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Multilingual Demographic Dictionary, second unified edition, English volume
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Population statistics are generally presented in terms of the geographical distribution of the population 1 or the spatial distribution of the population 1, and also by structure (144-4). Each population lives in a given area 2 or territory 2 (305-6), and the study of the geographical distribution 3 or spatial distribution 3 deals with the way in which they are distributed over the territory.
- 2. Territory, n. - territorial, adj.
The territory (301-2) in which a population lives will generally be divided into sub-areas 1. For administrative purposes it may be divided into administrative areas 2, administrative units 2 or administrative districts 2 sometimes known as legal divisions 2 or political divisions 2. Geographers on the other hand, may divide the area into regions 3 or zones 4 which may or may not correspond to administrative units. The term "region" or "zone" may be used in a number of different senses and the areas referred to may be of very different sizes. Thus one speaks of the polar regions, of climatic zones or of metropolitan regions. The terms natural region 5 and economic region 6 are used by geographers. The term natural area 7 is used in human ecology (104-5) to define an area occupied by a population with distinct characteristics.
Administrative units differ from country to country and over time in the same country, so that the same word may cover different situations. Minor civil divisions include townships 1 and parishes 1; major civil divisions receive names such as states 2 or provinces 2, and intermediary units are often called counties 5 and districts 6. In Canada, for example the main administrative divisions, by increasing order of size, are the township 8, the county 9 and the province 10. As another example, the main administrative division in France are now the regions 2 which correspond to the province and the departements 3★ which correspond to the cantons 4★ in Switzerland where districts 7★ and circles 11★ are minor civil divisions. In the United States, parishes are equivalent to counties which are the unit above townships and cities but below states.
- 1. Villages, boroughs and cities are other names sometimes given to the smaller administrative units. Municipality is a general descriptive term for minor civil division.
A population may be settled 1, sedentary 1, or nomadic 2, i.e., migrating back and forth within a given area and without fixed abode. Nomads who are in the process of becoming settled are called semi-nomadic 3. Occasionally primitive peoples may have a territory allocated exclusively to themselves called a native reserve 4 or reservation 4.
- 2. Nomadic, adj.- nomad, n.
A country 1 is usually the territory (301-2) of a people 2 (cf. 333-3) or a nation 2. Persons belonging to a nation share, in general, a common culture. A state 3 is a political body. The term may be used in two different senses: most commonly a state is a body possessing full sovereignty in its territory and over its inhabitants. However, a number of federations 4 of federal states 4 are divided into smaller units which are also called states 5 and whose sovereignty is not absolute (e.g. in the United States of America and Australia). The term territory 6 (301-2) is generally used for a geographical area, but it is occasionally used to denote a political unit which has been settled relatively recently. A distinction is sometimes made between self-governing territories 7 and non-self-governing territories 8.
- 2. Nation, n. - national, adj.
Within a territory (301-2), certain terms are used to describe different kinds of conglomerations 1 or aggregations 1 of population, sometimes known as population aggregates 1, population clusters 1 or more generally as localities 1. In rural areas, the smallest unit is referred to as a hamlet 2, which generally consists of a very small collection of houses. A slightly larger conglomeration is the village 3 which is generally a small community and which may have a mainly agricultural population. A town 4 or city 4 is a larger conglomeration in which there are in general few people engaged in agriculture, but the point at which the transition from village to town or city occurs is difficult to specify and varies in different countries. The seat of government of a territory (in the sense of 305-1), is called its capital 5. In a county, the place where the local government is situated is called the county town 6 or county seat 6. Towns and cities may be further divided into districts 7 or quarters 7 and for electoral purposes into wards 7.
- 1. The term agglomeration is also used in this sense. See however 307-1.
- 4. A very large town or city is sometimes called a metropolis, n. - metropolitan, adj.
Town, n. - urban, adj.
Continuously built-up areas may arise through the coalescence of neighboring localities which, while retaining their administrative independence, may constitute one agglomeration 1, containing a central city 2 and suburbs 3 with specialized functions. The terms conurbation 4 or metropolitan area 4 are generally employed to designate a number of different agglomerations which, though geographically contiguous, have retained their own individuality. In many cases, however, the term conurbation is used as a synonym for agglomeration. The fusion of conurbations and large cities leads to the megalopolis 5 or metropolitan belt 5 which may extend over a large area. Metropolitan regions 6★ may refer to agglomerations which include the commuter belt.
- 2. Another term used as synonym is urban nucleus.
- 3. Other terms used as frequent synonyms are satellite communities and suburban zone.
Suburb, n. - suburban, adj. - suburbanization, n.: the process of rapid population growth in the suburban zones adjacent to a large city. Densely populated areas contiguous to large cities are occasionally referred to as the urban fringe, and the zone marking the transition between urban and rural settlement, as the rural-urban fringe or exurbia.
- 4. Urban populations are often regrouped in statistical areas such as the standard metropolitan statistical area (United States), the densely inhabited district (Japan) or the conurbation (England).
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