The term ‘density of population’ refers to the number of people living on a given piece of land. It is a simple measure that indicates the average number of people living in a square kilometre of land.
It is measured as
For example, a 2.5 sq.km region with a population of 18,000 will have a population density of 18,000/2.5 = 7200 person/sq.km.
Certain geographical factors influence the distribution of population in the world. They are:
a. Availability of Water
Water is the most important factor in sustaining life. So, people prefer to live in areas where fresh water is easily available. The importance of water can be understood from the fact that river valleys are among the most densely populated regions of the world.
People prefer living on flat plains and gentle slopes. Unlike mountainous and hilly areas, such areas are favourable for the production of crops and to build roads and industries. For instance, the Ganga plains are among the most densely populated areas of the world while the mountains zones of the Himalayas are scarcely populated.
Areas with a comfortable climate, where there is not much seasonal variation in temperature attract more people, and regions with extreme climatic conditions like very heavy rainfall or extreme temperatures are uncomfortable for human habitation. In India, coastal regions in the south are heavily populated due to their moderate climate.
Fertile soils are important for agricultural and allied activities. Therefore, areas with have fertile loamy soils have more people living on them as these can support intensive agriculture. For instance, states in the Northern (Ganga) plain are agriculturally the most productive in India, they are also among the most populated.
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