The Habitable PlanetHabitable Planet home page

Interactive Labs

Demographics Lab

Lessons > Social Impacts > Step 2

Now, we'll look at Mexico and the United States. Predict the shape of each pyramid and record it in your Data Table. Then predict the birth and death rates as well as the percentage of population growth in 2050 and record your prediction.

  1. What are the most obvious differences between these two countries? What might account for these differences?
  2. In this lab, the USA and Mexico are the only countries listed that are physically adjacent. They experience direct and fairly constant one-way migration, a factor not taken into account by this simulation. Imagine that a significant percentage of the Mexican population between the ages of 15 and 25 is migrating permanently to the USA. How would this change the shape of the pyramid? What would Mexico have to do in order to maintain a zero population growth?
  3. Faced with mounting population pressure and the resultant drain on natural resources, many other growing populations feel this urge to migrate, and other dwindling nations already import labor. Where are the major sources and destinations of this population growth differential in the world today?
  4. What is the expected result of a nation whose population is outstripping its resources and ability to feed its people, yet is not allowed to migrate peaceably?

© Annenberg Foundation 2015. All rights reserved. Legal Policy