Curriculum Guideline

Population Geographies

Effective Date:
Course Code
GEOG 3382
Population Geographies
Geography and the Environment
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture: 2 hours/week/semester Seminar: 2 hours/week/semester
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

This course will use a variety of modes of instruction, including some of the following:

  • Lectures
  • Videos
  • Small group discussions
  • Textbook and assigned readings
  • Individual or group projects
  • Map analysis
  • Use Statistics Canada, BC Stats, and international databases

Course Description
Population geographers apply a spatial lens to the study of demographic characteristics and trends. Students will consider core demographic tools and perspectives in population geography, examine factors that affect population change, map the movement and mobility of people across time and space, and think critically about the relationships between populations, their characteristics, and both the human and physical environments they live in. The course will cover topics such as global population growth and distribution, fertility and mortality determinants, migration and urbanization, family planning and population control programs, methods of gathering and evaluating population data, population-environment debates, and the predictability of future trends.
Course Content
  1. Introduction to the field of population geography
    • Applications of demography to geography
    • Demographic theories
    • Demographic tools
  2. Demographic data and information
    • Methods in population research; qualitative and quantitative
    • Accessing Statistics Canada and UN data
    • Using maps and graphs to represent population data
  3. Global population change
    • Global population growth in the 19th and 20th Centuries
    • Demographic Transition theories
    • Impacts of contemporary globalization
    • Population-environment correlations and causations
  4. Understanding demographic characteristics
    • Fertility
    • Mortality
    • Population distribution & using maps
    • Population characteristics (age, class, race, sex, language)
      • Aging populations and dependency ratios
    • Migration
  5. The movement of people
    • Internal migration
    • International migration
    • Refugees and other displacements
    • Urbanization
  6. Competing theories on population growth and the future
    • Un/linking economic development, food scarcity, resource supplies, and population
      • Malthus and the Pessimists
      • Cornucopians and the benefits of scarcity
      • Neutralists critiques of economic globalization and consumerism
    • Population policies and family planning
  7. What will the future hold?
    • Strengths and weaknesses of population data and theories
    • Review and conclusions
Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the students will be able to:

  1. Synthesize concepts and techniques in population geography.
  2. Critically assess contemporary trends in population geographies at local, regional, and global levels.
  3. Apply demographic theories to emerging geographic issues.
  4. Communicate orally and in writing about population geography foundations.
  5. Use both qualitative and quantitative methods to analyze population trends.
  6. Discuss the multiple perspectives on controversial population debates.
  7. Interpret and utilize population maps, graphs, and charts.
Means of Assessment

The evaluation will be based on course objectives and be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will provide a written syllabus outlining course objectives and evaluation specifications during the first week of class.

An example of an evaluation scheme follows:

Attendance & participation          10%
Course project/essay  20%
Map and graph analysis  15%
Midterm exam  25%
Final exam  30%
Total 100%



Textbook Materials

Examples of textbooks to be used and periodically updated are:

  • Newbold, K. Bruce (2010) Population Geography: Tools and Issues. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield.
  • Trovato, Frank (2009) Canada's Population in a Global Context: An Introduction to Social Demography. Oxford University Press Canada.