20.1 Demography and Population

Scholars understand demography through various analyses. Malthusian, zero population growth, cornucopian theory, and demographic transition theories all help sociologists study demography. The earth s human population is growing quickly, especially in peripheral countries. Factors that impact population include birthrates, mortality rates, and migration, including immigration and emigration. There are numerous potential outcomes of the growing population, and sociological perspectives vary on the potential effect of these increased numbers. The growth will pressure the already taxed planet and its natural resources. Chapter 20 | Population, Urbanization, and the Environment 467

20.2 Urbanization

Cities provide numerous opportunities for their residents and offer significant benefits including access to goods to numerous job opportunities. At the same time, high population areas can lead to tensions between demographic groups, as well as environmental strain. While the population of urban dwellers is continuing to rise, sources of social strain are rising along with it. The ultimate challenge for today s urbanites is finding an equitable way to share the city s resources while reducing the pollution and energy use that negatively impacts the environment.

20.3 The Environment and Society

The area of environmental sociology is growing as extreme weather patterns and concerns over climate change increase. Human activity leads to pollution of soil, water, and air, compromising the health of the entire food chain. While everyone is at risk, poor and disadvantaged neighborhoods and nations bear a greater burden of the planet s pollution, a dynamic known as environmental racism.

Introduction to Population, Urbanization, and the Environment

  • fracking: hydraulic fracturing, a method used to recover gas and oil from shale by drilling down into the earth and directing a high-pressure mixture of water, sand, and proprietary chemicals into the rock

Section 20.1  Demography and Population

  • demography: the study of population
  • fertility rate: a measure noting the actual number of children born
  • mortality rate: a measure of the number of people in a population who die
  • asylum-seekers: those whose claim to refugee status have not been validated
  • population composition: a snapshot of the demographic profile of a population based on fertility, mortality, and migration rates
  • sex ratio: the ratio of men to women in a given population
  • population pyramid: a graphic representation that depicts population distribution according to age and sex
  • Malthusian theory: a theory asserting that population is controlled through positive checks (war, famine, disease) and preventive checks (measures to reduce fertility)
  • carrying capacity: the amount of people that can live in a given area considering the amount of available resources
  • zero population growth: a theoretical goal in which the number of people entering a population through birth or immigration is equal to the number of people leaving it via death or emigration
  • cornucopian theory: a theory that asserts human ingenuity will rise to the challenge of providing adequate resources for a growing population
  • demographic transition theory: a theory that describes four stages of population growth, following patterns that connect birth and death rates with stages of industrial development

Section 20.2  Urbanization

  • urbanization: the study of the social, political, and economic relationships of cities
  • urban sociology: the subfield of sociology that focuses on the study of urbanization
  • refugee: an individual who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster
  • internally displaced person: someone who fled his or her home while remaining inside the country s borders
  • suburbs: the communities surrounding cities, typically close enough for a daily commute
  • exurbs: communities that arise farther out than the suburbs and are typically populated by residents of high socioeconomic status
  • metropolis: the area that includes a city and its suburbs and exurbs
  • megalopolis: a large urban corridor that encompasses several cities and their surrounding suburbs and exurbs
  • white flight: the migration of economically secure white people from racially mixed urban areas toward the suburbs
  • gentrification: the entry of upper- and middle-class residents to city areas or communities that have been historically less affluent
  • sustainable development: development that occurs without depleting or damaging the natural environment,
  • human ecology: a functional perspective that looks at the relationship between people and their built and natural environment
  • concentric zone model: a model of human ecology that views cities as a series of circular rings or zones
  • NIMBY:  Not In My Back Yard, the tendency of people to protest poor environmental practices when those practices will affect them directly

Section 20.3  The Environment and Society

  • environmental sociology: the sociological subfield that addresses the relationship between humans and the environment
  • climate change: long-term shifts in temperature and climate due to human activity
  • pollution: the introduction of contaminants into an environment at levels that are damaging
  • e-waste: the disposal of broken, obsolete, and worn-out electronics
  • cancer cluster: a geographic area with high levels of cancer within its population
  • environmental racism: the burdening of economically and socially disadvantaged communities with a disproportionate share of environmental hazards

Section 20.1 Demography and Population

Population Growth
Demographic Theories
 Malthusian Theory
 Zero Population Growth
 Cornucopian Theory
 Demographic Transition Theory
Changes in U.S. Immigration Patterns and Attitudes

Section 20.2 Urbanization

The Growth of Cities
Urbanization in the United States
 Suburbs and Exurbs
Urbanization around the World
Theoretical Perspectives on Urbanization

Section 20.3 Theoretical Perspectives

Climate Change
 Toxic and Radioactive Waste
Environmental Racism

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