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Social sciences: geography

Grade 7

Population growth and changes

Module 7

The effects of population growth and changeon the everyday lives of citizens

In the previous learning unit you became acquainted with concepts such as a young population , the ageing of the population , life expectancy , population structures , etc. All of these are linked to the change and growth in any population. Another two concepts which are closely associated with this matter, include urbanisation and population movement – two types of change taking place in South Africa and the rest of the world at this very moment, both of which you should be able to observe quite easily. Population movement is commonly known as migration.

1. Why do people migrate?

Since the beginning of time, mankind had been wanderers, abandoning their home environment in search of places where they hoped to find more favourable living conditions; only in the event of forced removals, they had no choice.

Permanent migration is mainly influenced by the following:

climate : (pleasant temperatures – between 10ºC and 30ºC – and a comfortable humidity factor);

economics: (people move to places where they can earn good money, irrespective of the climate);

political reasons: (government decisions might cause people to move to or from a specific area).

But a further choice remains: city or country life?

Most of you are living in a city or a big town. It is a fact because more than half of our country has become URBANISED . This means that more than 50% of our country’s inhabitants are presently living in big towns or cities.

[These figures are established by means of census surveys.]

Population distribution maps show that people are more attracted to some areas than others. This is also true of our own country. Only since 50 years ago the biggest part of our population was concentrated in and around the cities and big towns. In South Africa the migration from rural to urban areas is still an ongoing process.

Activity 1:

To discuss questions on population density and urbanisation

[lo 1.2]

Study the maps in your atlas that indicate population density distribution in urban areas before you attempt to answer the following questions:
  • Name the area in South Africa where the population is particularly sparse:
  • Which province is the most urbanised?
  • Other relevant questions to be added by teachers and learners:

Activity 2:

To answer questions on migration in small groups

[lo 1.5]

Section A (This section is intended for learners in adjacent desks, or for small groups.)
  • In the South African context , think of reasons why people
a) MIGRATE within the country itself:b) EMIGRATE from our country:c) IMMIGRATE to our country: Section B (In this section the answers of each group are written on the board – all answers given by the first group, followed by any new answers from the other groups.
  • Now have a short class discussion and see if you can agree on the (three to five) most important reasons for interior migration (within the country itself) in South Africa. List them below:

2. Why do so many people prefer to live in cities?

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Source:  OpenStax, Geography grade 7. OpenStax CNX. Sep 09, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11021/1.1
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