What is a Population pyramid?

A population pyramid, also called age-sex pyramid and age structure diagram, is a graphical illustration that shows the distribution of various age groups in a population (typically that of a country or region of the world), which normally forms the shape of a pyramid.

It typically consists of two back-to-back bar graphs, with the population plotted on the X-axis and age on the Y-axis, one showing the number of males and one showing females in a particular population in five-year age groups (also called cohorts). Males are conventionally shown on the left and females on the right, and they may be measured by raw number or as a percentage of the total population.

Young population

Generally a population pyramid that displays a population percentage of ages 1–14 over 30% and ages 75 and above under 6% is considered a "young population".

This pattern generally occurs in developing countries, with a high agricultural workforce.

Ageing population

A population pyramid that displays a population percentage of ages 1–14 under 30% and ages 75 and above over 6% is considered an "aging population".
Usually found in developed countries with adequate health services, e.g. Australia).

A country that displays all or none of these characteristics is considered neither.

Uses of Population pyramid

  • Population pyramids can be used to find the number of economic ‘dependents’ being supported in a particular population.
  • Population pyramids can be used to observe the natural increase, birth, and death rate.

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