Exam-style Questions: Population

  1. a) For an area you have studied describe the distribution of its population.

    (8 marks)

    b) Discuss the human and physical factors responsible for the distribution described in 1a.

    (12 marks)

    (Marks available: 20 )


    Answer outline and marking scheme for question: 1

    a) 8 marks therefore 16 minutes.

    Two things to remember here:

    • You have been asked to refer to a specific area so general reasons are no good
    • You have only been asked to describe so do not waste time in part 'a' with explanation.

    It is a good idea to include an annotated sketch map. If it is accurately drawn (mind you they won't expect atlas quality - you only have 16 minutes!) with clear annotations that include facts and figure then you can gain all of the marks just with the sketch map. It also provides a good reference point for your discussion.

    I would also add my own description to support what I have put on the map.

    b) A longer answer required for 12 marks - try allocating about 24 minutes.

    There will be 6 to 8 marks available for physical factors and 6 to 8 for human. This means you can gain credit for being particularly strong in one aspect but cannot get full marks if you do not discuss both human and physical. Nor will you get 16 for writing more!

    The marks will be allocated in pairs where you will get one mark for identifying a relevant point and one for explanation. For example...

    "The majority of Brazil's population live on the South-east coast with particularly high concentrations around the cities. In and around Rio de Janeiro for example population densities exceed 50 people per km squared. Population density is high here for a number of reasons. Rio de Janeiro grew up as a consequence of the natural harbour, which encouraged trade and industry. This in turn encouraged migration as people arrive looking for work. More recently the city has become a major tourist destination and is still the focus for much of Brazil's investment."

    The above answer would gain two marks as it identifies a reason - the natural harbour and then explains how that leads to high population density - the industry that attracts migrants looking for work.

    You should be looking to write three such statements with reference to physical factors and three with reference to human factors. If you have time add more because it is always better to have too many than too few - but do not go over your time allocation!

    (Total = 20 marks)

  2. a) What do you understand by the terms net outmigration and ethnic minority?

    (4 marks)

    b) With reference to social and economic factors discuss why ethnic minorities tend to 'cluster' in certain areas of cities?

    (8 marks)

    (Marks available:20 )


    Answer outline and marking scheme for question: 2

    a) A question that illustrates your need to learn definitions. 2 marks are allocated for each definition. 1 if it is basic, 1 extra for elaboration.

    "Ethnic minority - a group or community that is of an ethnicity different to that of the dominant population."

    (1 mark)

    "This group can be identified by physical factors such as skin colour but also on religious or cultural practises."

    "They often occupy certain areas in the urban mosaic possibly in enclaves or ghettos."

    1 mark for either of these or similar elaborative points.

    "Net out-migration is the balance between immigration to an area and emigration from an area.

    (1 mark)

    "It can be a positive number meaning that the population of the given area will be falling or negative suggesting an increase in population. It can be expressed in absolute terms but also as a percentage. Can refer to an area, city, country or, continent. The only restriction is global."

    1 mark for any of these elaborations.

    b) Asks for reference to social and economic factors. 8 marks available so assume an even distribution of 4 for social and 4 for economic. Although it is possible that a really good social or economic answer could gain 5 or even 6 but full marks would not be available for just discussing one of the factors.

    Possible economic factors for discussion include:

    • Cost of housing: It is unlikely that a new migrant from the developing world will have a great deal of money. Housing in the inner cities is the cheapest to buy and there is a greater availability of cheap places for rent. Therefore ethnic minorities will cluster due to the structure of the housing market.
    • Work: The migrant is unlikely to arrive with a job so the inner cities provide good access to the CBD where work is likely to be found.
    • The inner cities can offer entrepreneurs a good threshold population whilst rental/ purchase of commercial property can still be relatively cheap. This is advantageous to the person wishing to set him/herself up in business.
    • Many ethnic minority groups have an economic support network that encourages people to live close to one another.

    Possible social factors to include:

    • Clustering means minority groups can support specialist shops such as Chinese supermarkets or lobby for religious facilities such as a mosque.
    • Clustering is also a very good defensive measure especially if the host population is seen as unwelcoming and aggressive
    • Clustering can be a deliberate attempt to maintain culture and tradition
    • The point of entry for many new immigrants is often the family already in the host country. Therefore it is likely that the person will live in the family house, maybe work in the local area perhaps in a family business and then not want to leave the area he/ she has become established in. This could also be listed under economic factors.

    To gain the full 8 marks you should have discussed at least two relevant points from each list.

    (Total = 20 marks)

  3. For your chosen human environment...

    a) Identify the processes of migration both domestically and internationally.

    (6 marks)

    b) To what extent are these migration patterns a consequence of perceived economic gains or environmental conditions?

    (14 marks)

    (Marks available: 20)


    Answer outline and marking scheme for question: 3

    You must refer to one region or country for 3a and 3b. Choose carefully and refer specifically to your chosen human environment.

    a) 6 marks so 12 minutes.

    Marks allocated for identifying different processes of migration within a region both domestically (Rural to urban, rural to rural, urban to rural, urban to urban) and internationally (immigration and emigration).

    All of the points do not need to be mentioned but to gain good marks you should refer to at least 3 with specific reference to your chosen human environment.

    b) To what extent are these migration patterns a consequence of perceived economic gains or environmental conditions? 14 marks so allow 28 minutes.

    This is an evaluative question that asks you to explain the causes of the migrations identified in '3a'.

    The easy way to answer this is:

    • Discuss the patterns of migration that are a consequence of perceived economic gains, for example, Movement for potential work
    • Discuss the patterns of migration that are a consequence of the prevailing environmental conditions - both human and physical
    • Show that you appreciate that migration is not just a consequence of one factor, it is usually a whole host of contributory factors
    • Discuss migration that is a result of a variety of factors including, that which is primarily social or cultural.

    Throughout this answer you will get the great credit for referring specifically to your region. The examiner also wants you to demonstrate that migration is not always a consequence of one or two factors but is usually a consequence of a whole host of contributory factors.

    (Total = 20 marks)