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a populated point; the primary unit of the pattern of human settlement within an area, where the material forms of human habitation are also concentrated. A necessary feature of the populated area is that it can be used as a place of habitation regularly, year after year, although it may be used on a seasonal basis. The populated area is a category in population geography. The varied appearances of populated areas and their material forms are determined by the general socioeconomic conditions and the level of development of productive forces. At the same time, the appearance of the populated area reflects national characteristics of material culture and national traditions, and, to a significant degree, depends on the natural environment.
The classification of populated areas is for the most part based on the number of people and is used in demographic statistics. (Thus, categories range from the Khutor [farmstead] and village to the city, with millions of inhabitants.) In many countries the criterion of population legislatively determines the classification of the inhabitants of a populated area as urban or rural. Separate dwellings or small populated areas are classified as part of nearby, larger populated areas with which they have close connections. In foreign literature a frequently used criterion for a populated area is “continuous construction” (gaps of not more than 100–150 m). Populated areas are used primarily for settlement.
V. V. POKSHISHEVSKII