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Articles in Population Geography

Population History, Population Density, and Cultural Values in the Philippines

By Martin W. Lewis | February 3, 2016 |

Owing to this long history of internal migration, the population distribution of the Philippines has become somewhat more even. Mindanao is no longer a frontier zone, and is now moderately populated by Philippine standards

Mapping Crime and Substance Abuse in Russia

By Asya Pereltsvaig | January 20, 2016 | 2 Comments

In the previous post, I examined regional differences in demographic issues across Russia. As many sources note, alcoholism is one of the biggest factors contributing to low life expectancy and high rate of death from non-natural causes. In fact, Russia ranks at the top in terms of both alcohol consumption (especially by men), as discussed in detail in my earlier …

Mapping Russia’s Demographic Problems

By Asya Pereltsvaig | January 18, 2016 | 5 Comments

[Note to readers: customizable maps of Russia are now available in Russian here.]
Much has been written about Russia’s demographic problems, particularly in the 1990s and 2000s. The country as a whole is characterized by low birth rates and high abortion rates; high death rates, especially from non-natural causes; rather low life expectancy, especially for men; and skewed sex ratios. This …

Mapping Regional Differences in Economic and Social Development in Russia—A GeoCurrents Mini-Atlas

By Asya Pereltsvaig | January 14, 2016 | 12 Comments

Generalized indicators of economic and social/human development, such as GDP per capita or HDI, typically place Russia into a medium-high category. However, such ratings overlook regional differences in economic and social development, which are highly pronounced in Russia. To examine these regional patterns, GeoCurrents has created a mini-atlas of Russia, designed using GeoCurrents customizable maps, which are available for free …

Using GC Customizable Maps in the Classroom: Population Density in California

By Martin W. Lewis | January 8, 2016 | 2 Comments

The customizable maps that GeoCurrents is releasing to the public have many potential classroom uses, as this post will seek to demonstrate. Manipulating such maps is a good way to learn some of the fundamental elements of cartography, and can be useful as well for gaining basic geographical knowledge. It is one thing to merely look at a map, and …

Customizable Maps of the United States, and U.S. Population Growth

By Martin W. Lewis | December 26, 2015 | 2 Comments

New sets of customizable maps of the United States are now available for download, in both PowerPoint and Keynote formats (see the end of this post). Three maps are included in each presentation-software set. The first simply has the outlines of the states, as well as the District of Columbia (note that Alaska and Hawaii are mapped out-of-scale and in …

The Recent Gilbertese Settlement of the Line Islands

By Martin W. Lewis | November 26, 2015 | 4 Comments

It is difficult to convey the immensity and emptiness of the Republic of Kiribati. The country extends across more than 3.5 million square kilometers (1,351,000 sq mi) of oceanic space, an area considerably larger than India. The distance between its western and eastern islands is comparable to the distance across the United States. Yet Kiribati contains only 800 square kilometers (310 sq mi) of land, …

The Rural/Urban Divide in Catalonia’s 2015 Election

By Martin W. Lewis | October 7, 2015 | 16 Comments

According to most media sources, the Catalan independence movement scored a major victory in the September 28 regional election, taking 72 out of 135 seats in Catalonia’s parliament (Parlament de Catalunya). More careful reporting, however, noted that the results were actually mixed. In terms of the popular vote, candidates advocating independence gained the support of less than half of the …

Oman and Yemen: So Similar, So Different…

By Martin W. Lewis | July 10, 2015 |

At first glance, Oman and Yemen almost appear to be sibling states. They fairly evenly divide the southeastern slice of the Arabian Peninsula. Both countries have extensive highlands on their opposing extremities, which receive much more rainfall than the rest of region and thus allow intensive agriculture both within the uplands themselves and in the adjacent lowlands. They share the …

Lecture Slides on the Mediterranean Migration Crisis

By Martin W. Lewis | April 30, 2015 |

Dear Readers,
Yet again, other obligations have prevented me from making regular GeoCurrents posts. Most of my recent time has been devoted to preparing lectures for my course on the History and Geography of Current Global Events. This week’s talk was on the Mediterranean Migration Crisis; the lecture slides are available at the link below (“MediterraneanMigration”). The remainder of this post …

Ultimate Hypocrisy?: Indoor Marijuana Growing and the Environmental Movement

By Martin W. Lewis | December 22, 2014 | 3 Comments

Imagine if you will an alternative world in which the leaders of one of our most reviled industries – say tobacco – had just figured out a new way to marginally enhance the quality of their product while significantly boosting their profits, but at a gargantuan cost to the environment. In this hypothetical universe, tobacco researchers discovered that they could …

NPR’s Incomplete Story on “Trimmigants” in the California Marijuana Industry

By Martin W. Lewis | December 17, 2014 | 6 Comments

On December 4, 2014, National Public Radio (NPR) ran an interesting story on a severely underreported matter: international seasonal labor migration to the “Golden Triangle” of marijuana cultivation in northwestern California. This report—“With Harvest Season, ‘Trimmigrants’ Flock To California’s Pot Capital”*—captured many of the more intriguing and important aspects of the phenomenon. But it also missed some significant things and …

Eco-Authoritarian Catastrophism: The Dismal and Deluded Vision of Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway

By Martin W. Lewis | October 9, 2014 | 115 Comments

(Note: The following post strays from the usual geopolitical concerns of GeoCurrents into the realm of environmental politics. It also deviates from the norm in being a polemical review of a particular book. Regular posts will resume shortly.)
As with so many other hot-button debates, the climate change controversy leaves me repelled by the clamoring extremists on both sides. Global-warming denialists, …

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

By Martin W. Lewis | October 9, 2013 | 30 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 …

Misleading Murder and Rape Maps, and the Sweden Rape Puzzle

By Martin W. Lewis | May 25, 2013 | 15 Comments

The previous post on murder rates in Brazil featured a Wikipedia map of homicide rate by country, based on a 2011 report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). That map, reproduced here, is less than ideal, as its highest category lumps together countries with hugely different homicide rates, ranging from 20.1 per 100,000 in Kyrgyzstan to …

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