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Demographic Diversity

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Demographic Diversity

Isn't it exciting when a place is home to lots of different people? Wouldn't life be boring if we were all the same? Diverse populations can help to shape the character of places across the world. As well as simply stopping things from getting boring, diversity is also an important way to measure development and is an essential part of achieving social justice. Demographic diversity can be different from place to place and can focus on different factors and characteristics.

Demographic diversity definition

When we talk about demographics, we are talking about the ways that a population can be divided into smaller groups, such as by gender, age, class, ethnicity and population density. Therefore, demographic diversity relates to differences within a population. Demographic diversity is important in geography because it can be a key indicator of a country's development and socioeconomic circumstances. A more diverse demographic is often found in more developed places. Let's think about London: the population of London is incredibly diverse, representing people of different genders, ages, classes, religions and ethnicities.

A diverse population is a group of people who differ in terms of one of more characteristics, such as by gender, age, class and ethnicity.

Often, where you hear the word 'diversity', you will also hear the term 'inclusion'. While you might hear these words together, it is important to remember that they actually mean different things! One key way to remember the difference between the two is through this quote:

Diversity is about inviting everyone to the party. Inclusion is about encouraging everyone to dance. - Vernā Myers

Let's think about what this quote is actually saying. While a population may represent different genders, ages, classes and ethnicities and therefore be deemed diverse, it may not be inclusive. This could be because certain members of that diverse population may not be given the same opportunities as other members or may be restricted from certain spaces that others aren't.

Some people cannot fully participate in society because of their gender, race, age or class. Women in the UK won the right to vote in 1928- the population was not inclusive as they could not fully participate in society. In the same way, racial segregation movements (e.g. the apartheid in South Africa) are examples of populations being diverse but not inclusive.

Types of demographic diversity

There are 4 types of demographic diversity: internal, external, organisational and worldview. Our diverse population definition mainly focused on internal demographic diversity, but it is important to consider all 4 types:

  • Internal diversity refers to differences in natural characteristics/factors, e.g. gender, ethnicity, age, and nationality at birth.
  • External diversity also refers to differences in people's characteristics, but ones that can be controlled and changed. Examples of external diversity include religious beliefs, socioeconomic status and education.
  • Organisational diversity refers to differences in characteristics that are given to people by organisations. This can be things like employment status, how high up you are in a company or even where you work.
  • Worldview diversity literally refers to differences in people's views of the world. These views can change over time, and as a result of and in response to many different factors. An example of worldview diversity is differences in political beliefs.

From this, it is clear that there are many ways in which a population can be classified as a diverse population. When we divide a population up in different ways to look at the demographics, we can see this diversity.

If you want to refer to the different types of demographic diversity in an exam, you might want to look at census data. The data recorded in a census divides the population by certain internal, external and organisational factors.

What causes demographic diversity?

There are many different factors which can contribute to or even reduce the diversity of a population, including:

  • Migration
  • Birth rates and death rates
  • Development
  • Globalisation

Diversity, Mexico Day, StudySmarterThe Mexican diaspora celebrating El Día de México in Germany, Jurgen/ Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-2.0

Migration

The movement and resettling of people within and between countries is a key driver of changes in demographic diversity. Our article on Migration explains that people move for many reasons. One type of migration is economic migration. This involves the movement of people to allow them to take economic opportunities, like new jobs. If lots of people move from one country to another to look for work, this impacts the demographic diversity of both the origin country and the host (or new) country. This is because the original country might lose a significant part of their economically active, adult population, whereas the host country may gain many economically active people of different beliefs, religions and ethnicities.

Birth rates and death rates

As you probably know, birth rates and death rates significantly affect the size of a population. What might be less obvious is that these rates can also influence demographic diversity. If the birth rate is low and the death rate is high, the population can be classed as an ageing population. Eventually, this will reduce the demographic diversity of that population in terms of age.

Many countries, such as Japan, Italy and France, have ageing populations. Although all 3 of these countries can be argued to have diverse populations in some respects, it is looking like the demographic diversity of each (in terms of age) is at risk if the birth rate does not increase.

Development

When a country undergoes development, it often develops greater demographic diversity. Development encourages migration, a wider variety of job titles, differing educational opportunities and disposable income to allow for changes in socioeconomic circumstances. As we discussed earlier, differences between people related to all of these factors result in diversity. Therefore, the development of a country often coincides with increased demographic diversity.

Globalisation

The world is becoming increasingly interconnected because of the globalisation process. The increased flows of people (by migration) are encouraging the emergence of a 'world village', in which cultures are becoming connected. While this increases demographic diversity across the world, some would argue that globalisation could also be causing a reduction in demographic diversity. Why? Globalisation is responsible for creating uniformity across the world. Cultural erosion is seen to be a common side effect of a globalising world as people begin to adopt global cultural norms. Therefore, globalisation can be argued to both increase and decrease demographic diversity depending on which metrics/factors are being considered.

You can read all about globalisation, its causes and its implications in our Globalising World article.

Workforce demographics and diversity

While in geography we tend to focus on the study of the demographic diversity of places, the diverse demographics of workforces can also be studied. Diverse demographics in the workplace are important to encourage innovation, creativity and adequate representation of the wider population. This is important in making sure that companies perform to the best of their ability. Nowadays, there is more public pressure to have a diverse workforce demographic. If you take a look at most companies, there are policies in place to ensure that people of different genders, races, sexual orientations and classes are included in the workforce.

In most countries, it is now illegal to deny somebody employment or a promotion because of any of the 'protected characteristics' (a series of characteristics that are frequently and historically discriminated against, like gender and race). It is also illegal to deny or end employment based on pregnancy status too. This is a legal measure taken to encourage a diverse workforce and prevent discrimination.

Diversity - Key takeaways

  • Diversity in a population refers to the presence of differences in internal, external, organisational and worldview factors.
  • Where diversity involves the representation of different characteristics, inclusion allows all people to participate fully in society.
  • Demographic diversity is influenced by many factors, including migration, birth and death rates, development and globalisation.
  • As well as within places, diversity is important in the populations of workforces to encourage innovation, creativity and adequate representation of wider populations.

Frequently Asked Questions about Demographic Diversity

Diversity is created by the presence of differences between certain characteristics of a population, e.g. gender, ethnicity and class.

Diversity is an important indicator of development. It is important for innovation, creation and the representation of people. It also helps to foster and encourage social justice.

Diversity can be internal, external, organisational or worldview.

Demographic diversity can come from differences in gender, ethnicity, age, class, educational background, socioeconomic status, religion and political beliefs. It can be increased/decreased by migration, birth and death rates, development and globalisation.

Demographics is the breakdown of people based on a given characteristic. Diversity is the present differences between these characteristics within the population/demographic.

Final Demographic Diversity Quiz

Question

How many main effects does Internal Migration have on the UK?

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Answer

4: Deindustrialisation, Young Workers, Regional Variations in Population and Average Age by Region

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What is Internal Migration?

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Answer

The act of moving inside a country, it can be between cities or from an urban area to a rural one.

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Has Deindustrialisation caused young workers to move North or South?


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Answer

South

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Which areas have gained the most young workers?


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Answer

The South East and South West.

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Question

How much does London’s population grow each year?


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Answer

1.4%

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Which region has the oldest average age? London, Scotland or the South West?


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The South West

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Why does London have such a young average age of 34?


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Answer

Because many young workers move to the city from across the country.

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Question

What is the name of the group of countries that joined the EU in 2004? A6, A8 or A10?


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Answer

A8

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Which of the following is not a country in the A8? Lithuania, Slovenia, Hungary or France?


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Answer

France

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Question

How many people move into the UK each year?


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Answer

Approximately 130,000 (in 2020)

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Question

Which of the three main groups that have moved to the UK is missing? A8 countries, Polish and Lithuanian.


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Answer

East African

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Question

What is the most common country from East Africa whose population migrates to the UK?


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Answer

Somalia

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From which decades did people begin to move to the UK after colonial rule break down?

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Answer

50s to 70s

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From which subcontinent does the UK receive a large amount of migrants?


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Answer

Indian

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True or false? People moved from East African countries, such as Somalia, for a better quality of life?


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Answer

True

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Question

Which two Eastern European countries, that are not part of the A8, make up a large movement of migrants?


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Answer

Poland and Lithuania

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Question

Which industries in Northern Scotland had their jobs filled by migrants?


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Answer

Fishing, fish processing and fish packaging

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True or False? Lincolnshire had the education industry filled with new migrant workers. 

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Answer

False, they filled the food and farming industry.

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What is the name for the group of migrants who moved to the UK in the mid 20th century from the Caribbean?


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Answer

Windrush Generation

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Define International Migration


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Answer

International Migration is the act of somebody moving to another country.

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Question

What are three main types of segregation?

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Answer

Economic, ethnic, and gender segregation.

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What is segregation?

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Answer

The splitting of groups or individuals by society or the state/government.

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What is economic segregation?


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Answer

The separation of people based on money or class.

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What is ethnic/racial segregation?


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The separation of races and being treated differently based on ethnicity.

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What is gender segregation?


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Gender segregation, also known as sex segregation, is when men and women are physically, legally and/or culturally separated based on their biological sex.  

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Which Act was signed in 1964 to crush institutional discrimination and racial segregation in the US?


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Answer

The Civil Rights Act

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True or false? Segregation only affects a small portion of the world.


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Answer

False, it affects the entire world.

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Question

Give an example of segregation that wealthy people face.


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Answer

Russian migrants living in expensive areas of London.

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True or false? Bangladeshi migrants are often forced into high concentration areas with low quality of life.


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Answer

True

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Question

Which of these is not a problem poorer people face?


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Answer

Ageing population

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Question

True or false? Segregated areas can cause alienation between different groups


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Answer

True

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Question

Can segregation in an area improve over time?


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Answer

Yes, however, in other areas it can worsen.

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Question

Name two groups that have continued to raise ethnic hostility in modern times.


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Answer

The EDL and KKK

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True or False? Perceptions of poor people have made it easier to climb out of poverty.


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Answer

False

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Question

Which of the following is not a positive change to segregation?


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Answer

The growing differences between classes.

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Question

What is the difference between conflict and tension?

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Answer

Tension occurs when a circumstance causes hostility, anger, annoyance, and/or unease amongst people. Conflict, however, involves a disagreement or confrontation in which there are two or more sides of differing views and/or beliefs.

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True or false: tension and conflict mean the same thing.

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Answer

False

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How does conflict cause tension?


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Answer

Conflict can cause tension because, since the dawn of nuclear weaponry, the presence of conflict has the potential to have widespread impacts. This would create tension in removed places that could still be negatively affected.

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How does tension cause conflict?

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Answer

Through escalating into an active disagreement

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Question

Name some examples of conflicts

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Answer

protests/demonstrations; strikes; petitions; vandalism and violence (e.g. war). 

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Question

True or false: many of the drivers of tension and conflict have remained the same since the emergence of civilisations in the Holocene.

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Answer

True

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Question

Name some potential causes of tension and conflict.

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Answer

  • Competition over resources

  • Unequal power relations

  • Economic/social inequalities

  • Disagreement over beliefs/contrasting traditions

  • Resource scarcity

  • Lack of (sound) governance

  • Economic dependence

  • Exploitation (e.g. by TNCs)

  • Invasion 

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Question

What is an interpersonal tension/conflict?

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Answer

An interpersonal tension/conflict is a conflict that happens between two individuals

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What is an intragroup tension/conflict?

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Answer

Intragroup tension/conflict occurs within a societal group

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Question

What type of conflict best describes the following?

Two societal groups are in tension/conflict with each other.

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Answer

Intergroup

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True or false: conflicts and tensions are classified by different types

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Answer

False

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Question

True or false: tension always comes before a conflict

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Answer

False

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Question

True or false: conflict can sometimes lead to tension

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Answer

True

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Question

Why did civilisations emerge during the Holocene?

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Answer

Favourable climatic conditions and agricultural revolutions

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Question

True or false: a conflict now has the potential to destroy the planet

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Answer

True

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