Unit 3:

Population of the Earth

1-2 World population and its problems
  1. Click this link to get a pdf file on world population. Read the text and try to answer the questions at the end.

    Task 1:

    Read this text on Migration. According to the Population Reference Bureau of the U.S.:

    1. What are the reasons for migration?
    2. Is immigration seen as good or bad for a country?
    3. How big was the share of immigration to the population growth in the U.S. between 1990-99?

    Task 2:

    Browse the homepage of Statistik Austria.

    1. What information can you find on migration and population growth in Austria?
    2. Is immigration an important factor in Austria (if you haven't found the link, here is one)?
    3. Can you think of reasons, why population growth is important for a country?



Look at this website and download the Excel table Immigration by region and selected country of last residence: fiscal years 1820-2002.

  1. Examine the different years of immigration. Where came most people from at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of last century? Try to create a diagramm, that shows the number of immigrants over the years from: Austria(-Hungaria), Africa, Latin-America.
  2. Can you think of reasons, why there are kind of "waves" in the number of people moving to the U.S.A.? Think of your history lessons.

Population pyramids:

Print this pdf, and this html. (As an introduction students will be shown this chart first). First they will only get the one of he United States and should answer the following questions:

  1. Which age group has the greatest proportion of people?
  2. Which bar includes the students in this classroom?
  3. Are there more people in your age group or in the age group below yours?

    Now describe the pyramids of Congo and Germany:

  4. How is Congo's pyramid different from that of the U.S.?
  5. Which age group in Congo is the largest?
  6. What proportion of the population is in this age group?

    Now look at Germany.

  7. How is it different?
  8. How is it different from Congo?

  9. Why would a country 's leaders want to know the proportion of the population in different age groups?
  10. What difference does the age of the people in a country make?
  11. What kinds of products do young people use?
  12. What kinds of services do they need?
  13. What about older people?
  14. Is it important for a government leader or planner to know the age of the population they are serving?


Create your own pyramids:

Divide into groups, take this data and create pyramids with your printouts. Discuss the differences.

(Afterwards students get the names of the countries and there will be a discussion in plenum)




Look at this link of Eye in the Sky and read the four pages.

  1. What is the problem described?
  2. Did you notice the name on the last page: Thomas Malthus? Use Google and try to find out about his theories. What did he say about the problem of " carrying capacity"? Try to find different theories on " carrying capacity". Discuss.



Continuation from last lesson:

  1. Read this text. What points are made concerning "carrying capacity" theories?
  2. Are resources "infinite". Read and discuss in classroom.


An example: Hunger

Open this link. Compare the Child Malnutrition data in the different parts of the world.

  1. What about Europe? Is there also malnutrinition?
  2. Read about the Famine in China between 1958-1961. What happened in China during these years? What was the original purpose of the measures taken?