Population Pyramid Types

Three primary population pyramid types highlight different aspects of demographic data according to geographical locations. These include the expansive, constrictive and stationary versions.

Population pyramids help people visualize numeric facts in a way that a graph or chart doesn’t do justice. They usually contain socioeconomic information about people, such as age, gender, income, number of children, and more.

Data pyramids measure fertility and population growth. In addition, they calculate birth or death rates – or any demographic statistics related to how many people live in an area.

Three Population Pyramid Types

You probably can find more. However, you may see these three population pyramid types the most often when studying people data.


These population pyramids usually show demographic distributions by age and gender. It usually contains multiple layers of information about groups of younger people. Expansive maps, for instance, may demonstrate high fertility rates in people that don’t live very long.

Some Third World countries where they might suffer famines or extreme weather patterns, such as hurricanes, earthquakes or tornadoes might have many children. However, they often have shorter life expectancies too.

Study of places that experience these types of birth and death rate patterns typically involves examining expansive pyramids.


Constrictive pyramids typically display evidence of fewer younger people, usually in percentages. This may occur in places where the population consists of mostly older people, such as what you may find in Florida, Arizona or other warm climates. Age and gender usually are the primary datasets used in this population pyramid type.


You might use this data pyramid if you anticipate having an equal number or percentage of people from all major age groups. It also will usually indicate little to no population changes, which usually denotes both low birth rates and low mortality rates.

Why Use Population Pyramids?

Population pyramids provide insight into the future. For instance, they might show public policy personnel areas of improvement required to improve air, ground and water quality.

So, what do these environmental factors have to do with population? Well, the rate at which people reproduce children compared against how many people die in a year also determines location capacities.

When studying population, it provides insight into how long it will take for an area to reach the number of people a landmass can handle. Much concern involves reaching carrying capacities, but many countries now have close to zero or negative population rates, which also sometimes show up on a population pyramid.

Additional concerns include influxes of immigration, natural disasters that cause economic devastation, or large-scale disease pandemics and war. Population pyramids provide a portion of information sometimes used to study how long it will take a geographic location to recover from unfavorable conditions.