Population, Urbanization, and the Environment


age distribution

number of people in various age categories, within a given population

carrying capacity

number of people, other living organisms, or crops a region can support without environmental degradation

contact hypothesis

theory that contact between two groups can promote tolerance and acceptance


chain of cities and towns that have expanded into one another to form a continuous urban region

crude birth rate

number of live births per 1,000 people in a population in a given year

crude death rate

number of deaths per 1,000 people per year in a given population

demographic transition theory

theory that population growth occurs in four stages based on levels of industrialization


study of the size, distribution, and composition of human populations

environmental racism

practices that impact economically and socially disadvantaged communities, burdening them with a disproportionate share of environmental hazards


type of suburb that is located even farther away from the metropolitan center


number of live births in a given population, which can be affected by numerous factors including education and migration

general fertility rate

number of live births per 1,000 women of childbearing age (15 to 44) in a population in a given year


renovation of deteriorated urban neighborhoods by more affluent people moving into the area

group threat theory

theory that when minority groups grow in size or power, the majority group feels threatened

infant mortality rate

number of babies who die before their first birthday, per 1,000 live births within a population

Malthusian theory

theory that if population growth is not controlled, the population will increase at a greater rate than its food supply


large conurbation where cities have expanded outward to meet, forming an urban center larger than a metropolis


area that includes a city and its suburbs and exurbs


movement of people into and out of specific areas


death rate of a population, which can be affected by factors including infrastructure, poverty, the environment, and war

natural growth rate

difference between the crude birth rate and the crude death rate

population composition

demographic profile of a population, including statistics on age, sex, ethnicity, race, and other characteristics


separation of a group from the rest of society by the group itself


population shift from central urban areas into suburbs

sustainable development

economic development that meets people's needs but does not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs

urban density

number of people inhabiting a given urbanized area

urban ecology

study of the relationship people living in cities have with one another and their urban environment

urban sprawl

spread of urban developments, such as housing and retail centers, to undeveloped land surrounding a city


movement of a population from rural to urban areas

zero population growth

maintaining the population at a constant level by limiting births so that the number of people born in a year is equal to the number of people who die