to emigration.
      • People usually migrate from less developed nations to the more developed
      • Nations in search of better employment opportunities
      • People also move from rural areas to urban areas, within a country, in search of employment, education and health care.

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