English I

Population and Human Settlement


 Population affects the characteristics of a nation’s politics, economy, culture, and infrastructure. The key characteristics of the population of a country or region include population distribution, population structure, and population migration. Population distribution is the population sizes of regions at a particular time. Population structure is the composition of the population of a region that denotes particular demographic attributes, including such important variables as age, sex, income, and household composition. Migration is the population movement between regions over a particular time period. Changes in population distribution come from natural increase and decrease (births and deaths) and migration. Natural increases and decreases of the population are monitored with statistics on total fertility and mortality rates. Migration, on the other hand, is affected by the geographical distribution of the political, economic, social, cultural, and spatial characteristics. Such influences function as determining factors for population influxes and outflows between regions; as a result, the socio-spatial process of migration takes place. Population migration includes regional in-migration and out-migration domestically and international migrations. Domestic migration is classified as the migration between urban and rural areas, between city and city, and among rural areas. In general, economic, demographic, and geographic factors jointly affect migration patterns.

   The following maps illustrate population distributions at the national level in Korea for every ten years since 1980. Each dot represents 1,000 persons at the city, county and district (si·gun·gu) levels. These maps enable one to identify both over-populated and under-populated areas. Population distribution patterns differ over time and they can be used to identify the growth or decline of population spatially. Understanding population distribution is of paramount importance since it is a synopsis of political, economic, social, cultural, and spatial patterns of the country at the national and regional levels. Over the past several decades the population of Korea has moved up to the north of the country and more recently into the northwest region, which suggests that the importance of the Seoul region has been growing.   A centroid is the center of a distribution of population; it is a point from which the sum of distances to all people of the country is minimized. The changing position of this centroid indicates the characteristics of population distribution change over time. As clearly shown on the map showing Korea’s centroids over the decades, the centroids shifted to the north and in particular to northwest more recently. This again implies that the importance of the Capital Region has been growing.