Where is Asia?

Asia is one of the world's seven continents. It is the world's most populated continent. 4,216 million people lived there in 2011, 60 per cent of the world's population.

India and China are the two most populated countries in the world, each containing nearly one fifth of the world's population. Both are located in Asia.

Asia is a continent which includes the Middle East, East Asia and Siberia

Asian population structures

The population structure of a country gives information about:

  • how many people there are of each age group
  • how many people there are of each sex

It is commonly shown on a diagram called a population pyramid.

Kenya population pyramid

Ageing and youthful populations

An ageing population, eg Japan, has an increasing proportion of older people (65 years and over) in the population. The population structure is becoming top-heavy.

Population pyramid showing Japan has an ageing population

In 2011, nearly 25 per cent of Japan's population was over 65 years old. This has increased from nearly 5 per cent in 1950. There are two main reasons for this:

  • Japan's life expectancy is increasing (so people are living longer). In 2011 Japan's life expectancy was 83 years.
  • Japan's fertility rate is low. 1.4 babies per woman in 2011.

Japan faces certain challenges with an ageing population. These include:

  • More demands for resources used to look after the elderly.
  • The percentage of economically active people is decreasing. This means there are proportionately fewer people who pay taxes and are able to care for the elderly.
  • The health service will be under increasing pressure, as older people require more medical care.
Population pyramid showing Japan will have an ageing population in 2050

A youthful population has a high percentage of young people. For example, in 2011 36 per cent of people in the Philippines were aged 15 or younger. Only 4 per cent of people were aged 65 or above. The high percentage of people aged 15 or under is caused by:

  • a high birth rate (reasons for this include the lack of availability of or knowledge about contraception)
  • a relatively low life expectancy (68 years)
Population pyramid shows Phillippines has a young population

The problems caused by a youthful population are:

  • it puts a strain on healthcare services
  • there may not be enough jobs for everyone in the future
  • it puts a strain on the education facilities - and governments for LEDC do not have adequate money to build facilities
  • there is more reliance on the economically active population