Population Pyramids
Modified from: Population Reference Bureau
By: Kirstin Bittel, Rachel Hughes and Sally Rusk

Time: 1 class period
Preparation Time: 5 minutes coping current country data
5 minutes making overheads
5 minutes coping Modified Population Pyramid
Materials: Population Pyramid Overhead #1 from (http://www.prb.org/pdf/threepatterns.pdf)
US Population Pyramid Overhead #2
Pyramid Building Data Table
Modified Population Pyramid Handout (from http://www.prb.org/pdf/modified_pyramid.pdf)

A graphing lesson to assist students in analysis of populations of specific countries.

Purpose – To teach students how to build and use the data in a population pyramid to analyze population trends.

Students will be able to:-
1. Create a population pyramid based on current data for their final project country.
2. Analyze data from understand population trends of final project country.

Math Standards
Data Analysis and Probability:
Select and use appropriate statistical methods to analyze data.
Develop and evaluate inferences and predications that are based on data.

Resource Websites




What tools do we have at our disposal that will help us analyze the differing populations of the world? (Students will probably share line graph, pie graphs, bar graphs etc. Take these ideas as good ideas)

Tell the class, “Today we will be learning how to use a different type of graph called a Population Pyramid. Think about what you know about pyramids. What might this tell you about a Population Pyramid?”
Once students have shared their ideas show them Overhead One. Tell them that these are 3 different Population Pyramids for 3 different counties. They show the age and sex structure of a population. Have students look as the different horizontal bars, which show the percentages of males and females for each age group.

Ask students to look at the center graph (The United States). Which age group has the greatest percentage of people? Which has the least? Which bar includes the students in the room? Are there more people in the bar above or below theirs?

Now ask them to look At Germany and the Republic of Congo’s graphs. How are these graphs similar and different from that of the United States? Ask them to look at the graphs and se if they can determine which countries have increasing growth, which is decreasing, and which are staying constant.

Ask students to think why world leaders would want to know the proportion of the population each age range? What difference might the difference in ages make? What good and services do the people of each bracket need? Is it important for a country’s leader or planner to know about the ages of their population?

Tell students that they are going to practice making their own population pyramid of the United States. They will use 4 age categories instead of 16 like the samples shown.

Allow time for students to complete their pyramids.

When student have finished, have a student explain the steps as you fill in Overhead 2. (This is an excellent opportunity for students to self assess.)

Have students create a second pyramid using the data table. Assign a different country to each student. Have student compare their graph to at least two other graphs in the room. How are the graphs and populations similar and different?

Have students complete a population pyramid to reflect the current population information of their country. This should be final quality as it will be part of the final project.

If possible use excel. Directions available from http://www.prb.org/Content/NavigationMenu/PRB/AboutPRB/Population_Today1/may99_pt.pdf


Are students able to create an accurate graph?
Can students analyze data from their graph?

Complete the explain piece to share in class tomorrow.


PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:

NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award


Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694

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Last update: March 7, 2007
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