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Population Pyramids

 A population pyramid is a graph that allows us to see the gender and age structure of a population. The pyramid below shows the number of people in millions in each age group in the UK in 2000. uk2000.gif (6526 bytes)

There are different shapes to the pyramids which tell us different things about the population of the country.

Rapid Growth or youthful population Slow Growth
LEDCs have a triangular shaped pyramid. They have lots of children and people do not tend to live for a long time (low Life expectancy). These countries populations grow rapidly as many more children are added to the population than people die. The Philippines pyramid shows this perfectly and has a population growing at 2.1% per year. Most MEDCs have a space rocket shape, with old people living for a long time (high life expectancy), lots of workers and reasonable numbers of children. These populations are stable and are growing slowly as the number of young is just above the number of people dieing.

Declining or Ageing population

Some MEDCs actually have declining populations where there are not enough children being born each year to replace those dieing. Germany is experiencing a period of negative growth (-0.1%). As negative growth in a country continues, the population is reduced. A population can shrink due to a low birth rate and a stable death rate. Increased emigration may also be a contributor to a declining population.  


1) Find out what Population Pyramids can be used for using Wikipedia

2a) Visit IDB population pyramids website and make a summary population pyramid for a country of your choice.
b) Describe each pyramid
c) Explain how and why the population is changing.

3) Take a BBC Bytesize test on Population Pyramids

4) Try a population web quest

5) Try this exercise on how to read and interpret population pyramids or this slightly easier one

Watch a video