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Factors affecting the population

The Birth Rate

It is the average number of the children born in a country compared to the rest of the population. In other words, it is the number of births for every 1000 people in the country.


Birth rate=
Number of live births
X 1000
Total population

Factors affecting the birth rate in a country

  • Existing age-sex structure
  • Availability of family planning services
  • Social and religious beliefs - especially in relation to contraception and abortion
  • Female employment
  • Economic prosperity (although in theory when the economy is doing well families can afford to have more children in practice the higher the economic prosperity the lower the birth rate).
  • Poverty levels – children can be seen as an economic resource in developing countries as they can earn money
  • Infant Mortality Rate – a family may have more children if a country's IMR is high as it is likely some of those children will die.
  • Conflicts
  • Typical age of marriage

The Death Rate

The number of people who die each year compared to every 1000 people in the population is known as death rate.


Death rate=
number of deaths
X 1000
Total population

Factors affecting Death rate in a country

  • Medical facilities and health care
  • Nutrition levels
  • Living standard
  • Access to clean drinking water
  • Hygiene levels
  • Levels of infectious diseases
  • Social factors such as conflicts and levels of violent crime

Net Migration

Emigration is when a person moves out of the country.
Immigration is when a person moves into a country.
Net Migration is the difference between emigration and immigration.

If net immigration is positive it will lead to a population increase, a negative net immigration will lead to a fall in population of the country.

Dependency Ratios

It is the number of people in work with the total population of the country.


Dependency ratio =
Total Population
Number of people in work

Dependent Population usually consists of children, students, housewives, the unemployed and old age pensioners.

Affects of increase in dependent population

Lower standard of living

An increase in the dependent population will mean that people in work have more people to support and thus the living standard of the country will fall.

Balance of trade

If the people in work cannot produce enough goods and services to satisfy the need of the growing dependent population then the country has to spend its income on importing these goods and services, which will lead to an unfavourable balance of trade.

Changes in Population pattern as a country becomes more developed

As an economy becomes more developed the following characterisitics might be noticed in its population stucture.

Change in Occupational structure

  • primary sector will continue to fall
  • secondary sector will first rise, and then fall
  • tertiary sector will continue to rise.

Age structure

  • average age of the population will rise
  • there will be an ageing population
  • Birth rate and Death rate  will fall

Geographical structure

  • there will be a movement out of the rural areas and into the urban areas.



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