Population geography is the study of populations, including characteristics such as age, gender, fertility, health, occupation, religion, and ethnicity, and how characteristics of a population are exhibited across a landscape — that is, in a spatial context. In this assignment we will explore changes that happen within populations, both natural trends (think, births and deaths) and movements (think, immigration and emigration).

One thing that makes the study of populations complex is that people are mobile. Sometimes this movement is gradual and welcomed (think skilled workers to a large city) and at times it is sudden and a source of contention (think refugees escaping persecution).  Regardless of the mode of arrival or the reason or cause (push and/or pull), the topic of immigration permeates societies worldwide. It is discussed in the context of politics, economics, and culture, including race, ethnicity, language, religion, societal norms, labor, and so on. Between failed boat crossings, budget concerns, squatter settlements, protests and rallies, mainstream media outlets spend a great deal of time reporting on the debate; sometimes with compassion, using words like plight, fairness, and human rights, but often addressing it as a crisis, in need of urgent reform. And while the reporting can be biased, with errors and omissions, the attention is not without merit — migration can have a profound affect on both the landscape (physical and cultural environments) and the population, immigrant and native.

There are also implications of the natural changes that take place in a population, growth, stagnation, and decline. In your lesson, you were presented with not only three of the most common perspectives adopted by those who are concerned with populations, but also the experiences of several countries, some grappling with growth, others bracing for decline. As with migration, we again see that natural trends can have a profound affect on the landscape and population affected.

As a budding geographer and academic, capable of consulting peer-reviewed journal articles and also thinking critically about the issues reported by mainstream media outlets, you have a unique and informed perspective, supported by research, to report. You can (and are encouraged to) share your knowledge and perspective with your peers.

The Question

Begin by going through the collection of articles assembled for this course. Use this exercise to learn about current issues and discover what countries, organizations, parties, and so on, that have an interest in population (trends and changes) are talking about. Also, think about which articles most interest you and take a moment to read two or three.

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