Demography and Population

Population Growth

Changing fertility, mortality, and migration rates make up the total population composition, a snapshot of the demographic profile of a population. This number can be measured for societies, nations, world regions, or other groups. The population composition includes the sex ratio, the number of men for every hundred women, as well as the population pyramid, a picture of population distribution by sex and age (Figure).

A pyramid graph depicting the 2011 population of the United States, grouped by age.
This population pyramid shows the breakdown of the 2010 U.S. population according to age and sex. (Graph courtesy of Econ Proph blog and the U.S. Census Bureau)
Country Population (in millions) Fertility Rate Mortality Rate Sex Ratio Male to Female
Afghanistan 31.8 5.4% 14.1% 1.03
Sweden 9.7 1.9% 9.6% 0.98
United States of America 318.92 2.0% 8.2% 0.97
Varying Fertility and Mortality Rated by Country As the table illustrates, countries vary greatly in fertility rates and mortality rates—the components that make up a population composition. (Chart courtesy of CIA World Factbook 2014)

Comparing the three countries in Table reveals that there are more men than women in Afghanistan, whereas the reverse is true in Sweden and the United States. Afghanistan also has significantly higher fertility and mortality rates than either of the other two countries. Do these statistics surprise you? How do you think the population makeup affects the political climate and economics of the different countries?

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