Copper - Worksheet - Population Growth [ Biz/ed Virtual Developing Country ]


This worksheet deals with a variety of issues relating to the causes and effects of population growth in Less Developed Countries. The population of a country grows for two reasons. Firstly there may be an increase in the natural rate of growth. Secondly the population can change as a result of migration. In the case of Zambia there has been an increase in the natural rate of population growth. However, rural urban migration has played an important part in influencing the distribution of population. It has one of the highly urbanised populations in Africa.

Step 1

Review your understanding of the following terms:

  • natural rate of population growth
  • crude birth rates
  • crude death rates

You may find the glossary helpful.

Have a look also at the causes and impact of population growth issue on the Copper Tour, before trying these questions.

1. Use the data in the resources section to complete the following table:

  Crude Birth rate Crude Death rate Natural rate of population growth Population doubling time GDP per capita
United Kingdom          

2. If the present growth rates continued what would be the expected population of Zambia in? (show your workings):

a) 2005

b) 2025

c) 2050

3. Do the countries with the highest rates of population growth rates tend to have low GDP per capita? (Justify your answer by referring to the data)

4. Write a paragraph explaining why countries that have high levels of poverty also have high natural rates of population growth.

Step 2

Review the theory section models of demographic transition on the Copper Tour before trying the questions below:

1.Using the data from the resources section and a spreadsheet plot the data for population growth rates for the following countries; Zambia, Japan, Netherlands, United Kingdom, USA between 1965 and 1998.

2. For each country describe how the population has changed over time. Comment on the change and the rate of change. Suggest reasons for the changes that you observe.

3. Give two arguments why Japan might want to see its population growth rate increase

4. Give two arguments why Zambia might want to see its population growth rate fall.

Step 3

In Zambia the rapidly growing population has been responsible for the continued growth in towns and cities. Initially the growth in the copper industry attracted labour to the towns and industrial areas of the copper belt. However, despite the decline in the copper industry there is still a considerable amount of migration from rural to urban areas.

1. Using the data from the resources section and a spreadsheet plot:

a) the data for the urban population from 1965 to 1998

b) the data for the urban population as a percentage of the total population

2. Describe the trends that you see in the two sets of data.

Undoubtedly there are a series of pull factors attracting people to the cities and push factors pushing people away from the rural areas.

3. Visit the various destinations on the Farming Tour and the Copper Tour and look at the issues raised. Then list all the push and pull factors causing rural to urban migration.

One of the impacts of a rapidly growing urban population is that there are insufficient employment opportunities for those that wish to work. Many who do not find formal employment enter the informal sector.

4. List six activities that might be undertaken in the informal sector

5. Consider the data set in the resources section on formal and informal employment and complete the following table:

  1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Number of people in the informal sector          
Total Employment          
% of total employment made up by the informal sector          

In Lusaka and other urban areas the Zambian government have been reluctant to act against informal sector production.

6. Can you suggest two economic reasons why the government has given the informal sector this implicit support?