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
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Lesson Plan

Students use real-world data to construct and interpret population pyramids and discuss differences in population growth rates among several different…

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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
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.
Population Pyramids for Tanzania, Peru and Norway infographic

Three age structure pyramids compare different population pyramid shapes and growth rates.

Population pyramid for the U.S. population in 2020. The age diagram shows U.S. population distribution by age and gender
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
Power of the Pyramids: Canada

Students use real-world data to construct and interpret population pyramids and discuss differences in population growth rates among several different... 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?

Population pyramids are used by demographers as a tool for understanding the make-up of a given population, whether a city,... 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 »

Peopling of Our Planet

Students watch the video “World Population” and participate in guided exploration of an online timeline to explore how improvements in... 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.