The World and Its People

Chapter 3: The World's People

Chapter Overviews

Culture is the way of life of a group of people who share similar beliefs and customs. Culture includes eight elements or traits: social groups, language, religion, daily life, history, arts, government systems, and economic systems. Cultures change over time as new ideas and technologies are introduced. New knowledge and skills also spread to other cultures in a process called cultural diffusion. Geographers divide the world into culture regions.

The decline in the death rate and increase in the birthrate have led to a rapid rise in the world's population. As the population has grown, problems such as famine and scarcity of resources have challenged governments in many parts of the world. Many factors, such as availability of resources or religious beliefs, affect where people live. Today people are moving in large numbers from villages and farms to cities-a pattern called urbanization.

Natural resources can be described as renewable or nonrenewable. Resources are used to produce goods and services, which are then exchanged in a country's economic system. Because of the uneven distribution of resources around the world, people have engaged in trade. The terms "developed country" or "developing country" are determined by the resources, manufacturing, and wealth of each nation.

Modern technology has brought the world's diverse peoples closer together. Cooperation has become increasingly important as the world's economies become more interdependent. Some people fear that globalization will erase traditional cultures.

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