population

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population

  1. the total number of people resident in a country at a particular point in time. The UK, for example, had a population of 59 million people in 2004. The size of the population is determined by past and present birth and death rates, together with net migration trends – the number of people leaving the country to live abroad (emigration) compared with the number entering the country to take up residence (immigration). The UK birth rate is currently 11 births per 1000 of the population per annum and the death rate 10 per 1000 of the population per annum. In most advanced countries, both birth and death rates have declined over the long run because of rising living standards and improved medical care; this has produced slow-growing, ageing populations.

    The total size of the population and its composition in terms of proportion of males to females and age-group distributions, combined with various SOCIOECONOMIC factors influencing buying characteristics, are important to businesses in assessing the market potential for their products.

  2. all possible observations of a certain phenomenon in statistical analysis, for example incomes of all people resident in a country. Where it is too time-consuming and expensive to record all possible observations it is necessary to take a SAMPLE, for example the incomes of 1000 citizens, and generalize about the incomes of all citizens from this sample. See STATISTICAL INFERENCE.
Populationclick for a larger image
Fig. 144 Population. The UK birth and death rates, measured in numbers per 1,000 of the population, from 1740 to 2004.

population

the total number of people resident in a country. The size of the population is determined by past and present BIRTH RATES and DEATH RATES as well as MIGRATION trends. In most advanced industrial countries, both birth and death rates have declined over the long run (see DEMOGRAPHIC TRANSITION), which has produced slow-growing populations. The size and growth of a country's population determine the size of the LABOUR FORCE that is available to produce output, a country's GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT divided by its population providing a measure of the country's general prosperity (see INCOME PER HEAD). In 2004 the UK's population was 59 million (see Fig. 144 ). By comparison, the population of Germany was 82 million, the USA 288 million, Japan 127 million, India 1,048 million and China 1,281 million.