Barcelona Field Studies Centre

Edexcel GCSE Geography Syllabus A Unit A2 (core): The Human World


Key Ideas


Content detail

2.1 Rates of population change vary from place to place and over time

• Global population change.

• The balance between birth rate and death rate.


• Change due to migration.

• Reasons for changing patterns of birth rates and death rates.

• The demographic transition model.


• Change in numbers over the past 2000 years; predicted change.

• The contribution of birth rate and death rate to population change; an overview of the differences between patterns in LEDCs and MEDCs.

• The effect of emigration and immigration on population numbers.

• Medical, social, economic and political influences.

• The characteristics of the four stages of the demographic transition model, and reasons why societies might move from one stage to another; an awareness that the model is not universally applicable and is dynamic.

2.2 Population structure and characteristics vary from place to place.

• Characteristics including age, sex, ethnic, religious and occupational structure.


• Population pyramids.



• Differences between rural and urban populations.

• The impact of youthful and ageing populations, and the dependency ratio.

• An overview of differences between LEDCs and MEDCs; the fact that this information is collected in a census.

• Population pyramids as a way of representing age and sex balance, and changing population characteristics (eg decreasing birth rate, bulge due to migration).

• Differences in characteristics, including age and occupational structure.


• Impacts on provision of social services (health, education, housing, pensions)
and employment. Calculating the dependency ratio.

2.3 People live in a variety of settlements of different sizes. These settlements are often made up of distinct zones.

• Physical and economic factors affecting the location, shape and growth of settlements.


• A study of one urban area in an MEDC and one in an LEDC to describe and explain the characteristics and locations of the CBD, twilight zone, industrial areas and different residential zones.

• Site descriptions (eg, dry point, bridging point); physical factors (eg, drainage, gradient, water supply); economic factors (eg, transport links, mineral resources, port functions).The use of OS and sketch maps and photographs to identify locational factors.

• The different typical patterns of an MEDC city and one in an LEDC. Reasons for the patterns in relation to a case study of a city in each type of country (eg, why high quality housing tends to be found around the northern edge of Barcelona, but near the middle of Sao Paulo).