Impact of Globalization on Place

Impact of Globalization on Place

The world has been getting smaller for hundreds of years, but unprecedented changes in transportation, communications, and information technology have dramatically accelerated the pace of globalization.


3 - 12


Geography, Human Geography, Social Studies, Economics

NGS Resource Carousel Loading Logo
Loading ...
Selected text level

The world has changed in many ways. It has had huge inventions that have changed transportation, communications, and technology. All of these have increased the speed of globalization.

What is globalization? This is a name for the increased connection of people, businesses, and organizations around the world. The term is often used in an economic sense. Globalization refers to the trading of goods and services between businesses, organizations, and countries. Globalization also refers to cultural changes that might occur as a result of this exchange.

Advances in communication and technology have led to a faster exchange of ideas. Smartphones provide an ongoing connection between immigrants and their families. Global news channels spread news about faraway events. The internet allows people all over the world to access the same information and entertainment.

Effects on Place

Place can be defined as the physical and human characteristics of a city, country, or region. Physical aspects of a place include things such as landforms, water flow, elevation, and climate. Globalization can affect the physical aspects of a place. For example, increased trade might negatively affect the quality of air in a city.

However, globalization can have an even larger effect on culture and human activity. Culture includes religion, language, clothing, and ways of life. The rapid spread of information and goods has affected cultures around the world.

Effects on Humans

Globalization is not a new idea. The Silk Road is an example of early globalization. For more than 1,500 years, Europeans traded glass and goods for Chinese silk and spices. Thanks to this ancient trade route, both Europe and Asia became familiar with goods from far away.

The spread of religion can also change the characteristics of places. Europeans colonized North America and South America between the 1700s and the 1900s. They brought their Roman Catholic beliefs with them. This is a type of Christianity. Today, Roman Catholicism is the main religion in many countries in South America.

Language, another defining characteristic of place, also changes with globalization. Today, many people around the world speak English.

The economies, or conditions of wealth, of many places have changed as a result of globalization. Globalization can affect where and how people work and live. Globalization allows businesses to work in areas where labor is cheaper. American companies might work with companies in India where labor is less expensive.

In some places, globalization has created new economic opportunities. Clothing has become a big thing to export, or trade to other countries, in Bangladesh, a country in South Asia. This has improved the wealth of the country, which is one of the poorest nations of the world.

But globalization can hurt individual workers, especially in places like Bangladesh with fewer rights for workers.

Globalization also brings about the growth of cities key to global trade. Because of its role in global business, Shanghai, China, has grown to become the world's largest city.

Globalization also has a large effect on culture. Traditions, holidays and popular culture now go beyond borders. For example, more people celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the United States than in Mexico, where it started.

Globalization can also bring about cultural changes through the goods people buy. In general, globalization decreases the cost of making goods and the average cost of goods. Cheaper goods lead to a better standard of living. People now also have access to a wider variety of goods. Now, Indian food is widely available in London, England, and Chinese restaurants can be found in almost any American town.

Globalization creates a more connected world. People around the world listen to the same music and watch the same television programs. All over the world, globalization has forever changed the characteristics of places.

Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Tyson Brown, National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society
Production Managers
Gina Borgia, National Geographic Society
Jeanna Sullivan, National Geographic Society
Program Specialists
Sarah Appleton, National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
Margot Willis, National Geographic Society
Clint Parks
Roza Kavak
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

For information on user permissions, please read our Terms of Service. If you have questions about how to cite anything on our website in your project or classroom presentation, please contact your teacher. They will best know the preferred format. When you reach out to them, you will need the page title, URL, and the date you accessed the resource.


If a media asset is downloadable, a download button appears in the corner of the media viewer. If no button appears, you cannot download or save the media.


Text on this page is printable and can be used according to our Terms of Service.


Any interactives on this page can only be played while you are visiting our website. You cannot download interactives.