Population Pyramids


Population pyramids tell us how many people there are in a certain age group as well as the number of men and women in these groups.

There are three different types of pyramids:


Countries with a fast growing population

These pyramids show a strong base and a very narrow top. Birth rates are high and there many children and young people. People also die earlier than in Europe or North America.




Countries with zero growth

The number of births reached its peak during the baby boom of the 1950s and 60s. Since then the birth rate has been constant.



Counties with declining population

Many European countries, including Germany and Austria have such a population structure. Families are having fewer children and the death rate is sometimes higher than the birth rate. The baby boomers of the past century are getting older and older, which leads to many pensioners. These countries can only grow if they have enough immigrants who come to live and work there.


Such pyramids also can tell governments which problems they will be facing in the future. Countries , in which more than half of the population is under 18, will need more and more schools and later on enough jobs to give all citizens work.

Countries with a declining population have a high number of older people. They don’t have enough young workers to pay the pension for these people when they retire. Such countries need more hospitals and old people’s homes to care for their elderly citizens.

Almost all pyramids show that, although more boys are born than girls, there are more older women than men. This is, partly, because women live longer than men—3 to 5 years on average.


World Population- Table of Contents


Downloadable PDF Text- and Worksheets


Online Exercises



  • although =while
  • average =normally, usually
  • baby boomer = person born between the end of World War II and the middle of the 1960s
  • base = the lowest part of the pyramid
  • birth =the time at which a baby is born
  • birth rate = shows how many babies are born for every 1,000 people in a year
  • care = to look after someone
  • century = a hundred years
  • certain =special
  • citizen = a person who lives in a country and has rights there
  • death rate = shows the number of deaths for every 1,000 people in a year
  • declining =going down
  • elderly = old
  • face =here: have
  • female =relating to a woman
  • fewer =less, a smaller number
  • government =the people who rule a country
  • growth =how something grows or gets bigger
  • immigrant = a person who goes to another country to live and work there
  • including =also, together with
  • infant mortality =the number of babies that die before they are one year old , based on one thousand births
  • male =relating to a man
  • narrow =not wide, thin
  • old people’s homes =buildings where old people stay; nurses and others take care of them and feed them
  • partly =somewhat, in part
  • peak = highest point
  • pension = the money that you get from the government if you are too old to work
  • pensioner = someone who does not work anymore because he is too old . He gets money from the state.
  • population = the number of people living in a place
  • reach = get to
  • retire = to stop working because you are too old
  • top = the highest part of the pyramid
  • zero growth = if something does not grow any more