By Tom O'Donnell
1.Natural Characteristics affecting population Distribution (Arizona 07)
Population distribution is heavily affected by natural characteristics such as rivers, mountains, lakes and forests. A lot of people tend to live where there are pleasant living conditions and/or conditions that suit themselves. Flat, easy accessible, build-able and agricultural friendly land always attracts people. To establish towns and cities there is a number of geographical and natural factors. Cities are usually established next to or close to places with a plenty of natural resources, seas and large rivers for ports, trade routes and water supply. They are located on or next to flat land for agricultural purposes, though in some cases especially with very old cities they might have been located with surrounding hills for protection against enemies. A moderate and temperate climate is always pleasant for living too, as well as evenly distributed rainfall for farming, vegetation and fertile soil. Good natural resources include minerals eg. Coal and Iron for trade, income, economy as well as a power supply, also forests for timber and a reliable water supply. Natural routes such as gaps through mountains and confluences of valleys ensure easy transport and trade which in return can equal immigration and as well as friendly neighbouring cities. (The New Wider World)
The overall population density of Russia is 8 persons per sq km, but the population is unevenly distributed across the country. The population density of a particular area generally reflects the land's agricultural potential, with localised population centres occurring at mining and industrial centres. Most of the country's people are concentrated in Western Russia (or known as European Russia) in the so called fertile triangle', which has its base along the western border between the Baltic and Black seas and tapers eastward across the southern Ural mountains into south western Siberia. Many of the cities are clustered on rivers, mountains and lakes. The rural cities are very scattered while the bigger urban cities are clustered with smaller cities around them. (MSN Encarta)
2. Population characteristics
Age/sex pyramid of Russia
The population of Russia has a very uneven structure. With a low and declining birth rate and relatively high death rate Russia has a low life expectancy, but indicating a longer life expectancy with relatively larger numbers aged 65 years and over. This population structure is a very up-and-down structure. There is also a lot more boys being born while a lot more women are living longer into old age. This tells us that there is a lot of conflict in Russia and an uneven high death rate where many people are being killed from different ages. This is a very unbalanced and unstable population structure. (The New Wider World)
At the moment in Russia there are on average 16 deaths per 1000, far more than the world average of just under 9, and just 10 births leading to a population decline of about 750,000 per year. The infant mortality rate of Russia is 15.13 deaths/1,000 live births. Understandably, due the high rates of alcoholism and workplace hardship, women feel less than encouraged to have children in Russia. It is warned that by 2050 the population of Russia could fall by a third to a half. However the number of Russian people living in poverty has more than halved since the end of the Soviet Union crisis. Male life expectancy now stands at 59 years, with the average Russian woman living 72 years. This difference is primarily a result of high rates of alcoholism among males. The fertility rate is now 1.28 children born per women much lower than previous years. To maintain a stable population Russia would need to have a birth rate of about 2.1 children born per woman. The prime causes of Russia's population decrease and loss of about 700,000 to 800,000...