Difference Between Population Geography and Demography

Population Geography vs Demography

There is a difference between population geography and demography though both, population geography and demography, are concerned with human population and its growth over the time. Both these can be regarded as sub-study fields of Sociology. Demography is the statistical study of the human population. Demography studies the growth of population and the size, structure and distribution of this growing population. Population geography is the study of the division of humans over geographical factors. This area is interested in studying the population growth patterns related to natural living places. However, both study fields focus on human population and its growth, in different dimensions.

What is Demography?

Demography is the study of the human population through examining the statistics over the time. The term “Demos” in Greek implies the meaning “the people” and “Grapho” means “description or measurement”. Both these words have joined together to form the word “Demography.” This study area focuses on factors like human birth, death, aging and migration and it studies the changing patterns of these factors. After collecting data for a year or two, we can analyze the patterns and variations of population growth over a specific period.


Evolution of demography in Spain (1900-2005)

Demographic analyses can be applied to all the societies and, most commonly, the demographic data are collected annually. These demographic analyses not only show the population growth, but they also show the economic, social, cultural and biological processes behind population growth. Demography incorporates the criteria like nationality, education, religion and ethnicity, etc. in its data analysis. Some of the most common ratios of demography are crude birth rate, fertility rate, crude death rate, stationary population, net migration, etc. Demographic analyses are very important to a country in order to identify the population growth patterns.

What is Population Geography?

This studies the division of the human population geographically. Moreover, it studies how migration, composition, distribution and growth of population relate to the natural geographical places. This can be considered as studying demography based on a geographical perspective. Through these studies, we can figure out the population density of different geographical areas and also it analyses the reasons as to why certain places are crowded, whereas some places have less number of people.

Difference Between Population Geography and Demography

Pennsylvania’s population distribution

Population geography focuses on demographic factors, increase and decrease in population numbers, the mobility or movement of people from one place to another, occupational structures, etc. It is said that geographers tend to study more about migration than fertility and mortality rates, and this is because it is one of the crucial factors about population geography.

What is the difference between Population Geography and Demography?

When we consider about both terms, it is clear that there are some similarities as well as differences in both. When we think of similarities, the main thing is that both these subject fields can be considered as subfields of Sociology, but they have developed to be separate fields in modern world context. Both subject areas are interested in human population growth and distribution. Also, both these subject fields incorporate similar criteria in their analyses.

• When we think of the differences, we see that demography is more concerned with population growth, whereas population geography is more concerned in the distribution of the human population.

• Demography mainly focuses on birth, aging and death rates of the human population and even though population geography studies those as well, its primary concern falls to migration.

• However, both demography and population geography are important subject fields in the modern world because they focus on population growth and its distribution.


Images Courtesy: 

  1. Evolution of demography in Spain (1900-2005) by Historicair (CC BY 2.0)
  2. Pennsylvania’s population distribution by User:JimIrwin (CC BY-SA 3.0)