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The maps below depict the relative distribution of the population of the world at three different time periods. What trends can you pick out?


Year 1 (Total Population 200 million)

1960 (Total Population 3 billion)

2050 Prediction (Total Population 9.4 billion)

Which countries are growing fastest? Slowest? Which are actually declining in population? What will our population look like 40 years from now!??? Its going to be much different. For example, India is projected to surpass China (by a longshot) to become the most populous country in the world going from 1.1 billion to 1.8 billion people (where China is projected to be at 1.4 billion in 2050). That increase of 0.7 billion (700 million) alone is more than 100 times the population of Jordan, and much more than the current populations of the US and Indonesia combined (which are number 3 and 4 respectively on the list right now). A handful of countries are expected to TRIPLE their population or more, including Yemen (22 million 71 million), Ethiopia (79 million 238 million), Uganda (31 million 128 million), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (67 million 189 million), and Afghanistan (29 million 80 million). Many, many other countries are expected to lose population over the course of the next 40 years. Ukraine is expected to go from 46.8 million people to 33.4 million people, losing a whopping 28% of their population. Nineteen other countries are expected to be less populous in 2050 than they are now including Russia, Japan, Germany, Poland, Italy, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria (which is projected to lose 34% of its population). All that said, the world will be a very different place in 2050.

Using data from the United Nations, we are going to do a brief study of population dynamics. You will need to pick 3 countries you can pick your favorites (Thailand, South Africa and Kyrgyzstan), three countries that are related to each other (Jordan, Syria and Lebanon), three countries of all the same relative size but in very different areas (Germany, Egypt and Iran), or three countries that you have talked about in your history class (China, Russia and India), or some other combination. Try to pick something that ties your countries together to make it interesting. If your curious about the current populations of nations to help you try and pick, try Wikipedias List of Countries by Population page

Ms. Emilys World History class will be joining us on this project. After we do the data analysis to explain how the populations are changing, Ms. Emilys students will try to explain some of the trends with some historical research. You still may choose anything, but some of the groupings below might make historical research interesting and fruitful! WW II and its Effects (but note that our data starts only at 1950): Japan, Italy, Germany, / UK, US, France, Russia The breakup of the Soviet Union: Russia and any of the other Soviet Bloc countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan). Many of these countries are very interesting because many have declining populations. Korean War: North Korea, South Korea, USA and China (the two second largest military presences) Vietnam War: Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and some others who fought in the war: USA, South Korea The Rwandan Genocide: Rwanda and its neighbors (Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Burundi) Middle Eastern Conflicts: Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine (listed on the UN website as Palestinian territories) The AIDS crisis: How has AIDS affected the population especially in sub-Saharan Africa? The countries where AIDS is currently most prevalent are Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, and South Africa. Chinas One-Child Policy: Has Chinas One-Child policy slowed the growth of its population? Other countries that have implemented family planning campaigns are India and Kenya


First, you need to generate population data and manipulate it in Excel. Go to the United Nations World Population Prospects Website at

1. Select Population on the left, and then your three countries on the right (hold down CONTROL while clicking to select more than one). Leave the other variables the same. Then click Display to see the data, or Download as .CSV file To download an Excel document that has the data already entered for you. This might be easiest because if you hit Display you will need to enter in the numbers yourself. 2. Graph your data as big as possible. Graph each country on a different set of axes (unless their populations are similar enough that you can do it all on the same axes). Copy and paste the graphs into a Word Document. 3. Examine the shape of the graph. Look at a. CRITICAL POINTS: What do these tell you about a population?

b. INFLECTION POINTS: What do these tell you about population growth? Decline?

c. General trends involving population increase and decrease, speed etc.

d. Anything else that interests you.



Now we need to see why these populations are changing how they are. We can examine birth rate (how fast people are being born), the death rate (how fast people are dying) and the migration rate (the net change in population due to immigration and emigration). All numbers are per 1000 people.


Now click on Detailed Indictors in the panel on the far right. In the Select Variables column, click on Crude birth rate, Crude death rate and Net Migration Rate. Then select your 3 countries and hit either Display or Download as .CSV File (again, I recommend the download option). Transfer your new data into your spreadsheet. 2. Put all three columns next to each other (labeled) and then make a fourth column called Overall Rate. It will be (BIRTH RATE) (DEATH RATE) + (MIGRATION RATE). This will tell us approximately how the population is changing per 5 year period. 3. Graph all 4 elements on the same set of axes (1 for each country). Copy and Paste your graphs into the same Word Document from step 1. 4. Compare the graph from part 2 to that of part 1. a. How are they related (especially the Overall Rate) to the population graphs from part 1?

b. How should they be related? Why might they not fit exactly?

c. What do zeros on this graph correspond to on the graph in part 1? What do maxima and minima on this graph correspond to on the graph in part 1?

d. What extra information does the birth/death rate give you?


Write up an analysis that explains how your countries populations have changed over the past 60 years and how they will change over the next 40. I wont put a page limit on it, but I really cannot imagine you would be able to discuss what you need to in less than two typed pages (double spaced, not including the graphs). Feel free to talk about whatever you would like to from your data, discussing trends in the population and how these trends relate to trends in how the population is changing with births deaths and migrations. Some words that we know from calculus that might help in your discussion: maximum, minimum, rate of change, fast/slow growth or decline, increasing/decreasing at an increasing/decreasing rate, inflection point, first derivative, second derivative, concave up, concave down. If you use these terms, explain them well enough so that someone who doesnt really know Calculus (but is well educated and has a good math background otherwise) would understand and be able to interpret what is happening.

EXTRA EFFORT - It could be interesting if you connect any of the trends you see with events from history or any other prior knowledge that you have. - It could be interesting if you graph other data too and include it in your analysis. You can graph anything youre interested in any other data from the UN website, average lifespan, GDP per capita, number of computers, oil consumption, anything!!! I would really love to read analyses that involve any of these topics!

Sometime in the spring, your paper will go to a student or a group in Ms. Emilys World History class. They will read your analysis of the population and try to help explain some of the trends in growth and decline that you noted mathematically. They will send their analysis back to you so that you can understand a little bit better why the population data for the countries you chose have changed in the way that you noted.