AskDefine | Define population

Dictionary Definition



1 the people who inhabit a territory or state; "the population seemed to be well fed and clothed"
2 a group of organisms of the same species populating a given area; "they hired hunters to keep down the deer population"
3 (statistics) the entire aggregation of items from which samples can be drawn; "it is an estimate of the mean of the population" [syn: universe]
4 the number of inhabitants (either the total number or the number of a particular race or class) in a given place (country or city etc.); "people come and go, but the population of this town has remained approximately constant for the past decade"; "the African-American population of Salt Lake City has been increasing"
5 the act of populating (causing to live in a place); "he deplored the population of colonies with convicted criminals"

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. a count of the number of residents within a political or geographical boundary such as a town, a nation or the world
  2. (collective) the people living within a political or geographical boundary
  1. The town’s population is only 243.
  2. The population of New Jersey will not stand for this!


number of residents in a given area
people living within a political or geographical boundary

Translations to be checked

Extensive Definition

In sociology and biology a population is the collection of inter-breeding organisms of a particular species. A population shares a particular characteristic of interest most often that of living in a given geographic area. In taxonomy population is a low-level taxonomic rank.
Human populations can be defined by many characteristics such as mortality, migration, family (marriage and divorce), public health, work and the labor force, and family planning. Various aspects of human behavior in populations are also studied in sociology, economics, and geography.
Study of populations is almost always governed by the laws of probability, and the conclusions of the studies may thus not always be applicable to some individuals. This odd factor may be reduced by statistical means, but such a generalization may be too vague to imply anything. Demography is used extensively in marketing, which relates to economic units, such as retailers, to potential customers. For example, a coffee shop that wants to sell to a younger audience looks at the demographics of an area to be able to appeal to this younger audience.

World Population

According to papers published by the United States Census Bureau, the world population hit 6.5 billion (6,500,000,000) on January 25 2006. The United Nations Population Fund designated October 12 1999 as the approximate day on which world population reached 6 billion. This was about 12 years after world population reached 5 billion, in 1987. However, the population of some countries, such as Nigeria, is not even known to the nearest million, so there is a considerable margin of error in such estimates.
In 2008 the United Nations Population Division projected that the world's population will likely surpass 9 billion in 2050. The last 50 years have seen a rapid increase in population due to medical advances and substantial increase in agricultural productivity, particularly in the period 1960 to 1995 made by the Green Revolution.

Population control

Population control is the practice of curtailing population increase, usually by reducing the birth rate. Surviving records from Ancient Greece document the first known examples of population control. These include the colonization movement, which saw Greek outposts being built across the Mediterranean and Black Sea basins to accommodate the excess population of individual states. Infanticide, including abortion, was encouraged in some Greek city states in order to keep population down.
An important example of mandated population control is China's one-child policy, in which having more than one child is made extremely unattractive. This has led to allegations that practices like forced abortions, forced sterilization, and infanticide are used as a result of the policy. The country's sex ratio at birth of 112 boys to 100 girls may be evidence that the latter is often sex-selective. However, other countries without a one-child policy also have similar sex ratios.
It is helpful to distinguish between fertility control as individual decision-making and population control as a governmental or state-level policy of regulating population growth. Fertility control may occur when individuals or couples or families take steps to decrease or to regulate the timing of their own child-bearing. In Ansley Coale's oft-cited formulation, three preconditions for a sustained decline in fertility are: (1) acceptance of calculated choice (as opposed to fate or chance or divine will) as a valid element in fertility, (2) perceived advantages from reduced fertility, and (3) knowledge and mastery of effective techniques of control. In contrast to a society with natural fertility, a society that desires to limit fertility and has the means to do so may use those means to delay childbearing, space childbearing, or stop childbearing. Delaying sexual intercourse (or marriage), or the adoption of natural or artificial means of contraception are most often an individual or family decision, not a matter of a state policy or societal-wide sanctions. On the other hand, individuals who assume some sense of control over their own fertility can also accelerate the frequency or success of child-bearing through planning.
At the societal level, declining fertility is almost an inevitable result of growing secular education of women . However, the exercise of moderate to high levels of fertility control does not necessarily imply low fertility rates. Even among societies that exercise substantial fertility control, societies with an equal ability to exercise fertility control (to determine how many children to have and when to bear them) may display widely different levels of fertility (numbers of children borne) associated with individual and cultural preferences for the number of children or size of families.
In contrast to fertility control, which is mainly an individual-level decision, governments may attempt to exercise population control by increasing access to means of contraception or by other population policies and programs.For a discussion of the range of "population policy" options available to governments, see Paul Demeny, "Population Policy: A Concise Summary," Population Council, Policy Research Division, Working Paper No. 173 (2003) The idea of "population control" as a governmental or societal-level regulation of population growth does not require "fertility control" in the sense that it has been defined above, since a state can affect the growth of a society's population even if that society practices little fertility control. It's also important to embrace policies favoring population increase as an aspect of population control, and not to assume that states want to control population only by limiting its growth. To stimulate population growth, governments may support not only immigration but also pronatalist policies such as tax benefits, financial awards, paid work leaves, and childcare to encourage the bearing of additional children. Such policies have been pursued in recent years in France and Sweden, for example. With the same goal of increasing population growth, on occasion governments have sought to limit the use of abortion or modern means of birth control. An example was Romania's 1966 ban on access to contraception and abortion on demand.
In ecology, population control is on occasions considered to be done solely by predators, diseases, parasites, and environmental factors. At many times human effects on animal and plant populations are also considered. See also Migrations of animals may be seen as a natural way of population control, for the food on land is more abundant on some seasons. The area of the migrations' start is left to reproduce the food supply for large mass of animals next time around. See also immigration.


External links

population in Afrikaans: Bevolking
population in Amharic: የዓለም የህዝብ ብዛት
population in Arabic: تعداد السكان
population in Asturian: Población
population in Min Nan: Jîn-kháu
population in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Насельніцтва
population in Breton: Poblañs
population in Bulgarian: Население
population in Catalan: Població mundial
population in Chuvash: Халăх йышě
population in Czech: Obyvatelstvo
population in Welsh: Poblogaeth
population in Danish: Befolkning
population in German: Bevölkerung
population in Estonian: Rahvaarv
population in Modern Greek (1453-): Πληθυσμός
population in Spanish: Población
population in Esperanto: Loĝantaro
population in French: Population
population in Western Frisian: Befolking
population in Friulian: Popolazion
population in Classical Chinese: 人口
population in Korean: 인구
population in Hindi: जनसंख्या
population in Croatian: Stanovništvo
population in Icelandic: Fólksfjöldi
population in Italian: Popolazione
population in Hebrew: אוכלוסייה
population in Javanese: Pedunung
population in Georgian: მოსახლეობა
population in Haitian: Popilasyon
population in Latvian: Iedzīvotāju skaits
population in Lithuanian: Populiacija
population in Hungarian: Populáció
population in Dutch: Bevolking
population in Japanese: 人口
population in Norwegian: Befolkning
population in Occitan (post 1500): Populacion
population in Portuguese: População
population in Romanian: Populaţie
population in Russian: Население Земли
population in Simple English: Population
population in Slovenian: Prebivalstvo
population in Sundanese: Populasi
population in Finnish: Väkiluku
population in Swedish: Befolkning
population in Tagalog: Populasyon
population in Telugu: జనాభా
population in Thai: ประชากร
population in Turkish: Dünya nüfusu
population in Udmurt: Улӥсьёс
population in Venetian: Popołazsion
population in Vlaams: Bevolkienge
population in Yiddish: באפעלקערונג
population in Zeeuws: Bevolkienge
population in Chinese: 人口

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Beehive, Cepheid variable, Everyman, Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, Hyades, John Doe, Messier catalog, NGC, Pleiades, Public, Seven Sisters, absolute magnitude, anchorage, binary star, black hole, body politic, citizenry, citizens, colonization, common man, commonwealth, community, community at large, double star, dwarf star, empeoplement, establishment, estate, everybody, everyman, everyone, everywoman, fixation, fixed star, folk, folks, foundation, general public, gentry, giant star, globular cluster, gravity star, inauguration, inhabitants, inhabiting, initiation, installation, installment, investiture, lodgment, magnitude, main sequence star, mass-luminosity law, men, mooring, nation, nationality, neutron star, nova, open cluster, people, people in general, peoplement, peopling, persons, plantation, polity, populace, populations, public, pulsar, quasar, quasi-stellar radio source, radio star, red giant star, relative magnitude, settlement, settling, sky atlas, society, spectrum-luminosity diagram, star, star catalog, star chart, star cloud, star cluster, state, stellar magnitude, supernova, variable star, white dwarf star, world, you and me
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1