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  1. #1
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    Default Population movement as diffusion rather than push pull

    The idea I have in my head is that instead of describing population movements in terms of pushing and pulling (for jobs, weather, culture, etc.), it may make more sense to think in terms of people more or less randomly moving around, with an overall tendency to go certain places, but overall they could more or less go anywhere.

    The idea came from a few sources. One part comes from noticing that a lot of people seem to not have particularly strong reason to move somewhere, they may happen to get picked for a particular job, or may happen to have friends in a certain area, but overall many of these choices aren't particularly strong ones.

    Another part came from how population changes in the U.S. are occurring, with a large amount of growth in Southeastern and western areas, while a lot of Northeastern and Midwestern areas grow much more slowly. When looking at the states, though, in terms of education, prices of living, etc., the growing states don't seem to stand out in anyway. The idea rattling around for what is going on is that because the economies in those states have been growing and improving a lot, the population is "evening out", in a sense.

    I'm also not sure if this just comes from my doing a lot in college related to thermodynamics, heat transfer, chemical reactions, etc. (where these types of random processes are considered to be where the overall chemical, heat flow, etc. processes come from), whether there's something to it, or whether it doesn't really say anything new.

  2. #2
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    What you're saying, then, is that things tend to work towards balance? When there's resources available for people, they tend to move towards them even if they already have enough where they are? As if they slowly want to "diffuse" within the boundaries of their "container" rather than remain concentrated? It especially makes sense if you think about how the barriers of intranational travel and communication have been broken down by technology like air travel, Internet access, and such.

    I have this idea in my head that everything seems to work towards balance. For every idea or situation than can exist, there is an opposite idea or situation. It's hard to explain... but you do see what I mean?

  3. #3
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Yeah, but watch out when the south-west is taken over by a bunch of superior Austronesian farmers.

    Wait.. that's something else completely. Carry on.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    What you're saying, then, is that things tend to work towards balance? When there's resources available for people, they tend to move towards them even if they already have enough where they are? As if they slowly want to "diffuse" within the boundaries of their "container" rather than remain concentrated?
    Yes, that's kind of how it works. The explanation below should hopefully give a better idea of what I'm talking about.

    Diffusion of particles through gas, liquid, etc. is something you've probably seen plenty of times, where, for example, some liquid or salt placed in water will slowly mix with it even without any stirring or movement. The general explanation for why this happens is that the molecules of water and whatever the water mixes with are randomly moving around in all directions, but because some parts of the mixture have more of one thing than another, the random movement of individual molecules or particles leads to movement overall from higher concentration to lower concentrations.

    In general, what you described it as does fit the pattern, but the people aren't deliberately trying to spread out and even out, it just happens that way thanks to individual choices adding up. (Assuming that this way of thinking about it actually works and is useful.)

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