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Distribution and classification of the population
Population statistics are generally presented in terms of the geographical distribution of the population1 or the spatial distribution of the population1, and also by structure (144-4). Each population lives in a given area2 or territory2 (305-6), and the study of the geographical distribution3 or spatial distribution3 deals with the way in which they are distributed over the territory.
- 2. territory n. — territorial adj.
The territory (301-2) in which a population lives will generally be divided into sub-areas1. For administrative purposes it may be divided into administrative areas2, administrative units2 or administrative districts2 sometimes known as legal divisions2 or political divisions2. Geographers on the other hand, may divide the area into regions3 or zones4 which may or may not correspond to administrative units. The term "region" or "zone" may be used in a number of different senses and the areas referred to may be of very different sizes. Thus one speaks of the polar regions, of climatic zones or of metropolitan regions. The terms natural region5 and economic region6 are used by geographers. The term natural area7 is used in human ecology (103-5) to define an area occupied by a population with distinct characteristics.
A. Administrative units (302-2) differ from country to country. In Great Britain, the main administrative areas for which population statistics are compiled are as follows in ascending order of size. The civil parish (abbreviation C.P.), administered by a parish council is the smallest unit in the country. A rural district (abbreviation R.D.) is a collection of civil parishes. Smaller towns are urban districts (U.D.) or municipal boroughs (M.B.), also called burghs in Scotland. They are nor further subdivided except for electoral purposes, where sub-divisions are called wards. Administrative counties (A.G.) consist of boroughs and urban and rural districts. In the administrative county of London the boroughs are called metropolitan boroughs. Large towns, generally with a population of 75,000 and over, are called county boroughs (G.B.) and lie completely outside the territory of the administrative county. The term city (306-4) is a purely ceremonial and historic title borne by certain towns.
parish n. — parochial adj.
B. In the United States of America the minor civil division is the smallest administrative unit and a variety of terms may be used for it. A county (in Louisiana a parish) consists of a number of minor civil divisions. The county is the primary sub-division of the state (305-3) which is composed of several counties and occasionally of cities which are independent of county organization. With respect to areas classed by density of population, population statistics are compiled for unincorporated places (usually called villages or towns) of 1,000 or more population and for every incorporated place, called a village, town, borough or city (306-4). In New England, New York and Wisconsin, "towns" or "townships" are minor civil divisions of counties and are not included with incorporated places. Many of the larger cities are sub-divided into wards. Population statistics are also compiled for non-administrative areas defined for purposes of demographic study. The states are sub-divided into non-political and relatively homogeneous sub-divisions called state economic areas which consist of single counties or groups of counties with similar economic or social characteristics. A standard metropolitan area is a county or group of contiguous counties which contains at least one city of 50,000 inhabitants or more.
A population may be settled1, sedentary1, or nomadic2, i. e., migrating back and forth within a given area. Nomads who are in the process of becoming settled are called semi-nomadic3. Occasionally primitive peoples may have a territory allocated exclusively to themselves called a native reserve4 or reservation4.
- 2. nomadic adj. - nomad n.
A country1 is usually the territory (301-2) of a people2 (cf. 333-3) or a nation2. Persons belonging to a nation share, in general, a common culture. A state3 is a political body. The term may be used in two different senses: most commonly a state is a body possessing full sovereignty in its territory and over its inhabitants. However, a number of federations4 or federal states4 are divided into smaller units which are also called states5 and whose sovereignty is not absolute (e. g. in the United States of America and Australia). The term territory6 (301-2) is generally used for a geographical area, but it is occasionally used to denote a political unit which has been colonized or settled relatively recently. A distinction is sometimes made between self-governing territories7 and non-self-governing territories8.
Within a territory (301-2), certain terms are used for different kinds of conglomerations1 or aggregations1 of population, sometimes known as population aggregates1 or population clusters1. In rural areas, the smallest unit is a hamlet2 which generally consists of a very small collection of houses. A slightly larger conglomeration is the village3, which is generally a small community and which may have a mainly agricultural population. A town4 or city4 (303A and 303B) is a larger conglomeration in which there are in general few people engaged in agriculture, but the point at which the transition from village to town takes place is difficult to specify and varies in different countries. The seat of government of a territory in the sense of 305-1 is called its capital5. In a county, the place where the county government is situated is called the county town6 (or in the United States of America the county seat6). Towns may be divided into different districts7or quarters7 and for electoral purposes into wards7 (303A and 303B).
- 4. A very large town is sometimes called a metropolis — metropolitan adj. town n. — urban adj.
Continuous built-up areas may arise through the coalescence of neighbouring localities which, whilst retaining their administrative independence, may in fact form one agglomeration1, containing a central city2 and suburbs3 with specialized functions. The term conurbation4 is generally employed to designate a number of different agglomerations which, though geographically contiguous, have retained their own individuality.
In many cases, however, the term conurbation is used as a synonym for agglomeration.
- 3. suburb n. — suburban adj.
The densely populated area contiguous to a large town is sometimes called the urban fringe.
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