Social Geography of India, Population density, and distribution Upsc

Social Geography

Social Geography is the branch of human geography. It studies the relationship between society and space. Also, it is related to sociology, social phenomena, and their components.

Social geography includes settlement patterns, human development, population composition, etc. It also consists of primary, secondary, and tertiary activities. Fitzgerald first tried to define social geography in 1946 and equated it with the whole of human geography.

Also, J.W. Watson defined it as the identification of different regions of the earth according to associations of social phenomena related to the total environment’.

The branches of social geography include ‘Human Geography‘ and ‘Physical Geography’.

Population density

Currently, 3,60,000 babies are born every day in the world, that is 4 babies every second.

Stephen Hawking thinks that as per current rate human beings need a new planet 100 years if it is to survive, and this was also confirmed by BBC.

With climate change, overdue asteroid strikes, epidemics and population growth, our planet is increasingly precarious’, the news company continued.

The human being is the latest occupant of the planet earth, as its evolution took place less than two million years ago.

But the distribution and growth of Humans are greatly influenced by the physical environment.

Also, humans have great potential to modify the physical environment. Demography is the statistical study of the human population.

It includes the study of the size, structure, and distribution of population, as well as changes in time and location in response to birth, migration, aging, and death.

Population explosion is one of the greatest challenges that we face today.

World Population Density and Distribution

Human numbers remained limited even though they have inhabited the earth for every thousand years.

But that situation has changed in the recent century, the human population has increased and increased at an alarming rate.

But the population distribution is unevenly spread across the continents.

The concentration of people is limited to only a few areas, but a large number of areas support only a few people. This is because there are different factors that influence population distribution.

The patterns of Population Distribution

The analysis of the pattern of population distribution and population density is fundamental to the study of the demographic characteristics of any area.

The population distribution is how the people are spread over the earth’s surface. The population distribution is uneven throughout the world.

The top 10 most populous countries together make up 60% of the population of the world.

Density of Population

The number of persons living per unit of land areas gives a good indication of the impact of population on land and its resources. This is expressed in the form of density of population per sq. km of land area.

The density of population = Total population/Total area of the country

The population is obtained by dividing the total land area by the total population, the quotient being the number of people per square kilometre.

Compared with simple arithmetic density, physiological or nutritional density is a more refined method of calculating man-land ratios. The population density of the world is 25 people per km sq.

Physiological or Nutritional density is the ratio between total population and total cropped area.

  • The total arable land in the world is 13.3%.
  • The nutrition density of the world is 325 per of land.
  • Singapore has the highest nutritional density of population of 4,40,998 per of land of the world.

The areas of the density of population can be divided into three as follows:

1.High density areas of population

Fertile plains with good climate, industrialization, and urbanized areas are generally densely populated.

There are four major areas of the high density of population with more than 100 persons per sq. km.

Areas include:

Eastern Asia, including China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea.

Southern Asia, including India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka

The north-Eastern part of the United States of America

Central and North-Western Europe

Of the four regions above, Eastern Asia and South Asia have a high density of population because of the favorable environment and conditions such as climate, fertile soil, and large areas of plains for agriculture.

The plains and river valleys of India and China are densely populated. In North Eastern United States of America and North-Western Europe which are densely populated due to the concentration of manufacturing industries.

2. Moderate density areas of population

The areas of the moderate density of population have between 10 to 80 persons per sq. km.

The areas of the moderate density of population include the Central part of the United States of America, Tropical Western Africa, Western Block of Russia, Eastern Europe, Deccan Plateau of India, Central China, Southern portion of the plateau of Mexico, North-Eastern Brazil, and Central Chile.

The areas above are characterized by well-developed agricultural activities, favorable climate, fertile soils, fishing, etc.

3.Low density areas of population

About half the area of the world has a population of fewer than 10 persons per sq. km. Some vast areas remain completely uninhabited.

The uninhabited areas are:

Amazon forest region of South America and Congo forest region of Africa.

Arctic area of Canada, Greenland, and the Polar regions

Great deserts of the world such as Sahara, Kalahari, Arabia, Great Desert of Australia, Atacama Desert of South America, Desert regions of the Western United States, and Thar Desert of India.

High mountainous regions in all continents.


world population density map
World population distribution map

Australia with an average density of population of 2 persons per sq. km is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world.

However, inhabitants of these areas have a high standard of living.

The reasons for the low density of population are

  • A Bad and unfavourable environmental conditions for Human settlement
  • Less economic activities
  • Bad Transport and communication
  • Bad Government Policy


Overall social geography focuses on the study of the relationship of social and its spatial components.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
* * All the Notes in this blog, are referred from Tamil Nadu State Board Books and Samacheer Kalvi Books. Kindly check with the original Tamil Nadu state board books and Ncert Books.
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x