Population patterns in northern Europe have been shaped by the influences of migration and the distinct ethnic groups of each country. Today the continent of Europe is home to more than 160 separate ethnic groups. Northern Europe includes relatively ethnically diverse and densely population United Kingdom as well as smaller countries dominated mainly by one or two ethnic groups. These include Ireland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark.
The United Kingdom, the most populated and diverse area of Northern Europe, includes England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. 2,500 to 3,000 years ago, early celtic people, an Indo-European group, was followed by Romans and other invaders. In the last century, the islands have welcomed large immigrant communities, mostly from South Asia and the West Indies. Most European refugees–people who flee to another country for safety–settled in Great Britain, which included England, Scotland, Wales, at the end of World War 2. Swedes, Norwegians, and Danes live in separate countries and speak their own languages, but they all share a mostly Germanic heritage. They have a shared history, closely related languages, and similar ways of life. However, new immigrants from easter Europe have begun reshaping Scandinavian cultures.
Density and Distribution:
The United Kingdom is densely populated with 61.8 million people, with a population density of 662 people per square mile. Denmark and Ireland also have relatively high densities. These three countries have temperate climates and fertile soil that historically have supported larger populations. Scandinavia has lower population densities and its larger areas of harsh terrain or climate have led the people to live on the coasts. Internal and external migration has shaped the subregion. Internal migration has occurred from rural areas to urban areas, where people can find jobs. An example of external migration is Ireland’s economic depression and famine in the 1840’s prompted 1.6 million people to leave the country. Northern Europe’s metropolitan areas are the center of the economy. The subregions largest and oldest urban areas is London the capital of the United Kingdom. This multi-cultural city holds about 8.5 million people. Stockholm, Sweden, is home to about 1.3 million people. Copenhagen, Denmark, the capital and a popular tourist destination.
“Map of Europe.” Photograph. world atlas. np,n.d. web. January 18, 2012.
“Map of Europe’s population density.” Photograph. map gallery of Europe. np, n.d. Web. January 18, 2012.
Boehm, Richard G. World Geography and Cultures. Columbus, Ohio: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 2012. Print.