Population of the United Kingdom Book Report

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Book Report: The Population of the UK

Daniel Dorling’s The Population of the UK is based upon the premise that the ways in which maps are conceptualized has a dramatic effect on how citizens perceive their nation. The book depicts different ways to look at maps of the United Kingdom, including in terms of its racial and geographic diversity. “The disadvantage of using a conventional map is that those areas that are home to most people are obscured in comparison to sparsely populated areas that appear to be most prominent” (Dorling, 2012, p.3). This can give greater significance to remote and rural areas and less significance to densely populated and diverse areas which more accurately reflect the real United Kingdom.

While physical topography has generally-accepted notations on most maps, there is no general consensus about how to depict a nation’s social landscape (Dorling, 2012). Population depiction on maps, Dorling makes clear, is just as much a subjective process as any other type of sociological study. The danger is that the map’s graphical representation gives it an appearance of concrete reality that other population studies might lack. But “social, political, and economic processes” reflect the selection of how constituencies are represented—for example, if age, social class, race, ethnicity, or other factors are highlighted on a map (Dorling, 2012, p. 16).

There is also an interesting intersection of geography and the social landscape that is embedded in maps—barriers to life opportunities are reflected in maps just like population patterns.

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Just like the land is more fertile in the T crossing the interior section of the land, the more remote Northern areas of the United Kingdom have historically possessed greater barriers to social opportunities. Transposing facts about human life onto known geographical structures can thus illustrate the life history of the inhabitants of a land, particularly one as diverse as the UK.

The book also notes how apparently small details, such as the size of one’s birth cohort can have lifelong implications. Being part of a large, aging population, for example, can have an impact upon societal resources available to care for older citizens. Birth patterns can also reveal important trends in the likelihood of continuing on to higher education, as areas on the map of the United Kingdom which have high rates of teenage births have lower rates of individuals….....

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Dorling, D. (2012). The population of the UK (2nd ed). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


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