LOWER SIXTH - KGP SCHEDULE, WEEKS 2-9
MODULE 1 THE DYNAMICS OF CHANGE
10.2 PEOPLE AND THE ENVIRONMENT -POPULATION AND RESOURCES - CANADA

CANADA - HOW CANADA'S UNDERPOPULATION RELATES TO RESOURCE AND TECHNOLOGICAL AVAILABILITY

Population: 30,286,000 (1997 official estimate)
Population Density: 3-people/sq km (1997 estimate)
Urban/Rural Breakdown - 77% Urban - 23% Rural
Gross National Product - US$1920 per capita (1992)
Population 30,675,398 (1998 Estimate)

Population growth rate :1.09 per cent (1998)
Population density : 3.1 persons per square kilometre

Life expectancy
Total 79.2 years (1998)
Female 82.6 years (1998)
Male 75.9 years (1998)

To answer the above question we firstly have to look at the definition of Under population: "Under population usually occurs where despite the resource potential to support a higher density, a region is unattractive compared to more settled areas" Michael Carr, Patterns.
In terms of natural resources, Canada is richly endowed with valuable natural resources that are commercially indispensable to the economy. The country has enormous areas of fertile, low-lying land in the Prairie provinces (Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan) and bordering the Great Lakes and St Lawrence River in southern Quebec and southern Ontario.
Forests cover about 49 per cent of the country's land area and abound in commercially valuable stands of timber. Commercial fishing in Canada dates from nearly 500 years ago, and ocean waters, inland lakes, and rivers continue to support this industry. The mining industry of Canada has a long history of exploration and development that pre-dates confederation in 1867.
The Canadian Shield contains a wealth of minerals; the nation is also rich in reserves of crude petroleum and natural gas. The river and lake systems of the country combine with the mountainous topography to make hydroelectric energy one of the permanent natural assets of Canada.
Take this along with the extremely high GDP per capita (Fig.3), and it is evident that indeed Canada could support a larger population. But how would a larger population benefit Canada? If you look at the Transition theory of how population relates to development (P357, Geography An Integrated Approach, David Waugh), this would suggest by increasing the population that Canada would develop, but as Canada is already highly developed, a population increase would probably just exacerbate existing problems (Orthodoxy theory).
It already has modern technology, which means for example, that only 3%of the population are employed in agriculture because extensive farming methods are used, yet it makes up a large part of the GDP.

If you take the equation:

Standard of living = Natural Resources x Technology DIVIDED BY Population

Canada has an abundance of resources and technology, divided by a relatively small population gives an extremely high standard of living. Why would it want to change?

To summarize, Canada is under populated statistically, but this benefits Canada in that it allows there to be a higher standard of living for its inhabitants. This would not be true in an LEDC, as it wouldn't have the technology to allow it to maximise the resource potential of the country.
Sources:
· Microsoft Encarta 2000
· Geography, an integrated approach. David Waugh
· Patterns, processes and change in human geography. Michael Carr


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