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The overall trend of China shows a very uneven population distribution. The country can be clearly divided into two distinct halves by the pattern of its population, the east section and the west section. The east is considerably more densely populated than the west and has areas with more than 400 people per kmï; these are situated on the central segment of the east coast and slightly further inland aswell. There are some more areas of dense population on the southeast coast of the eastern half, while what remains of the east is mostly 100-400 people per km�, with some areas of 10-100 people per kmï and even fewer areas of 10 people per kmï The west is the opposite extreme, it is very sparsely populated with a huge area where there are only 10 people per square kilometre. Although around the boarder are some slightly more densely populated areas.

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The east section of China can then be sub-divided down further into another two areas, which show internal variation. On the central section of the east and lower southeast coast there are the most highly populated areas of China, with a lot of divisions with more the 400 people per km� even more areas of 100-400 people per km�. The segments that remain in the north and south west of the eastern section are more sparsely populated with only 10-100 per kmï.

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The western section can also be broken down into two further fragments, which show internal variation. In small sparsely distributed areas all around the boarder of the western section are areas where there are 10-100 people per km� but the rest of the west is all about 10 people per kmï.

From the map I can clearly see some anomalies from the pattern that I have just described, in the eastern section there is a large portion of more than 400 people per km�, which is on the boarder between the two main segments of variation. Also in the western side there are some tiny slithers of 10-100 people per km� where I have only described the population distribution as being 10 people per km�, this is in the central portion of the west section.

In what ways to Physical Factors affect population distribution


China is divided into two main climatic regions; the north and west are semi-arid or arid, with extreme temperature variations. The south and southeast are warmer and more humid with year round rainfall. Winter temperatures vary with latitude and are warmest on the sub-tropical southeast coast where they average about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Summer temperatures are more uniform rising above 70 degrees Fahrenheit throughout China. On the southeast coast the July average is about 86 degrees Fahrenheit. In the north and west temperate summers contrast with harsh winters. In the less densely populated areas like the north and west temperatures can vary from -13 degrees Fahrenheit to 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer.

Therefore it is clear to see that the majority of the population would prefer to live in the much more comfortable climatic conditions in the southeast area of China and therefore the population distribution in these areas is far greater. Whereas in the west of China the climatic conditions are far more extreme and get excessively hot and to cold for humans, therefore you would expect much less of the population to be distributed in theses which is in fact the case in China.


The majority of the areas that are densely populated in the east are on the coast. This is because the land is these particular locations is very flat, and only just above sea level. This makes the land very easy to build on and gives a setting where a large majority of the population of china can live. The whole east section of china is relatively flat compared to the west and reaches 500m at its highest points. The west of China is considerably more hostile. Its relief ranges from 500m-4000m above sea level. This kind of relief makes construction very difficult and the only use for the land is agriculture. Therefore because of the low relief on the coast and the rest of the east of China being fairly low aswell, these areas are densely populated, whereas because the relief in the west is very hostile and difficult to negotiate the area is sparsely populated.

Water Supply:

The east and southeast sections of China have a very rich water supply from a vide diversity of rivers. This provides water for human and industrial use aswell as for agriculture. From this you would therefore expect the majority of population to live in the east where they have easy access to water. This water is provided by many rivers such as the, Han, Yuan K, Hwai-ho, Kan and Wei-ho. The west once again follows a different extreme, here there are very few rivers so water supply is bad so you would therefore expect a lower population in this area.

Other factors that influence population distribution.

Special economic zones:

The development of special economic cities was one of the main strategies under the

Seventh five-year plan, 1986-90, to promote rapid industrialisation. This has

dramatically increased the population in many places for example Shenzen. Since

1980 Shenzen has become a major industrial centre increasing its population from

30 thousand to 3 million people. The work opportunities drawing in people from the

surrounding Guangdong Province and other ports of China.

Here is a list of factors along with a description that have effected population


* The open door Policy – The open door policy allowed investors from outside of China to invest in their businesses and bring financial support and economic stability to the area. This increased jobs and increased population.

* Plentiful Labour – Because in certain regions of China labour is far cheaper than in others, so businesses can prosper. This like before increases jobs and therefore encourages a greater population

* Coastal Location – Being on the coast brings a number of benefits. Access and communications being the most important but also the ability to import and export manufacturing inputs and manufactured goods. This would encourage a greater population because of the employment opportunities as well as better living conditions in terms of climate and relief.

* Proximity to Hong-Kong – Proximity to Hong-Kong brings financial investment aswell as industry that has expanded outwards into the surrounding areas. This would provide more jobs and a better economy, which would increase population.

Raw Materials:

An area with raw materials would have a booming industrial industry and would therefore require a great deal of workers which would finally lead to a larger population in that area.

Autonomous Areas:

Some places in China such as the majority of the west have been classified as Autonomous areas which means they are self-ruling and independent so therefore get hardly any help from the government. This means that these locations have to rely on agriculture for their population’s food and economy. These areas therefore do not have a large population and are not expected to increase due to lack of aid, support and finance.

Priority Development Zones:

Some cities on the east coast have been designated as priority development zones. These areas include Hainan Island, Shenzhen, and Xiamen. These cities are going to receive a lot of financial aid and help from the government which will dramatically help theses places to develop and will lead to a much greater population.

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Kylie Garcia

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