# Australian Bureau of Statistics

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 GEO 05 – Population of Australian Capital Cities

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Subject

Geography

Suggested Level

Years 8–10

Overview

This classroom activity compares the size of Australia’s state capitals and develops the use of proportional symbols to represent the data. There are two opportunities for extension. For a more accurate representation of the data, proportional circles may be drawn by making calculations of the areas of a circle. A second option for extension involves the integration of the statistics into a geographic information system (GIS) in order to develop the skills of digital thematic mapping.

Requirements

• Map of Australia showing states and territories
• Tracing paper
• Computer and GIS software

Instructions

Australia's Estimated Resident Population at December 2008 was 21 644 000 people (Australian Demographic Statistics, Dec 2008, cat # 3101.0). Australia's population density at December 2008 was 2.8 people per square kilometre (sq.km). However, population density is much higher in major cities.

1. Using Table 1, ask students to rank Australian capital cities according to the size of their population and complete column (a).

2. Ask students to estimate the population of Australian capital cities and complete column (b) in Table 1.

 TABLE 1. RANK AND POPULATION OF AUSTRALIA’S CAPITAL CITIES Capital City (a) Rank (1-8) according to the size of population. (b) Estimate the population of Australian capital cities. (c) Population Capital City Statistical Division, June 2006 Adelaide Brisbane Canberra Darwin Greater Hobart Melbourne Perth Sydney

3. Using a map of Australia showing states and territory boundaries (see map attached), ask students to represent their estimate of population from column (b) in Table 1 by sketching a proportional symbol located over each capital city. For a more accurate representation of the population of each capital city, refer to Extension 1.

4. Provide students with the population for each state capital as shown in the ‘Answer’ section, Table 2, below and ask students to update their copy of Table 1. Using a tracing overlay ask students to sketch proportional symbols to represent the population of capital city.

5. Compare the maps produced in 3 and 4 above. How accurately did students predict the size of Australian capital cities? How well did they know the size of their own state capital city?

Extension

1. Represent the area of each capital city as a proportional circle drawn accurately to scale. The instructions for calculating proportional circles are shown below.
When proportional circles are used, the area of the circle represents the population of the city. To draw a circle the radius must first be calculated. This is done by obtaining the square root of each capital city population and choosing an appropriate scale to represent the data.

Population of city (P) is to be represented by the area of a circle = Πr2 . Therefore the radius is proportional to the square root of the population.

When all radii have been calculated choose a suitable scale to represent the data. On an Australian map (A4) size, then a scale for each radius could be 1mm represents 100 people.

Example: Brisbane

Population = 1,810,900 and radius is represented by √1,810,900 = 1345.70 If 1 mm is used to represent a radius of 100 then Brisbane would be represented by a circle with radius of 13.5mm.

This activity could be delivered with the aid of a geographic information system. The thematic mapping capability could be used to accurately draw the proportional symbols

 TABLE 2. POPULATION OF AUSTRALIA'S CAPITAL CITIES, JUNE 2006 Capital city (a) Rank (101508) according to the size of population. (b) Estimate the population of Australian capital cities. Population capital city statistical division, June 2006 Adelaide 1 146 119 Brisbane 1 820 400 Canberra 333 940 Darwin 114 368 Greater Hobart 205 566 Melbourne 3 744 373 Perth 1 519 510 Sydney 4 284 379
Source: Table 7.19, Year Book Australia, 2008 (cat # 1301)

 TABLE 3. CALCULATIONS FOR CREATION OF PROPORTIONAL SYMBOLS TO REPRESENT THE POPULATION OF AUSTRALIA'S CAPITAL CITIES Capital city Population capital city statistical division, June 2006 Square root of population Possible scale for A4 map (1mm represents 100 people) Adelaide 1 146 119 1070.57 10.7 Brisbane 1 820 400 1349.22 13.5 Canberra 333 940 577.88 5.8 Darwin 114 368 338.18 3.4 Greater Hobart 205 566 453.39. 4.5 Melbourne 3 744 373 1935.04 19.4 Perth 1 519 510 1232.68 12.3 Sydney 4 284 379 2069.87 20.7

Glossary

Estimated Resident Population (ERP)
Is the count of all people regardless of citizenship and nationality, who usually live in Australia, with the exception of foreign diplomats and their families. It is the official measure of the Australian population.

Proportional symbols
Symbols used on a map where the size of the symbol is proportional to the value it represents.

References

Note: Links to ABS publications are to the most recent release. Previous releases can be accessed by selecting the Past and Future Releases tab.

Year Book Australia, 2008 (cat no 1301.0)

Student Activity

Teacher Solutions

Attachments