Human Geography

Chapter 1


Nature of Human Geography

  • Human Geography studies the inter-relationship between physical environment and socio- cultural environment created by human beings through their interactions with each other.
  • The elements like villages, cities, road-rail networks, etc and other elements of material culture have been created by human beings using the resources that are  provided by the physical environment. 
  • Thus, in the words of Ellen Semple- “Human geography is a study of the changing relationship between unresting man and unstable earth”.


Naturalisation of Humans and Humanisation of Nature

  • Humans interact with their physical environment with the help of technology indicating the level of cultural development.
  • The interaction of primitive societies with the physical environment is termed as environmental determinism which is naturalisation of humans.
  • With the development of technology, humans began to modify nature and created a cultural landscape. 
  • This is called possibilism or humanisation of nature.
  • A middle path of neo determinism was introduced by Griffith Taylor which states  that “neither is there a situation of absolute necessity (environmental determinism) nor is there a condition of absolute freedom (possibilism)”.


History of Human Geography

  • The emergence of human geography started with the interaction, adaptation, adjustment and modification between humans and the environment.
  • Before the age of discovery, there was very little interaction between different societies but in the late 15th Century information about the unknown societies were made available now. 
  • Exploration by travellers expanded the area of human geography and interacted with different societies.
  • With this, new approaches came across like welfare or humanistic school of thought, radical school of thought and behavioural school of thought.


Broad stages and thrust of human geography

Field and Subfields of Human Geography

  • Human geography is interdisciplinary in nature and develops vast linkages with other sister disciplines in social sciences.
  • The fields and subfields of human geography explain every aspect of all elements of human life on the surface of the earth.


Human Geography and Sister Disciplines of Social Sciences

The World Population

Chapter 2


Patterns of Population Distribution

  • Population distribution can be defined as the arrangement or distribution of people over the earth’s surface. 
  • Population is not evenly distributed as 90 percent of the world’s population lives in about 10 percent of its land area.
  • The 10 most populous countries of the world contribute about 60 percent of the world’s population. 
  • Out of these 10 countries, 6 are located in Asia.


Density of Population

  • This means the ratio between the number of people to the size of the land. 
  • It is usually measured in persons per sq km density of population/area. 
  • Some areas are densely populated like North-Eastern USA, North-Western Europe, South, South-West and East Asia.
  • Some areas are sparsely populated like near the polar areas and high rainfall zones near the equator while some areas have medium density like Western China, Southern India, Norway, Sweden, etc.


Factors Influencing Population Distribution

The population distribution is influenced by three factors :

  • geographical factors, 
  • economic factors and 
  • social and cultural factors.


Geographical Factors

Environmental or natural factors such as landforms, fertile soil, suitable climate for cultivation and availability of adequate sources of freshwater are the geographical factors that affect the population distribution. 


Some geographical factors are:

Land Forms

 Flat Plains and gentle slopes are preferred by people, because these are favorable for the production of crops ;to build roads and industries.



Areas with less seasonal variation attract more people.



Areas which have fertile loamy soil have more people living on them as these can support intensive agriculture.

Economic Factors

Places having employment opportunities like 1 mineral rich areas, industrial units and urban centres have high concentration of population. 


Some economic factors are:


Industries provide job opportunities and attract large numbers of  people.


Minerals deposits attract industries 1 mining and industrial activities generate employment.


Good civic amenities and the attention of city life draw people to the cities.


Social and Cultural Factors

Places having religious importance and cultural significance are also very densely populated areas.


Population Growth

This refers to the change in number of inhabitants of a territory during a specific period of time. When change in population is expressed in percentage, then it is called Growth Rate of 


When there is an increase in population by taking the difference between births and deaths, then it is called Natural Growth of Population. 

There is also Positive Growth of Population which happens when birth rate is more than death rate and Negative Growth of Population when birth rate is lower than death rate.


Components of Population Change

There are three components of population change i.e., births, deaths and migration.


Crude Birth Rate [CBR]

Number of births in a year per thousand of population is expressed as Crude Birth Rate (CBR).


 It is calculated as: CBR = Bi/P xlOOO


Where,Bi= live Births during the year; P = Mid year population of the area.

Crude Death Rate (CDR)

Number of deaths in a year per thousand of population is expressed as Crude Death Rate (CDR). 



It is calculated as:


Where, D= Number of Deaths; P= Estimated mid-year population of that year.



It is the movement of people across regions on a permanent, temporary or seasonal basis. 

The place they move is called place of origin and the place they move to is called place of destination.


Push and Pull Factors of Migration

The Push factors make the place of origin seem less attractive for reasons like unemployment, poor living conditions, political turmoil, unpleasant climate, natural disasters, epidemics and socio-economic backwardness.

The Pull factors make the place of destination seem more attractive than the place of origin for reasons like better job opportunities and living conditions, peace and stability, security of life and property and pleasant climate.


Trends in Population Growth

  • Trends show that initially growth of population was very slow but after the improvement in Science and Technology, there has been tremendous growth in population which is called population explosion.
  • About 8000 to 12000 years ago the world population was 8 million and now it has reached 7 billion.
  • In every 12 years, 1 billion people are added. Increased agriculture and industrial production, inoculation against epidemics, improvement in medical facilities have reduced death rates.

Doubling Time of World Population

  • Developed countries are taking more time to double their population as compared to developing countries.
  • Oman, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Liberia, Yemen have high population growth rates while Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Germany, etc have low growth rates.


Spatial Pattern of Population Change

  • The world population growth rate is 1.4%, it is highest in Africa i.e. 2.6% and lowest in Europe i.e. 0.0% means neither growth nor decline.
  • So even when a small annual rate is applied to a very large population, it will lead to a large population change. There is a negative correlation between economic development and population growth.

Impact of Population Change

High increase in population leads to problems like depletion of natural resources, unemployment and scarcity. Decline in population indicates that resources are insufficient to maintain a population.


Demographic Transition Theory

This theory studies the changes in the population of a region as it moves from high births and high deaths to low births and low deaths. 

This happens when a society progresses from rural agrarian and illiterate to urban, industrial and literate.

First Stage

  • This stage is marked by high fertility and  high mortality rate because people reproduce more to compensate for the deaths caused due to epidemics and variable food supply.
  • People are poor, illiterate and mostly engaged in agriculture. Life expectancy is low and population growth is slow.

Second Stage

  • Level of technology increases and other facilities like medical, health, sanitation improves due to which the death rate reduces.
  • But the fertility rate and birth rate remains high due to which there is a huge rise in population. Population expands rapidly as there is a wide gap between birth and death rate.


Third Stage

  • The birth and death rate both reduces and the population moves towards stability.
  • People become literate, urbanised and control the size of the family. There is good judicious use of technology also.


Population Control Measures

  • Family planning is the spacing and preventing the birth of children. Thomas Malthus theory (1793) states that the number of people would grow faster than the food supply thus leading to famine, diseases and war.
  • Therefore, it is essential to control the population. This is undertaken through measures like awareness for family planning, free availability of contraceptives, tax disincentives and active propaganda.

Population Composition

Chapter 3


Sex Composition

  • Sex composition refers to the number of men and women in a country. 


It is calculated by the formula:

  • World sex ratio : 990 females per 1000 males.  
  • Highest in Latvia (1187 females per 1000 males) and lowest in UAE (468 females per 1000 males).
  • The sex ratio is unfavourable in 72 countries across the world as there is gender discrimination leading to female foeticide, female infanticide as well as low economic status of women.
  • In general, Asian countries like China, India have low sex ratio while European countries have a higher sex ratio.


Age Structure


  • The age structure of a population refers to the number of people of different age groups. 
  • It is divided into three groups i.e. children (0-14 years), adult or working population (15-59 years) and old or ageing population (60 years and above).


Age-sex Pyramid

  • The age-sex pyramid refers to the number of females and males in different age groups. 
  • The characteristic of a population is represented by  the population pyramid. 


The pyramid is interpreted in the following ways:

Expanding Population: A triangular pyramid with a wide base due to high birth rate seen mostly in less developed countries like Nigeria, Mexico and Bangladesh.

Constant Population: A bell shaped pyramid , tapered towards the top showing almost equal birth and death rates like in Australia.

Declining Population: A pyramid with narrow base , top wide and a wider central part shows low birth and death rates seen in developed countries like Japan.

Rural Urban Composition

  • The division of rural and urban areas based on residence, indicates the pattern of occupations and social conditions. People are predominantly engaged in primary activities in rural areas while in urban areas the majority of the working population is engaged in non-primary activities.
  • In developed countries like Canada, West European countries, females outnumber males in urban areas while in developing countries like Nepal and Pakistan, it is vice versa.



  • Level of the literate population of a country indicates the standard of living, social status of females, availability of educational facilities.
  • In India literacy rate is the percentage of the population above 7 years who are able to read, write and do arithmetic calculations.


Occupational Structure

  • This is a proportional distribution of the working population (age group 15 to 59) in various occupations. 
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing and mining are classified under primary activities.
  • Manufacturing as secondary activity, transport, communication and other services as tertiary and jobs related to research and developing ideas are quaternary activities. 
  • In developed economics more people are engaged in secondary, tertiary and quaternary sectors than primary.

Human Development

Chapter 4

Growth and Development

  • Growth and development refers to the changes over a period of time 
  • The difference between growth and development is that growth is quantitative whereas development is qualitative. 
  • Thus, development is always positive.
  • Development cannot take place unless there is an increment or addition to the existing conditions.
  • But growth can be positive, negative or neutral, positive growth does not always lead to development.
  • Development occurs when there is a positive change in qualities.


Human Development

  • The concept was introduced by Dr Mahbub-ul-Haq in 1990. Human development is described as that which enlarges people’s choices and improves their lives, by creating conditions where people can lead meaningful lives.
  • According to Prof. Amartya Sen, the main objective of development is to increase their freedom. 
  • Freedom to make choices brings development, and social and political institutions play a major role in increasing freedom.
  • Building people’s capabilities in health, education and equal access to resources increases freedom and enlarges choices.


Four Pillars of Human Development

Equity: It refers to equal access to opportunities available to everybody irrespective to their gender, race, income and caste.


Sustainability: It means continuity in the availability of opportunities so that future generations can even use the present resources.

Productivity: It means human labour which must be enriched by building capabilities in people.


Empowerment: It means having the power to make choices which is possible by increasing freedom and capability.


Approaches to Human Development

There are four ways of looking at or approaching the problems of human development. 


  • Income Approach :This approach links the development to incomes as it believes that income determines the level of freedom that one enjoys.


  • Welfare Approach :Under this approach, the government is responsible for providing basic facilities like health, education and amenities to people.


  • Basic Needs Approach: In this approach, emphasis is on providing six basic needs i.e. health, education, food, water supply, ” sanitation and housing.


  • Capability Approach: This approach is associated with Prof. Amartya Sen and aims to build human capabilities in health, education and-access to resources in order to increase human development.

 Human Development Measurement


Human Development Index

  • Human development is measured through Human Development Index (HDI) which ranks the countries between 0 to 1 based on their performance in the key areas of health, education and access to resources.
  • It is the sum total of the weights assigned to health, education and access to resources. Indicator to access health is life expectancy at birth, to access knowledge it is adult literacy rate and gross enrollment ratio and resources are measured in terms of purchasing power


Human Poverty Index

This index measures the shortfall in human development. The index is based on the probability of not surviving till 40, adult literacy rate, people not having access to clean drinking water and number of underweight children.


United Nations Development Programme

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) since 1990, publishes the Human Development Report by measuring the Human Development Index and Human Poverty Index.


Gross National Happiness

This is Gross National Happiness (GNH) which is another measure of accessing human development and Bhutan is the only country in the world to measure the country’s progress through GNH. 

The GNH encourages the qualitative aspect of development.


International Comparisons

  • On comparing the human development of different countries, it is revealed that the size of the territory and per capita income are not directly related to human development.
  • For comparisons, the countries are classified into four groups on the basis of human development scores earned by them.


Very High Level of Human Development

  • The countries scoring above 0.802 are categorised under it. There are 49 countries in this group.
  • Top ten countries with a very high value index are Norway, Australia, Netherlands, United States, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Germany and Sweden.
  • The countries in this group provide education and healthcare which is an important government priority as well as invest a lot in the social sector.

High Level of Human Development

  • Countries scoring between 0.702 and 0.801 are grouped under it. They are 56 in number.
  • Good governance and a lot of investment in the social sector has led to a high level of human development in these countries.’


Medium Level of Human Development

  • Countries scoring between 0.555 and 0.701 are grouped under it and there are 39 countries in this group. ‘
  • Many of these countries were former colonies and are facing political instability as well as high social diversity.


Low Level of Human Development

  • Countries scoring below 0.554 are grouped under it and there are 44 countries in it. These countries are going through political turmoil, social instability, civil war, famine or high incidence of diseases.
  • Internal comparisons reveal that the culture, religion or community are non-determinants of human development. Rather, the pattern of government expenditure on the social sector, political environment, amount of freedom people have and the distribution of resources play a decisive role in the level of human development.

Primary Activities

Chapter 5


Hunting and Gathering


  • Hunting and gathering are the oldest primitive activities of man. 
  • Early man lived in forests and sustained his life by hunting animals, gathering various products from the forests to satisfy his needs in early days. 
  • Thus, early men sustained on edible plants which they hunted and edible plants which they gathered from the forests.


  • Early human beings practised these activities with the help of primitive tools, made of stones, twigs or arrows, so the number of animals killed was limited. But now modern equipment has led to the widespread poaching of animals due to which hunting is declared illegal.


  • Gathering is practised in high latitude zones of North Canada, Northern Eurasia and Southern Chile, low latitude zones of Amazon Basin, tropical Africa, interiors of South-East Asia. This activity requires small capital investment and a low level of technology. Valuable plants, leaves, bark, etc are collected and after simple processing they are sold in local markets. These products cannot compete with the world market as synthetic products are lower in price and of better quality.



  • This means domestication and rearing of animals on pastures. This is carried either at subsistence level known as nomadic herding or at commercial level known as commercial livestock rearing.

Nomadic Herding

  • Also called pastoral nomadism, it is a primitive activity where herders move with their livestock from one place to another in search of food and water. 
  • They rely on animals for food, clothing, shelter, tools and transport.
  • Depending on geographical factors different animals are reared in different regions like cattle in tropical Africa, sheep, goat and camel in Sahara, Asiatic deserts, Yak, llamas in Tibet and Andes, reindeer in Arctic and Sub-Arctic areas. 
  • Other areas include Mongolia, Central China, Eurasia, South-West Africa and Madagascar.

Commercial Livestock Rearing

  • This practise is associated with western culture, it is more organised and capital intensive. 
  • This activity is done on vast ranches that are permanent.
  • Modern scientific technology with emphasis on breeding, genetic improvement, disease control and health care is done. Production of meat, wool, hides is done and exported to different world markets.
  • Sheep, cpttle, goats and horses are reared in the ranches. Australia, New- Zealand, Argentina, Uruguay, South-West Africa, Western United States and Central Asia are major centers of commercial livestock rearing.


  • Agriculture
    Agriculture is practised under multiple combinations of physical and socio- economic conditions, which gives rise to different types of agriculture systems.
  • Based on methods of farming, different types of crops are grown and livestock raised. 


The following are the main agricultural systems:


Subsistence Agriculture

  • In this type of agriculture, farmers consume all or nearly all of the produce as the size of the farm is very small. 
  • It can be divided into primitive subsistence agriculture and intensive subsistence agriculture.


Primitive Subsistence Agriculture


This is widely practised in tropical areas of Africa/South, Central America and South-East Asia. 


Different names are given to it in different places like Milpa, Jhuming, Ladang.


 It is also called slash and burn agriculture or shifting agriculture. 


Cultivation is done through primitive tools by clearing a patch of land. 

After 3 to 5 years, when the soil loses its fertility then new land is cleared for cultivation.


Intensive Subsistence Agriculture: This type of agriculture is practised in densely populated regions of monsoon Asia. 


This type of cultivation is dominated by wet paddy cultivation and crops other than paddy. 


The per unit area is high but productivity is low as land holdings are small due to high density of population, less use of machines, family labour involved and farmyard manures are used. 


Crops other than paddy are wheat, soybean, barley, sorghum grown in Northern China, Manchuria, North Korea and Japan. 


In India, it is practised in Indo-Gangetic plains, dry parts of Western and Southern India.


Plantation Agriculture
This type of agriculture was introduced by the Europeans like cocoa and coffee in West Africa by French, Tea in India and Sri Lanka, rubber in Malaysia, sugarcane and banana in the West Indies by British, coconut, sugarcane in the Philippines by Spanish, etc.


Here, agriculture is done on large estates or plantations, requiring huge capital investment and scientific methods of cultivation.


Extensive Commercial Grain Cultivation

  • This is practised in the interiors of semi-arid parts of mid latitudes like Eurasian steppes, Canadian and American Prairies, Pampas of Argentina, velds of South Africa, Australian Downs and Canterbury plains of New Zealand.
  • Crops like wheat, corn, barley, oats and rye are grown. Agriculture is mechanised as farms are very large. There is low yield per acre but high yield per person.


Mixed Farming

  • This is practised in North-Western Europe, Eastern-North America, parts of Eurasia and temperate latitudes of Southern continents. Here crop cultivation along with animal husbandry is practised. Crops like wheat, barley, oats, rye, maize, fodder and root crops along with the rearing of farm animals like cattle, sheep, pig, poultry is done to provide extra income.
  • There is crop rotation and intercropping along with high capital expenditure on farm inputs.


Dairy Farming

  • It is practised near urban and industrial centers of North-Western Europe, Canada, South-Eastern Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania. It is highly capital intensive due to cost of feeding, mulching machines, animal sheds, storage facilities, veterinary services, etc.
  • It is also labour intensive as rigorous care of I animals is also needed. There is no off season during the year as in case of crop raising.

Mediterranean Agriculture
It is practised on either side of Mediterranean in Europe, North Africa from Tunisia to Atlantic coast, Southern-California, some i parts of Chile, South-Western parts of South Africa and South-Western parts of Australia. It is a highly specialised commercial agriculture and important supplier of citrus fruits.


This refers to cultivation of grapes in the Mediterranean regions. Inferior grapes are made into raisins and currants while superior grapes are processed into wines. Figs and olives are also cultivated.


Market Gardening and Horticulture

  • It is practised in highly developed and
  • industrial regions of North-West Europe, North-East United States and Mediterranean regions. Netherlands specialises in cultivation of Tulip flowers.
  • This type of cultivation refers to high value crops like vegetables, fruits and flowers solely for urban markets. Farms are small and mechanised. It is both capital and labour intensive.


Truck Farming
This refers to the specialisation in the cultivation of vegetables only. The distance between the farms and urban markets can be covered through trucks overnight, hence its name is known as ‘truck farming’.


Factory Farming
This refers to livestock rearing mainly poultry and cattle. This is capital intensive, requires maintenance, supervision and scientific breeding. It is practised in industrial regions of Europe and North America.


Co-operative Farming
Under this farming group of farmers form a co-operative society by pooling their resources voluntarily for more efficient and profitable farming. There is help from societies in buying and selling farm products. Individual farms remain intact. It is practised in Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Italy.


Collected Farming

  • It is based on social ownership of the means of production and collective labour. Here farmers pool their resources, though they are allowed to keep a small part with themselves.
  • Produce is sold to the state at prefixed prices. Members paid according to the nature of work done. It was practised first in Kelkhoz in the erstwhile Soviet Union.


It refers to the extraction of mineral resources from the Earth. 

Its development began with the industrial revolution.


Factors affecting Mining Activity
There are two factors that affect the mining activity. These are:

  1. Physical factors related to size, grade and mode of occurrence of the deposits.
  2. Economic factors related to demand for mineral, technology, capital to develop infrastructure, labour and transport cost.

Methods of Mining
It is of two types i.e. surface and underground mining. 

Surface open cast mining occurs close to the surface, it is easiest and cheapest. The other is underground mining in which minerals are extracted from very deep mines using vertical shafts. It requires lifts, drills and very efficient technology.

The developed economies are retreating from mining due to high labour cost while developing economies are becoming major exporters of minerals due to their large labour force and striving for better standard of living.

Secondary Activities

Chapter 6



The literal meaning of manufacturing is to make by hand, but in the present context, manufacturing means the conversion of raw material into more useful and valuable fabricated articles with the help of machines.


Manufacturing Industries

These are geographically located manufacturing units that transform raw materials into finished goods of higher value for sale in local or distant markets. 

The term industry is comprehensive and can also be used in many secondary activities which are not carried on in factories like the entertainment industry, tourism industry, etc.


The manufacturing industries are characterised by the following:

  • Specialisation of Skills: In industries, one task is done repeatedly that gives specialisation of doing that task. 

This involves high cost of manufacturing. 

On the other hand, mass production involves production of large quantities of standardised parts by each worker performing only one task repeatedly.


  • Mechanisation: The industries use automated processes or machines which do the major production. Human thinking is not required in mechanisation.
  • Technological Innovation :Latest technology is used and constant innovation is done to eliminate waste, quality control, combat pollution and bring efficiency.
  • Organisational Structure and Stratification :Modern manufacturing is characterised by complex machine technology, extreme specialisation, division of labour, vast capital, large organisations and executive bureaucracy.
  • Uneven Geographic Distribution :The industries are concentrated in regions that are rich in minerals and other resources. These areas cover less than 10% of the world’s land area. These regions have become the major centres of economic and political power.


Location of industry

  • The location of industry at a particular place is governed by a large number of geographical and non-geographical factors. Industries maximise profits by reducing costs. 
  • Thus, industries should be located at points where the production costs are minimum. 


Following factors influence the location of industry at particular places:

  • Access to Market :Areas that provide large markets for finished industrial goods like developed areas of Europe, America, Japan, Australia, South Asia have huge concentrations of industries.
  • Access to Sources of Energy: Coal, petroleum and hydroelectricity are main sources of energy. Industries using more power are located close to these sources.
  • Access to Raw Material: Industries based on cheap, bulky and weight-loss materials (ores) like steel, sugar are based close to sources of raw materials. 

Similarly, processing of dairy products, perishable foods and agro based are done near the sources of raw materials.

  • Access to Labour Supply: Industries are located where there is availability of skilled labour. Some types of manufacturing still require skilled labour.
  • Access to Source of Energy: Industries which use more power are located nearer to the source of energy supply such as iron and steel industries. Energy is most essential to run machines in industries. The main power resources are coal, petroleum, hydroelectricity, natural gas and nuclear energy.
  • Access to Transportation and Communication Facilities :Industries are located in places that have efficient transportation facilities and communication services for the exchange and management of information.
  • Access to Agglomeration Economies: Agglomeration economies refer to the benefits derived from the linkages that exist between different industries. The small industries or ancillary units like to operate near leader industries to benefit from nearness to big or basic industries.
  • Government Policy: For the balanced economic development, governments promote various regions by setting up industries in a particular link between industrial areas.


Classification of Manufacturing Industries
Industries are classified on the basis of their size, inputs/ raw materials, output/ products and ownership.


Industries Based on Size

Based on amount of capital invested, a number of workers employed and volume of production, industries are classified into the following:


Household Industries or Cottage Manufacturing: It is the smallest manufacturing unit. Artisans use local raw materials, simple tools and production is done with the help of family members. Production is done for local consumption and local markets. There is not much capital needed, e.g. mats, baskets, pottery, jewellery, artefacts and crafts.


Small Scale Manufacturing: These types of industries employ semi-skilled labour, operate by power driven machines, use local raw materials and manufacture products in workshops. It provides employment and raises local purchasing power. India, China, Indonesia and Brazil have developed labour intensive small scale manufacturing units.


Large Scale Manufacturing: Here mass production takes place, involves a large market, many raw materials, huge energy requirements, specialised workers, advanced technology and large capital. Large scale manufacturing industries are divided into two parts i.e. Traditional large scale industrial regions and Higher technology large scale industrial regions.


Industries Based on Inputs/Raw Materials

On the basis of raw materials used, industries are classified as follow:

  • Agro based Industry: This involves processing of raw materials from the fields and farms into finished products like sugar, fruit juices, beverages, oils and textiles (cotton, jute, silk), rubber, etc.
  • Food Processing: This is part of agro based industry and includes processes like canning, producing cream, fruit processing, confectionery, drying, fermenting and pickling.
  • Agri Business: This is commercial farming on an industrial scale. The farms are mechanised, very large and highly structured, like tea plantations and tea factories near the plantations.
  • Mineral based Industry: These are industries that use minerals as raw materials such as ferrous like iron and steel and non-ferrous like aluminium, copper, etc. Mineral based non-metallic industries are cement and pottery.
  • Chemical based Industry: These industries use natural chemical minerals like salts, sulphur, potash, mineral oil in the petrochemical industry and chemicals obtained from wood and coal. Synthetic fiber and plastics are other examples of chemical based industry.
  • Forest based Industry: Industries that use forest products such as timber, wood, bamboo, grass, lac, etc come under forest based industry.
  • Animal based Industry: Industries that use animal products such as leather, woollen textiles, ivory are grouped under animal based industry.


Industries based on Output/ Product

Based on the finished products or output. These are:

  1. Basic Industries: These are the industries that produce raw material to be used in other industries such as iron and steel.


  1. Consumer Goods Industries: These are the industries which produce what is consumed by consumers directly such as tea, biscuits, toiletries, etc.


Industries based on Ownership

Based on ownership, the industries are grouped as:

  • Public Sector Industry: This refers to industries that are owned and managed by the government. In India, it is called public sector undertakings. Socialist economies have all state owned industries.


  • Private Sector Industry: This refers to industries that are owned by private individuals and also managed by them. Capitalist economies have mostly private owned industries.


  • Joint Sector Industry: Industries that are jointly owned and managed by joint stock companies or established by private and government sectors are called joint sector industries.


FootLoose Industries

These industries do not depend on any specific raw material so they can be located at any place. 


They largely depend on component parts, employ a small labour force and produce in small quantities.


Traditional Large Scale Industrial Regions

Traditional large scale industries are mostly heavy industries located near coal fields and involved in metal smelting, heavy engineering, chemical manufacturing or textile production. 

Their features are high employment, high density of housing but poor services, unattractive environment, pollution and waste heaps. 


Due to these problems, many industries are closed leading to unemployment, emigration and wastelands.

The Ruhr Coal Field, Germany

  • This area was a major industrial region due to coal and iron-ore deposits. 
  • But the industry started shrinking as demand for coal declined, iron-ore exhausted, industrial waste and pollution increased.
  • Now a New Ruhr landscape has emerged that focuses on other products like the Opel car assembly plant, new chemical plants, universities and out of town shopping centres.


High Technology Industry

  • Also called high-tech industry, it is highly technical and incorporates advanced scientific and engineering research and development strategy.
  • The workforce are highly skilled specialists, professionals (known as white collar) who outnumber the production labour (blue collar).
  • Robotics, computer aided design and manufacturing, electronics, new chemicals and pharmaceuticals are examples of these industries.

Iron and Steel Industry

  • It is known as a basic industry as it provides raw materials or base to other industries. It is also called heavy industry due to its bulky raw material and heavy finished products.
  • These industries are located near the source of raw materials i.e. iron ore, coal, manganese and limestone or near ports where it could be early brought.


This industry is spread in developed and developing countries such as America, UK, Germany, France, Belgium, Ukraine, Japan, China and India (Jamshedpur, Durgapur, Raurkela, etc.)

Cotton Textile Industry

This industry has three sub-sectors:

  1. Handloom: This is labour intensive, employs semi-skilled workers, requires small capital and involves processes like spinning, weaving and finishing of the fabrics.
  2. Powerloom: This is less labour intensive, uses of machines and production is more.
  3. Mill Sector :This is highly capital intensive, requires good quality raw cotton and produces in bulk.

India, China, USA, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Egypt produce more than half of the world’s raw cotton. Now the cotton textile industry is shifting to less developed countries due to labour cost.

Tertiary and Quaternary Activities

Chapter 7


Tertiary activities involve provision of services in exchange of payments.


Types of Tertiary Activities

There are four types of tertiary activities. They are trade, transport, communication and services.


Trade and commerce

  • Trade and commerce is essentially buying and selling of items produced elsewhere. 
  • The collection and distribution points where trading takes place are called trading centres. 


These centres are divided into:

  • Rural Marketing Centres :They are semi urban and cater to local needs and areas. Most of these have mandis (wholesale markets) and retail markets. In rural areas, there are periodic markets that may be weekly or bi-weekly and people from the nearby areas meet their demands. These markets are held on specified dates and shopkeepers move from one place to another.
  • Urban Marketing Centres: These markets sell ordinary as well as specialised goods and services, e.g. markets for labour, housing, semi or finished products. Services of educational institutions and professionals like teachers, doctors, lawyers also develop.
  • Retail Trading: In this type of trading, goods are directly sold to consumers. 
  • This trading is done through fixed establishments or stores, small shops, consumer cooperatives, big departmental stores and chain stores. 
  • The chain stores buy commodities in bulk and then hire skilled specialists for executive tasks. 
  • Street peddling, handcarts, trucks, door-to-door, mail order, telephone and Internet are examples of non-store retail trading.
  • Wholesale Trading: Here bulk buying takes place directly from the manufacturer by numerous intermediary merchants. The merchants/ wholesalers extend credit to retailers.


  • Transport is a tertiary activity in which people, materials and manufactured goods are physically carried from one place to another. 
  • While selecting the mode of transport, distance, time and cost are seen.. 
  • Distance can be measured as km distance, time taken to travel a particular route as time distance, expense of travelling on a route as cost distance.


Factors Affecting Transport


  • Demand: Transport depends on the size of population and standard of living of people. The larger the population size, the greater is the demand for transport.
  • Route: It refers to the transport network depending on location of cities, towns, villages, industrial centres, availability of raw materials, nature of landscape, type of climate, availability of funds, etc.



A network is a well developed transport system that is made up of nodes and links. 

A node is a meeting point of two or more routes and every road that joins any two nodes is called a link.



Communication services involve the transmission of words, messages, facts and ideas. 

The development of transport facilitated communication as messages were carried by hand, animals, boat, road, rail and air. But new technology has made communication independent of transport, such as mobiles, telephony and satellites. 


Some of the communication services are discussed below:

  • Telecommunications: The development of modem technology has revolutionised communication and it has become direct and instantaneous, e.g. telegraph, morse code and telex in the last century and now satellites, mobile, telephony, etc are used.
  • Mass Media Communication: means through which messages could be sent to vast audiences around the world are called mass media, e.g. radio, television, newspapers, etc. The Internet has revolutionised global communication.



There are different levels at which services are provided and availed. 

Some are meant for industry, some for people, and some for both industry and people i.e., transport. 

Services can be divided into three sub-categories. They are:

  • Low Order Services: It includes common and widespread services like grocery shops, laundries, etc.
  • Domestic Services: It includes housekeepers, cooks and gardeners which migrate from rural areas in search of employment.
  • High Order Services: These are specialised and less common like accountants, consultants and physicians. 
  • Some services are supervised and/or regulated by the government like making, maintaining highways, bridges, fire fighting departments, education, healthcare, etc.

-Thus, services are present in organised sectors that are government owned or big corporations. 

-Some are present in unorganised sectors like low order and domestic services. 

-Mumbai’s dabbawala in India is one such service of the unorganised sector.


People Engaged in Tertiary Activities

Earlier more people were employed in the primary and secondary sector as these sectors provided more jobs. 

But, now there has been a shift of jobs to tertiary or service sector. In developed countries, a higher percentage of workers are employed in providing services as compared to less developed countries.



Tourism is part of the service sector that refers to travel undertaken for the purpose of recreation rather than business. 

This industry generates jobs as people are engaged in providing accommodation, meals, transport, entertainment, infrastructure, retail trading and crafts.

Medical Services for Overseas Patients in India

  • Medical services or tourism takes place when medical treatment is combined with international tourism activity. 
  • People from developed countries like the US are visiting India for medical tourism or services. 
  • This brings economic benefits to India and other countries where medical tourism is taking place like Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.
  • Other medical related activities such as outsourcing of medical tests, data interpretation, reading radiology images, interpreting Magnetic Resonance Images (MRIs) and ultrasound tests are taking place in India, Australia and Switzerland.

Quaternary Activities

  • The activities related to knowledge oriented, involving collection, production and dissemination of information come under this category. 
  • They centre around research development involving specialised knowledge and technical skills.
  • Software developers, mutual fund managers, doctors, accounting, brokerage firms are some examples of quaternary activities. 
  • They can be outsourced since they are not tied to resources or affected by the environment or markets. 


Quinary Activities

The activities that are highly specific and specialised are placed under this category. 

These include high level decision-makers, administrators, government officials, research scientists, etc. 

They are also known as gold collar professions.



  • It means contracting out or giving work to an outside agency to improve efficiency and reduce cost. 
  • It is termed as off-shoring when the work is transferred to an overseas location.
  • Outsourcing provides employment in developing Countries such as India, China, Botswana, etc. 
  • Information technology, human resources, customer support, call centres, data processing and other IT related services are some examples of outsourcing.



  • BPO stands for Business Process Outsourcing which involves customer support services, call centres and similar other processes.
  • The developed countries transfer these jobs as overhead costs are much lower making it profitable to get job work carried out.


KPO stands for Knowledge Process Outsourcing which involves skilled workers and enables the companies to create additional business opportunities.

e.g. e-learning, business research, etc.


Digital Divide

  • Development emerging from information and communication technology is unevenly spread across the globe. 
  • Some regions have prospered while others have lagged behind. This is known as digital divide.