Population Pyramids

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Many of the vast differences we see in societies across the globe can be related to the composition of their respective populations. So when exploring variations among countries, a good place to start is with their population pyramids – graphs that display the age and sex distribution of the country’s population. These age structure diagrams depict the configuration of a country’s population as impacted by 80+ years of economic, political, and natural events.

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Students draw age structure diagrams for six countries and discuss the three general shapes of population pyramids

Power of the Pyramids

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Lesson Plan

Students construct and interpret population pyramids for six countries and discuss differences in the population growth rates of each. (Distance…

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Students compare population pyramids at different points in U.S. to see how the age structure of Americans has changed over time
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Mysteries of the U.S. Pyramids

Students construct and interpret population pyramids (age-sex distribution charts) and discuss differences in population characteristics at different points in U.S.... Read more »

Age diagrams for Tanzania, Peru and Norway show different population growth rates and different stages of the DTM.
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Population Pyramids for Tanzania, Peru and Norway infographic

Three real-world pyramids compare different shapes and different growth rates.

Population pyramid for the U.S. population in 2020. The age diagram shows U.S. population distribution by age and gender
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U.S. Population Pyramid infographic

Unites States' population pyramid, or age structure diagram, for the 2020 population.


More Fun Ways to Teach Population Pyramids

Go further with population pyramids using these 5-star rated classroom materials

How to Build a Population Pyramid in Excel: Step-by-Step Guide

Making a population pyramid, or age-sex distribution graph, in Excel has never been easier than with this step-by-step guide that... Read more »

Diminishing age structure diagram – Japan
How Reproductive Age-Groups Impact Age Structure Diagrams | Population Pyramids

You might know the three basic shapes of age structures (popularly referred to as population pyramids) and what they mean.... Read more »

Canadian population pyramid shows the age-sex distribution of the population of Canada in 2018
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Power of the Pyramids (Canada)

Students construct and interpret population pyramids and discuss differences in population growth rates among several different countries, including Canada. (Distance... Read more »


Additional Information on Population Pyramids

Interested in a deep dive? Learn something new with the articles, websites and lessons below

On the U.S. population pyramids, baby boomers are disappearing

The baby boom generation is interesting to view on a population pyramid because it’s where the graph is at its... Read more »

What is a Population Pyramid?

The World of 7 Billion student video contest celebrates 10 years of student change-makers, and is a perfect small-group project... Read more »

What are the different types of population pyramids?

A population pyramid, or age structure graph, is a simple graph that conveys the complex social narrative of a population... Read more »

Age-sex diagrams for Japan and Guatemala
Why does a higher death rate reflect higher levels of development?

Why do highly developed countries tend to have higher death rates than many less developed countries? This question often comes... Read more »

Population pyramid for Indonesia is an example of a population pyramid
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Exploring the Pyramids

Students interpret population pyramids for 10 countries, discuss differences in the population growth rates, and infer implications of these differences.

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Peopling of Our Planet

Students participate in an interactive story discussing how improvements in medicine, food and agriculture, and public health and sanitation during the Industrial... Read more »

About Population Education

Population Education is a national program that provides resources and professional development for K-12 educators focusing on human population trends and their impacts on natural resources, environmental quality and human well being. PopEd is a program of Population Connection.