Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2010, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (4): 628-640.doi: 10.1007/s11442-010-0628-5

• Man-Land Relationship • Previous Articles    

Classification of densities and characteristics of curve of population centers in China by GIS

GE Meiling1, FENG Zhiming2   

  1. 1. College of Economics, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, China;
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2009-12-23 Revised:2010-02-25 Online:2010-08-15 Published:2010-08-15
  • Supported by:

    National Project of Strategic Research on Population Development, No.F2005-5


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 centers were formed; in accordance with the geographical proximity principle, the classes of population densities were reclassified and a population density map was obtained which had the spatial clustering characteristic. The multi-layer superposition based on the population density classification shows that the population densities become denser from the Northwest to the Southeast; 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 centers shows the population densities transit from the high density region to the low one on the whole, while in low-density areas there are relatively dense areas, and in high-density areas there are relatively sparse areas. The reclassification research on the population density map based on the curve of population centers shows that the Chinese population densities can be divided into 9 classes, hereby, the geographical distribution of Chinese population can be divided into 9 type regions: the concentration core zone, high concentration zone, moderate concentration zone, low concentration zone, general transitional zone, relatively sparse area, absolute sparse area, extreme sparse area, and basic no-man's land. More than 3/4 of the population of China 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, population density, population gravity, curve of population centers, GIS