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Terms to study for taking the AP Human Geography Exam.


Commercial agriculture characterized by integration of different steps in the food-proccessing industry, usually through the ownership by large corporations.

Agricultural Density

The ratio of the number of farmers to the total amount of land suitable for agriculture

Agricultural Revoluion

The time when human beings first domesticated plants and animals and no longer relied entirely on hunting and gathering.


The deliberate effort to modify a portion of the Earth's surface through the cultivation of crops and the raising of livestock for sustenence or economic gain.


Belief that objects, such as plants and stones, or natural events, such as thunderstorms and earthquakes, have discrete spirit and concious life.


Legally or illegally adding land to a country.


Laws (no longer in effect) in South Africa that physicall separated different races into different geographic areas.

Arithmic Density

The total number of people divided by the total land area.

Autonomous Religion

A religion that does not have a central authority but shares ideas and cooperates informally.


process by which a state breaks down through conflicts among its ethnicities.


A small geographic area that could not be successfully organized into one or more stable states because it was inhabited by many ethnicities with complex, long-standing antagonisms toward each other.

Base Line

An east-west line designated under the Land Ordinance of 1785 to facilitate the surveying and numbering of townships in the United States.

Basic Industries

Industries that sell their products or services primarily to consumers outside the settlement

Biomass Fuel

Fuel that derives from plant material and animal waste.


A process by which real estate agents convinced white property owners to sell their houses at low prices because of fear that black families would soon be moving into the neighborhood.


Invisible line that marks the extent of a state territory.

Brain Drain

Large-scale emigration by talented people.

Branch (of a religion)

A large and fundamental division within a religion.

Break-of-Bulk Point

A location where transfer is possible from one mode of transportation to another.

Bulk-gaining Industry

An industry in which the final product weighs more or comprises a greater volume than the inputs.

Bulk-reducing Industry

An industry in which the final product weighs less or comprises a lower volume than the inputs.


The science of making maps.


The class or distinct hereditary order into which a hindu is assigned according to religious law.

Census Tract

An area delineated by the U.S, Bureau of the Census for which statistics are published; in urbanized ares, they correspond roughly to neighborhoods.


A compete enumeration of a population.

Central Business District

The area of the city where retail and office activities are clustered.

Central Place Theory

A theory that explains the distribution of services, based on the fact that settlements serve as centers of market areas for services; larger settlements are fewer and farther apart than smaller settlements and provide services for a larger number of people who are willing to travel further.\

Central Place

A market center for the exchange of services by people attracted from the surrounding area.

Centripetal Force

An attitude that tends to unify people and enhance a state.

Cereal Grain

A grass yielding grain for food (Rice, Wheat, Barley, etc.)

Chain Migration

Migration of paople to a specific location because of relatives or people of the same nationality previously migrated there.


A sovreign state comprising a city and its immediate hinterland.

Clustered Rural Settlement

A rural settlement in which the houses and farm buildings of each family are situated close to each other and fields surround the settlements.


Attempt by one country to establish settlements and to impose its political, economic, and cultural principles in another territory.


A territory that is legally tied to a sovereign state rather than completely independent.

Commercial Agriculture

Agriculture undertaken primarily to generate products for sale off the farm.

Compact State

A state in which the distance from the center to any boundary does not vary significantly.


The spread of something over a given area.

Concentric Zone Model

A model of the internal structure of cities in which social groups are spatially arranged in a series of rings.


A set of religious beliefs concerning the origin of the universe.

Cottage Industry

Manufacturing based in homes rather than in a factory, commonly found before the Industrial Revolution.


Net migration from urban to rural areas in more developed countries.


A language that results from the mixing of a colonizer's language with the indigenous language of the people being dominated

Crop Rotation

The practice of rotating use of different fields from crop to crop each year, to avoid exhausting the soil.

Crude Birth Rate

The total number of live births in a year for every 1,000 people alive in the society.

Crude Death Rate

The total number of deaths in a year for every 1,000 people alive in the society.

Cultural Ecology

Geographic approach that emphasizes human-environment relationships.

Cultural Landscape

Fashioning of a natural landscape by a cultural group.


The body of customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits that together constitute a group of people's distinct tradition.


The frequent repetition of an act, to the extent that it becomes characteristic of the group of people performing the act.

Demographic Transition

The process of change in a society's population from a condition of high crude birth and death rates and low rate of natural increase to a condition of low crude birth and death rates, low rate of natural increase, and a higher total population.


the scientific study of population characteristics


The frequency with which something exists within a given unit of area.

Dependency Ratio

The number of people under the age of 15 and over age 64, compares to the number of people active in the labor force.


Degradation of land, especially in semiarid areas, primarily because of human actions like excessive crop planting, animal grazing, and tree cutting.


A division of a branch that unites a number of local congregations in a single legal and administrative body.


A process of improvement in the material conditions of people through diffusion of knowledge and technology.


A regional variety of a language distinguished by vocabulary, spelling, and pronunciation.


the process of spread of a feature or trend from one place to another over time.

Dispersed Rural Settlement

A rural settlement pattern characterized by isolated farms rather than clustered villages.

Distance Decay

The diminishing in importance and eventual disappearance of a phenomenon with increasing distance from its origin.


The arrangement of something across Earth's surface.

Double Cropping

Harvesting twice a year from the same field.

Doubling Time

The number of years needed to double a population, assuming a constant rate of natural increase.


The portion of Earth's surface occupied by permanent human settlement.

Edge City

a large node of office and retail activities on the edge of an urban area

Elongated State

A state with a long, narrow shape.


Migration from a location.

Enclosure Movement

The process of consolidating small landholdings into a smaller number of larger farms in England during the eighteenth century.

Environmental Determinism

A nineteenth- and early twentieth-century approach to the study of geography that argued that the general laws sought by human geographers could be found in the physical sciences. Geography was therefore the study of how the physical environment caused human activities.

Ethnic Cleansing

Process in which more powerful ethnic group forcibly removes a less powerful one in order to create an ethnically homogeneous region.

Ethnic Religion

A religion with a relatively concentrated spatial distribution whose principles are likely to be based on the physical characteristics of the particular location in which its adherents are concentrated.


Identity with a group of people that share distinct physical and mental traits as a product of common heredity and cultural traditions.

Expansion Diffusion

The spread of a feature or trend among people from one area to another in a snowballing process.

Federal State

An internal organization of a state that allocates most powers to units of local government.

Folk Culture

Culture traditionally practiced by a small, homogeneous, rural group living in relative isolation from other groups.

Forced Migration

Permanent movement compelled usually by cultural factors.

Formal Region

An area within which everyone shares in common one or more distinctive characteristics.

Fossil Fuel

Energy source formed from the residue of plants and animals buried millions of years ago.

Fragmented State

A state that includes several discontinuous pieces of territory.


A zone separating two states in which neither state exercises political control.

Functional Region

An area organized around a node or focal point


Literal interpretation and strict adherence to basic principles of a religion (or a religious branch, denomination, or sect).

Gender Empowerment Measure

Compares the ability of women and men to participate in economic and political decision making.

Gender-Related Development Index

Compares the level of development with that of both sexes.


a process of converting an urban neighborhood from a predominantly low-income renter-occupied area to a predominantly middle-class owner-occupied area


Process of redrawing legislative boundaries for the purpose of benefiting the party in power.


During the Middle Aes, a neighborhood in a city set up by law to be inhabited only by Jews; now used to denote a section of a city in which members of any minority group live because of social, legal, or economic pressure.


A computer system that stores, organizes, analyzes, and displays geographic data.


Actions or processes that involve the entire world and result in making something worldwide in scope.

Global Positioning System

A system that determines the precise position of something on Earth through a series of satellites, tracking stations, and receivers.

Gravity Model

A model that holds that the potential use of a service at a particular location is directly related to the number of people in a location and inversely related to the distance people must travel to reach the service.

Green Revolution

Rapid diffusion of new agricultural technology, especially new high-yield seeds and fertilizers.


A ring of land maintained as parks, agricultural, or other types of open space to limit the sprawl of an urban area.

Greenhouse Effect

Anticipated increase in Earth's temperature, caused by carbon dioxide (emitted by burning fossil fuels) trapping some of the radiation emitted by the surface.

Greenwhich Mean Time

the time in that time zone encompassing the prime meridian or 0 longitude

Gross Domestic Product

The value of the total output of goods and services produced in a country in a given time period (normally one year).

Guest Workers

Workers who migrate to the more developed countries of Northern and Western Europe, usually from Southern of Eastern Europe or from North Africa, in search of higher-paying jobs.


The region from which innovative ideas originate.

Hierarchical Diffusion

The spread of an idea from persons or nodes of authority or power to other persons or places

Hierarchical Religion

A religion in which a central authority exercises a high degree of control.


The growing of fruits, vegetables, and flowers.

Human Development Index

Indicator of level of development for each country, constructed by United Nations, combining income, literacy, education, and life expectancy


The system of writing used in China and other East Asian countries in which each symbol represents an idea or concept rather than a specific sound, as is the case with letters in English.


Migration to a new location.


Control of a territory already occupied and organized by an indigenous society.

Industrial Revolution

A series of improvements in industrial technology that transformed the process of manufacturing goods.

Infant Mortality Rate

The total number of deaths in a year among infants under one year old for every 1,000 live births in a society.

Intensive Subsistence Agriculture

A form of subsistence agriculture in which farmers must expend a relatively large amount of effort to produce the maximum feasible yield from a parcel of land.

Internal Migration

Permanent Movement within a particular country.

International Date Line

An arc that for the most part follows 180° longitude, although it deviates in several places to avoid dividing land areas. When you cross the International Date Line heading east (toward America), the clock moves back 24 hours, or one entire day. When you go west (toward Asia), the calendar moves ahead one day.

International Migration

Permanent movement from one country to another.

Interregional Migration

Permanent movement from one region of a country to another.

Intervening Obstacle

An environmental or cultural feature of the landscape that hinders migration.

Intraregional Migration

Permanent movement within one region of a country.


A boundary that separates regions in which different language usages predominate.

Labor-intensive Industry

An industry for which labor costs comprises a high percentage of total expenses

Landlocked State

A state that does not have a direct outlet to the sea.

Land ordinance of 1785

A law that divided much of the United States into a system of townships to facilitate the sale of land to settlers.

Language Branch

A collection of languages related through a common ancestor that existed several thousand years ago. Differences are not as extensive or old as with language families, and archaeological evidence can confirm that these derived from the same family.

Language Family

A collection of languages related to each other through a common ancestor long before recorded history.

Language Group

A collection of languages within a branch that share a common origin in the relatively recent past and display relatively few differences in grammar and vocabulary.


The numbering system used to indicate the location of parallels drawn on a globe and measuring distance north and south of the equator.

Less Developed Country

Also known as a developing country, a country that is at a relatively early stage in the process of economic developement.

Life Expectancy

The average number of years an individual can be expected to live, given current social, economic, and medical conditions. Life expectancy at birth is the average number of years a newborn infant can expect to live.

Lingua Franca

A language mutually understood and commonly used in trade by people who have different native languages.

Literacy Rate

percentage of people who can read and write.


The numbering system used to indicate the location of meridians drawn on a globe and measuring distance east and west of the prime meridian (0°).


A two-dimensional, or flat, representation of Earth's surface or a portion of it.


Factories built by U.S. companies in Mexico near the U.S. border, to take advantage of much cheaper labor costs in Mexico.

Market Area

The area surrounding a central place, from which people are attracted to use the place's goods and services.

Medical Revolution

Medical technology invented in Europe and North America that is diffused to the poorer countries of Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Improved medical practices have eliminated many of the traditional causes of death in poorer countries and enabled more people to live longer and healthier lives.

Mental Map

An internal representation of a portion of Earth's surface based on what an individual knows about a place, containing personal impressions of what is in a place and where places are located.


An arc drawn on a map between the North and South poles.


A state that encompasses a very small land area.


Form of relocation diffusion involving permanent move to a new location.

Migration Transition

Change in the migration pattern in a society that results from industrialization, population growth, and other social and economic changes that also produce the demographic transition.


The area surrounding a city from which milk is supplied.


All types of movement from one location to another.


the doctrine or belief that there is only one God

More Developed Country

Also known as a relatively developed county or a developed country, a country that has progressed in relativety far along a continuum of development.

Multi-ethnic State

A state that contains more than one ethnicity.

Multinational State

State that contains two or more ethnic groups with traditions of self-determination that agree to coexist peacefully by recognizing each other as distinct nationalities.


Loyalty and devotion to a particular nationality.


Identity with a group of people that share legal attachment and personal allegiance to a particular place as a result of being born there.


A state who's territory corresponds to that occupied by a particular ethnicity that has been transformed into a nationality.

Natural Increase Rate

The percentage growth of a population in a year, computed as the crude birth rate minus the crude death rate.

Net Migration

The difference between the level of immigration and the level of emigration.

New International Division of Labor

Transfer of some types of jobs, especially those requiring low-paid less skilled workers, from more developed to less developed countries.

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