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Articles in Population Geography

State-Level Secession Movements in the United States: Northern Colorado and Jefferson

By Martin W. Lewis | October 9, 2013 | 21 Comments

The intense political polarization of the United States is most clearly reflected by the dysfunctional nature of the federal government. At a more local scale, it is seen as well in the growing movement to create new states by splitting existing ones. Most of these cases involve the desire of people in rural, conservative counties to secede from the more …

Dan Brown, Overpopulation, and the Plunging Fertility Rates of Turkey and Iran

By Martin W. Lewis | May 21, 2013 | 14 Comments

Global overpopulation has recently returned to the public spotlight with the publication of Inferno, the latest offering from novelist Dan Brown, author of the 2003 blockbuster The Da Vinci Code. A mystery thriller on the surface, Inferno is ultimately a piece of demographic fiction. As one reviewer notes, “The specter of a catastrophically overpopulated Earth, its desperate people grasping and …

Television and Fertility in India: Response to Critics

By Martin W. Lewis | May 16, 2013 | 8 Comments

(Note to readers: My recent blog post on television and fertility in India has attracted some attention, including a detailed critique on the blog Challenging Civilization. This post is my response to this critique.)
First, I would like to thank Tom Smith at Challenging Civilization for taking the time write a thoughtful critique of my blog post on television and fertility …

India’s Plummeting Birthrate: A Television-Induced Transformation?

By Martin W. Lewis | May 7, 2013 | 27 Comments

(Note: As can be seen, GeoCurrents has a new, more streamlined appearance. The “GeoNotes” feature has been replaced by section that highlights “featured posts,” as we found it increasingly difficult to differentiate regular posts from “notes.” We also hope that the new format will make it easier for readers to access older posts.
To initiate the new format, today’s post is …

The New York Times’ Flubbed China Cartograms

By Martin W. Lewis | April 10, 2013 |

An interesting story in today’s (April 9) New York Times—“Hello, Cambodia: Wary of Events in China, Foreign Investors Head to the South”—is illustrated in the print edition with two striking cartograms of eastern Asia, one of which shows population and the other economic output. The cartogram legends claims that “countries and Chinese provinces are sized according to population” and, respectively …

The Core/Periphery Pattern in Egyptian Electoral Geography

By Martin W. Lewis | March 3, 2013 |

Egypt’s troubled and insecure transition to democratic rule has exposed some intriguing political geographical patterns. Yet at first glance, maps of recent elections do not seem particularly revealing. Consider, for example, the December 2012 Constitutional Referendum, a measure favorable to the ruling Muslim Brotherhood that critics claim restricted basic freedoms and democratic governance. The referendum passed with almost 64 percent …

Populating the Pilbara—And the Controversial Phenomenon of Gina Rinehart

By Martin W. Lewis | December 16, 2012 | 3 Comments

As the previous post noted, the major urban areas of Australia have recently posted significant population gains whereas most rural areas have registered demographic declines. The situation is a bit different, however, in Western Australia, the world’s second largest (by territory) “stateoid” (or first-order political division of a sovereign state). To be sure, the outskirts of greater Perth have seen …

Australia’s Empty Countryside—and the Melbourne/Sydney Rivalry

By Martin W. Lewis | December 10, 2012 | 14 Comments

Australia is well known for its low population density. With roughly 23 million people living in 2.9 million sq mi (7.7 million sq km) of land, it ranks sixth from bottom in this regard, following Mongolia, Namibia, Iceland, Suriname, and Mauritania. Australia is also known for its high degree of urbanization, although its 89.2 percent official urbanization figure places only …

Siberian Genetics, Native Americans, and the Altai Connection

By Martin W. Lewis | May 26, 2012 | 9 Comments

The GeoCurrents series on Siberia concludes by looking first to the future and then into the distant past: the preceding post examined the possible consequences of global warming on the region, while the present one turns to much earlier times, exploring the position of Siberia in human prehistory and especially its crucial role in the peopling of the Americas.
Mainstream anthropological …

The Mismatch Between Population and Mass Transit In the San Francisco Bay Area

By Martin W. Lewis | March 15, 2012 | 4 Comments

Recent GeoCurrents posts have stressed the environmental and economic desirability of urban intensification in the San Francisco Bay Area based on high-density, pedestrian-oriented housing developments near public transit stations. Today, such fully urban areas are essentially limited to northeastern San Francisco—a very desirable and expensive place. Elsewhere in the Bay Area, density varies from low to moderate.
A variety of “walkability …

Anti-Environmental Environmentalism in California’s Bay Area

By Martin W. Lewis | March 8, 2012 | 6 Comments

The previous GeoCurrents post ended on a controversial note, contending that although the wealthy suburban communities of the San Francisco Bay Area seem decidedly liberal, they actually embrace highly conservative policies at the local level. Before I attempt to validate this claim, a word of warning is in order. The entire issue is muddied by terminological imprecision, and even more …

Same-Sex Couples and Native American Communities

By Martin W. Lewis | October 12, 2011 | 2 Comments
Map of Native Americans by County

On October 10, 2011, Andrew Sullivan’s blog ran a corrected U.S. Census map showing the proportion of same-sex couples in American counties. (An interactive version of the same map was posted on the National Public Radio website.) The Census had originally claimed that there were 901,997 self-reported same-sex couples in the United States. Evidently, a

Last Insights into Global Economic Inequality

By Andrew Linford | June 8, 2011 | One Comment

Calculations of economic development are usually separated from considerations of population and physical geography. The map above, which introduces the concept of GDP Density. This approach shows how much economic value is generated per unit of land. The map clearly displays not only which areas are the most economically productive, but it also shows

The End of Schengenland?

By Martin W. Lewis | May 14, 2011 | 4 Comments
Map of Europe's Evolving Borders

Over the past several decades, Europe has been dismantling border controls, creating the zone of free movement informally known as Schengenland. Although the Schengen area is scheduled to expand into the southeastern European Union countries of Bulgaria, Romania, and even divided Cyprus, such a development seems increasingly unlikely. Even in the core EU countries, the

The Demographic Dimensions of the Conflict in Ivory Coast

By Martin W. Lewis | May 3, 2011 |
Map of population density in West Africa, 1960

Migration has played a major role in Ivory Coast’s recent troubles. As immigrants from neighboring countries have moved in, Ivorian nativists have reacted by seeking to exclude foreigners—and their children—from citizenship. Such anti-immigrant attitudes and resulting policies have in turn provoked both migrant communities and members of related ethnic groups living in northern Ivory Coast

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