Population & Migration

II. Population An understanding of the ways in which the human population is organized geographically provides AP students with the tools they need to make sense of cultural, political, economic, and urban systems. Thus, many of the concepts and theories encountered in this part of the course crosscut with other course modules. In addition, the course themes of scale, pattern, place, and interdependence can all be illustrated with population topics. For example, students may analyze the distribution of the human population at different scales: global, continental, national, state or province, and local community.  Explanations of why population is growing or declining in some places and not others center on understanding the processes of fertility, mortality, and migration. In stressing the relevance of place context, for example, students may assess why fertility rates have dropped in some parts of the developing world but not in others, and how age–sex structures vary from one country to another. Analysis of refugee flows, immigration, internal migration, and residential mobility helps students appreciate the interconnections between population phenomena and other topics.  Environmental degradation may prompt rapid out-migration and urbanization, in turn creating new pressures on the environment. Refugee flows may be magnified when groups have no access to political power because of the way boundaries have been drawn. Rapid immigration to certain parts of the world fosters regional differences in industrial employment and political sentiment toward foreigners. This part of the course also aids in our understanding of contemporary growth trends by considering how models of population change, including the demographic and epidemiological (mortality) transitions. Given these kinds of understandings, students are in a position to evaluate the role, strengths, and weaknesses of major population policies. For example, how might increasing the education levels of females lead to lower fertility? Human Geography Course Description, Fall 2010, College Board AP.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s “Census In The Schools” program is a must for Advanced Placement Human Geography (APHG) Teachers. Topics from APHG’s Topic Outline section II. Population… appear regularly in the multiple-choice and essay portions of the annual examination.  In addition to the lesson plans, the latest Newsletter features information on the upcoming 2010 Reapportionment of Congressional Districts. Look for the opportunity to sign up for regular e-mail updates.
Interested in specific population data for your own region/city/county? Check out the Census Bureau’s main web site

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