Understanding how the human population is organized geographically helps students make sense of cultural patterns, the political organization of space, food production issues, economic development concerns, natural resource use and decisions, and urban systems. Additionally, course themes of location, space, place, the scale of analysis, and pattern can be emphasized when studying fundamental population issues such as crude birth rates, crude death rates, total fertility rate, infant mortality rates, doubling time, and natural increase.
Explanations of why the population is growing or declining in some places are based on patterns and trends in fertility, demographic mortality, and migration. Analyses of refugee flows, immigration, and internal migration help us understand the connections between population phenomena. For example, environmental degradation and natural hazards may prompt population redistribution at various scales, which in turn creates new pressures on the environment, culture, and political institutions.
This module analyzed population trends across space and time as ways to consider models of population growth and decline, including the Malthusian demographic transition, and the epidemiological (mortality) transition model.