# Australian Bureau of Statistics

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 GEO 04 – Population Density

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Subject Area

Geography

Suggested Level

Years 9–10

Overview

The distribution of population may be illustrated in a number of different ways. GEO_03 illustrated the use of dot maps. This activity uses information from the Year Book Australia, 2008 (cat. no. 1301.0) to calculate and map population density for the states and territories of Australia. The advantages and disadvantages of displaying the data in this way are examined.

Requirements

• Sweets/lollies and paper/card squares (optional)
• Attachment, Map of Australian states and territories

Instructions

The concept of population density may be introduced using a number of small "lollies" and a small square of plain paper or card. The card represents one square kilometre. Density is altered by the addition of "lollies" to the paper/card square.

Population density is the number of people per square kilometre. The formula for calculating density is shown below.

Population Density = Number of People/Area of land (square kilometres)

1. Ask students to use the formula to calculate population density and complete Table 1. Correct answers are shown in section 7.

 TABLE 1: POPULATION by state and territory, 30th June 2006 State/Territory Population Estimated Area (km2) Density of Population People per square kilometre Australian Capital Territory 334 200 2 358 New South Wales 6 817 200 800 642 Northern Territory 210 700 1 349 129 Queensland 4 091 500 1 730 648 South Australia 1 568 200 983 482 Tasmania 489 900 68 401 Victoria 5 128 300 227 416 Western Australia 2 059 000 2 529 875 Australia(a) 20 701 500 7 692 024
Source: Year Book Australia, 2008 (cat. No. 1301.0) Table 7.3 and Table 1.1
(a ) Includes Other Territories. Other Territories comprise Jervis Bay Territory, Christmas Island and the Cocos(Keeling) Islands.

2. Use the data from the table and Figure 1 to display the density of population for Australia’s states and territories. Remember to add BOLTSS
(border, orientation, legend, title, scale and source) to the map.

At this point ask students to either:
• identify the categories for the data, or
• use the categories provided below.
• – 100+ people per square kilometre
– 20-99 people per square kilometre
– 2-9 people per square kilometre
– < 2 people per square kilometre.

FIGURE 1: MAP OF AUSTRALIA

3. Identify one advantage and one disadvantage of representing the information about the population in a population density map.

 TABLE 1: DENSITY OF POPULATION FOR AUSTRALIAN STATES AND TERRITORIES, 2006 State/Territory Population Estimated Area (km2) Density of Population People per square kilometre Australian Capital Territory 334200 2358 141.7 New South Wales 6817200 800642 8.5 Northern Territory 210700 1349129 0.2 Queensland 4091500 1730648 2.4 South Australia 1568200 983482 1.6 Tasmania 489900 68401 7.2 Victoria 5128300 227416 22.6 Western Australia 2059000 2529875 0.8 Australia 20701500 7692024 2.7

Source: Yearbook Australia, 2008 (cat.no. 1301.0)

Glossary

Distribution of Population
is the spread or arrangement of something over an area.

Density of Population is the number of people per square kilometre.

References

Student Activity

Teacher Solutions

Attachments