AP Human Geography : Gravity Model

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Human Geography

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Gravity Model

The Gravity Model in geography suggests that __________ and __________ are the two most significant factors in determining the extent of the relationship and interaction between two cities.

Possible Answers:

population size . . . cultural output.

population size . . . distance

distance . . . cultural output.

industrial output . . . cultural output.

industrial output . . . distance.

Correct answer:

population size . . . distance


The Gravity Model is based on Isaac Newton’s law of gravitation. It is a mathematical formula, so it cannot rely on something like “cultural output” because this is unquantifiable. It instead relies on population size and distance. The Gravity Model holds that the interaction between two places can be determined by the product of the population of both places, divided by the square of their distance from one another. The primary implication of this model is that distance is not the only determining factor in the interaction between two cities. For example, although Kingston, Canada is much closer to New York City than London it also has a much lower population than London so the interaction between London and New York City is likely to be higher than the interaction between Kingston and New York City.

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