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Population Geographies

Course Code: GEOG 3382
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar, Hybrid
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

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 United Nations 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
      • Neutralist 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

Methods of Instruction

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following: lecture, labs, field work, DVDs/videos and animations, individual and/or team projects, small group discussion, and map and graph analysis. Where the course is offered in a hybrid format, students will complete over 50% of the course material online and outside of the classroom in a self-directed manner.

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%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course, the successful student 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.

course prerequisites

GEOG 2212 or 2213 or permission of the instructor.


Courses listed here must be completed either prior to or simultaneously with this course:

  • No corequisite courses


Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

  • No equivalency courses

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.