human geography



We explain what human geography is, its branches, characteristics and examples. Also, differences with physical geography.

Human geography studies, among other things, the distribution of populations.

What is human geography?

It is called human geography or anthropogeography to the second great division of the Geography, together with physical geography. It deals, unlike the latter, with the spatial study of the societies human beings and their relationships with environment. That is, it focuses on the unnatural aspects of the planet Earth, as a kind of "human ecology".

Its initiator was the German Karl Ritter (1779-1859) and his successor, the French Élisée Reclus (1830-1905). The first written work of the discipline appeared in the 19th century, under the name of Anthropogeography and it was the work of the German Friedrich Raztel (1844-1904), considered as one of its founders.

The methodologies used in human geography are similar to those of general geography, being themselves extremely diverse, both qualitative and quantitative. It is common to see the use of case studies, surveys, statistical analysis and Models mathematicians, always depending on the specific topic of the study and the disciplines auxiliaries employed.

Branches of human geography

Human geography comprises, among others, the following fields of study:

  • Population geography. Study the human distribution on the land surface, and the historical processes that determine it.
  • Economic geography. Focused on patterns economic and his history, and especially the distribution on Earth of economic factors, be they raw Materials, industrial centers, etc.
  • Cultural geography. Study how the culture Human is linked to its geographical location and how the latter determines its patterns of exchange.
  • Political geography. Focused on the study of political spaces: countries, states, etc.
  • Medical geography. Studies the incidence of geographic location in the Health of the populations and in the particular way in which they age.

Characteristics of human geography

The study of migratory movements is part of human geography.

Human geography has three main fields of study, which are:

  • The distribution and interrelation of populations and cultures on the earth's surface.
  • The specific way in which they interact with their environment.
  • The way they organize their political, economic and social systems as part of their geographic location.

All this allows a spatial approach to human activities, which in turn allows addressing problems of a historical, political, cultural or social nature.

Examples of human geography

Some examples of research in human geography are:

  • Global or regional investigations of human displacement: immigration, emigration and other forms of population movement.
  • Studies on the political constitution of the regions of the planet, as well as of the economic, cultural and social factors that influence the creation of new States.
  • Economic evaluations of a territory to identify natural resources exploitable.
  • Evaluation of the trends in the expansion of the urban area of ​​the cities.

Importance of human geography

Human geography constitutes an important field of study today, especially after the emergence of global theoretical perspectives, which demand the study of migratory flows, dynamics of International Trade and other complex human processes, which involve state, cultures and individuals.

On the other hand, the plural perspective of human geography contributes to the field of study of general geography an indispensable element, because throughout the thousands of years of human presence on Earth, we have gradually made our presence felt through the modification of the environment that surrounds us.

Human geography and physical geography

Unlike human geography, focused on the population and its distribution and relationships with the environment, physical geography focuses only on the physical, that is, natural, aspects of the planet.

Its geographical approach does not take into account, then, the "human ecology", but that of the rest of the life forms, as well as the processes and patterns of geosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere. Physical and human geography constitute the two great branches into which general geography is divided.

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