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Carrying Capacity: The largest population that the
resources of a given environment can support.
Optimum Population: Theoretical state in which the
number of people when working with all the available
resources will produce the highest per capita economic
return i.e. the highest standard of living. Quality of life
will fall if population increases or decreases.
This is dynamic as changes overtime e.g. (Age / Sex
ratios, new findings and technology)
Standard of living=
Natural resources (minerals, energy soil etc) X Technology
Overpopulation: Too many people, relative to the
resources and technology and locally available to obtain
an adequate standard of living.
e.g. Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India etc are said to be
overpopulated due to insufficient food, minerals and
energy resources to sustain populations.
These countries often suffer from Natural disasters e.g.
Drought and famine.
Underpopulation: Far too many resources in an
area e.g. food, energy and minerals that can be used
by the number of people living there. E.g. Canada’s
total population is 30 million and it could double its
population and still maintain its standard of living.
Increased exports etc could increase its standard of
Is there a correlation between pop density and
over/under population.- Answer No Why?
Is it related to GDP per capita? Answer NOWhy?
The balance within a country may also be uneven
therefore there can be different levels of over, under
population etc e.g. regional differences and National.
The balance may also vary between different resources
e.g. lots of energy but little food.
Read Waugh, page 376 and summarise the information in
the case studies on Bangladesh and Canada.