Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2009, Vol. 64 ›› Issue (2): 202-210.doi: 10.11821/xb200902007

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Population Distribution of China Based on GIS: Classification of Population Densities and Curve of Population Gravity Centers

GE Mei-ling1,2, FENG Zhi-ming1   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2008-05-16 Revised:2008-11-20 Online:2009-02-25 Published:2009-02-25
  • Supported by:

    Strategic Research Project on National Population Development, No.F2008-1; Mega-project of Science and Technology for the 11th Five-year Plan of China, No.2006BAC18B01


In this paper, with the spatial analysis functions in ArcGIS and the county-level census data of 2000 in China, the population density map was divided and shown by classes, meanwhile, the map system of population distribution and a curve of population gravity centers were formed; in accordance with the geographical proximity principle, the classes of population densities were reclassified to obtain a population density map which had the spatial clustering characteristic. The multi-layer superposition based on the population density classification shows that with the increasing of population densities, the population gravity centers of different layers move from the Northwest to the Southeast and have a tendency of becoming dense; the multi-layer clustering phenomenon of the Chinese population distribution is obvious, the populations have a water-based characteristic gathering towards the rivers and coastlines. The curve of population gravity centers shows the population distribution transits from the high density region to the low one on the whole, however, there are high density region in the low density area and vice versa. The reclassification research on the population density map based on the curve of population gravity centers shows that the Chinese population densities can be divided into nine classes, hereby, the Chinese population geographical distribution can be divided into nine type regions: the concentration core zone, high concentration zone, moderate concentration zone, low concentration zone, general transition zone, relatively sparse area, sparse area, extreme sparse area, and basic no-man's land. More than 3/4 of the Chinese population is concentrated in less than 1/5 of the land area, and more than half of the land area is inhabited by less than 2% of the population, the result reveals a better space law of China's population distribution.

Key words: population density, population gravity center, curve of population gravity centers, GIS, population