Topography: People prefer living on plains rather than plateaus and mountains since these areas are suitable for agriculture, manufacturing and also service activities. The Ganga Plains are one of the most densely populated areas of the world whereas mountains like Alps, Andes and the Himalayas are thinly populated.
Climate: People generally stay away from extreme climates (very cold or very hot) like the Sahara desert, the Russian polar regions, Canada and Antarctica.
Soil: Fertile soils offer optimal land for farming. Fertile plains like Brahmaputra and Ganga and in India, the Nile in Egypt, Hwang-He and Chang Jiang in China are highly populated.
Water: People prefer to live in those places where fresh water is easily available. So, the river valleys are densely populated and the deserts have less population.
Minerals: Places with deposits of mineral are naturally more populated. Diamond mines of South Africa and discovery of oil in the Middle East led to people settling down in these areas. In India, the areas of the Chhota Nagpur Plateau in Jharkhand and nearby areas of Odisha see a high population distribution because of the presence of huge mineral deposits.
What affects the population distribution? – Other factors:
Social, Cultural and Economic Factors
Social: Areas with better housing, health facilities and education are more populated e.g., Pune. Better transport facilities also contribute to the increased population of any region.
Cultural: Places with cultural or/and religious import attract people. Example: Varanasi, Jerusalem and Vatican city.
Economic: Industrial areas offer employment opportunities. A large number of people make their way into these areas. Examples: Mumbai in India and Osaka in Japan.