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Why are mountains thinly populated? | Class 6- The Earth: Our Habitat ( GEOGRAPHY), SOCIAL SCIENCE


Why are mountains thinly populated?

( Chapter 6: Major Landforms of the Earth, Class 6- The Earth: Our Habitat ( GEOGRAPHY), SOCIAL SCIENCE)


Mountains are thinly populated among the three major landforms of earth namely plains, plateau, and mountains.

Several reasons discourage human settlement in the Mountains. The following are some reasons which cause thinly population in the mountains:

Harsh Environment: 

Mountainous regions frequently have challenging environmental conditions, including too cold, rugged terrain, and steep slopes. These conditions can make it difficult to build infrastructure and engage in agriculture and discourage to live in mountain regions.

Limited Arable Land: 

The steep slopes and rocky terrain of mountains leave less land for human habitation and cultivation. Arable land is limited, and the growing season is generally short, reducing the agricultural potential of mountainous regions.


Mountains can be geographically isolated and remote, with limited road networks and transportation infrastructure. This isolation makes it difficult for people to access essential services like food grains and medical services, and thus it discourages settlements.

Lack of Economic Opportunities: 

The limited agricultural and industrial opportunities in mountainous areas can result in fewer economic prospects for residents. As a result, many people migrate to lowland areas in search of employment and better living conditions.

Water Scarcity: 

While mountains are the source of many rivers, they experience water scarcity due to irregular rainfall patterns, deep groundwater tables, and the rapid runoff of precipitation. This can affect both drinking water availability and irrigation for agriculture. For example, the Mawsynram of Meghalaya receives the highest rainfall in the world, however, they face water scarcity in the dry season, as they are located in the mountain.

Natural Hazards: 

Mountains are prone to natural disasters such as avalanches, landslides, and flash floods. These hazards pose risks to human settlements and can discourage permanent residency. For example, we often hear the news of landslides in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh that cause damage to human life and property.

Limited Infrastructure: 

Developing infrastructure in mountainous terrain is expensive and challenging. Roads, utilities, and communication networks may be limited or unreliable, further discouraging population growth. For example, North Eastern state lack railways and road network as very difficult and costly to lay the transportation network in the mountainous region.

Despite these challenges, some mountainous regions are inhabited, and communities have adapted to their unique environments. These areas may offer opportunities for activities like tourism, pastoralism, and specialized agriculture. However, overall, mountains tend to have lower population densities compared to plain regions due to the various obstacles presented by their terrain and climate.

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