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Grade 5

Population: distribution and density

Module 24

Describing concepts

Population: The people who live in a specific area (town/region/city/province/country/part of the world).

Population Distribution: Where people live within a specific area.

Population Density: How many people live in a specific area.

To work out the density of population of a region/country, you take the total population of the region/country and divide it by the total area (in square kilometres) of the region/country. Your answer should indicate the number of people on average that live in a square kilometre of the region/country.

One square kilometre is a square area measuring one kilometre by one kilometre:

Seen from the top:


Activity 1:

To calculate the population density of south africa

[lo 1.1]

Use the following statistics, your pocket calculator and the formula above to calculate the population density of South Africa and India respectively. Round off your answer to the nearest integer.

Population of South Africa (according to 1996 census): 41 million (rounded off).

Area of South Africa: 1 219 090 km 2 (rounded off).

Population of India (according to 2001 census): 1 029 million (rounded off).

Area of India: 3 174 723 km 2 (rounded off).

What conclusion do you come to if you compare the population numbers of South Africa and India?

It is important to remember that the above numbers are only average numbers. There are areas in South Africa (and India) where more or fewer people live per km 2 .

Activity 2:

To do a census and represent it graphically

[lo 1.3; 1.7]

Do a census in your class/grade.

  • Compile a list of approximately 10 questions that are found on a census form.e.g. How old are you?
0 – 20 20 – 30
30 – 50 50+

In what type of house do you live?

flat house on separate plot
townhouse other

Which of the following articles are found in your home?

television radio microwave
computer camera telephone
Cell phone satellite television internetetc.
  • Your questions must be aimed at the general public, and not only at the local inhabitants.
  • After the class has completed the census, process the information and put it in writing. E.g. 30% have a television set / 28% has access to the internet / 90% have cellular phones, etc.
  • Illustrate one of the questions by means of a pie graph.

Activity 3:

To interpret and show the human population numbers graphically

[lo 1.7]

  • The following numbers represent the size of the different population groups in South Africa according to the census information of 1996.
Total population: 40,6 million
Africans: 31,1 million
Whites: 4,4 million
Coloureds: 3,6 million
Indians: 1,1 million
Other: 0,4 million

Illustrate the population composition by means of a graph.


LO 1


The learner will be able to use enquiry skills to investigate geographical and environmental concepts and processes.

We know this when the learner:

1.1 with guidance, selects and uses sources of useful geographical information [finds sources];

1.2 distinguishes between facts and opinions [works with sources];

1.3 categorises information [works with sources];

1.4 uses an index to find places on global atlas maps [works with sources];

1.6 identifies and explores possible solutions to problems [answers the question];

1.7 demonstrates knowledge and under-standing of the issue through projects, discussion, debate and charts [communicates the answer].

Questions & Answers

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Source:  OpenStax, Social sciences: geography grade 5. OpenStax CNX. Sep 23, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10986/1.2
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