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Human Geography

You might think about geography as the study of the physical features of our planet. But what about the way humans interact with it? In this article, we’ll take a look at a subject known as human geography. It covers a wide range of topics. 

A picture of a large crowd of people.

Humans are affected more than you might think by the shape of the land around them.


What is Human Geography?

Human geography is the study of the way people and places interact. By “environment,” we mean the physical land and the time period. Human geography differs from physical geography, which focuses on how the Earth is shaped by natural processes. Instead, it focuses on how places can shape the lives of humans. 

Types of Human Geography

Human geography has several types that focus on many aspects of human activity. The list that follows includes a few of those but not all of them.

An image of a city at dusk.

The environment affects everything humans do.


Cultural geography studies how things like religion, government, and language differences between places. Part of it involves examining how the natural landscape has shaped the culture. For instance, ancient Greek city-states had independent cultures because they were isolated geographically


Urban geography focuses on cities and developed areas. This field allows us to predict good locations for a small settlement to grow into a large city. It also tells us which places within a city are most at risk for natural disasters, like earthquakes.


Medical geography examines the patterns and spread of diseases over a given area. This field is important because it can allow people to take preventative measures and keep more people healthy


Economic geography looks at patterns of trade and the production of goods and services over a certain area. For instance, by looking at the resources a certain place produces, you could set up a business that uses those resources


Population geography studies how groups of people grow and migrate. In this field, we often gather statistics on fertility, mortality, and migration. We can use this information to explain issues like overpopulation in an area.

An overhead view of two construction workers on a work site.

Where we build and where we don’t depends on what is around us.

Other Great Resources

1.1 – What is Human Geography? (Dan Snyder): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CgaMgN-dAI

Human Geography: https://www.britannica.com/science/geography/Human-geography

Childrens’ Books about Human Geography: http://www.kidscanpress.com/curriculum/human-geography


Written by: Sylvia Choo