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The Demographic Transition Model

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The Demographic Transition Model, developed by Warren Thompson (1929), posits a shift from an agricultural, rural economy to an industrialized, urban society. A characteristic of this shift is an …

The Demographic Transition Model, developed by Warren Thompson (1929), posits a shift from an agricultural, rural economy to an industrialized, urban society. A characteristic of this shift is an intermediate period of rapid population growth during which slowly declining fertility rates lag behind rapidly declining mortality rates. This presentation will explore the four stages of the Demographic Transition Model, the relationship between economic development and population growth, as well as the potential issues and shortfalls when applying this classic model to today’s developing countries.


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  • 1. Keene State College
    Human Cultural Mosaic
    ISGEOG203 Fall ‘09
    Professor: Dr. Rydant
    Created by: April Buzby
    Supplemental Instructor
    The Demographic Transition
  • 2. Introduction
    Demographic Transition Model(DTM)
    • Represents a nation’s transition through industrialization
    • 3. Commonly involves 4 stages
    • 4. An idealized picture of population change in a country.
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
    2
  • 5. Introduction
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
    Population Pyramid
    • Shows the distribution population by age and sex
    • 6. A specific age group (i.e. ages 0-4) is called a cohort.
    • 7. Different stages in the demographic transition show considerably different population pyramids
    3
  • 8. Stage 1: Pre-Industrial Period
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
    4
    Crude Birth Rate (CBR): the annual number of live births per 1000 people.
    Crude Death Rate (CDR): the annual number of deaths per 1000 people.
    • Crude Birth Rate: High
    • 9. Crude Death Rate: High
    • 10. Rate of Natural Increase: Fluctuating
    • 11. Examples: Britain in the 17th and 18th century; some remote Amazon tribes
    Rate of Natural Increase: the difference between the number of live births and the number of deaths during the year found through the equation birth rate (b) – death rate (d) = rate of natural increase (r).
  • 12. Stage 1: Birth Rate
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
    Birth Rate is high due to:
    • Lack of family planning
    • 13. High Infant Mortality Rate
    • 14. Need for workers in agriculture
    • 15. Religious beliefs
    • 16. Children as economic assets
    5
    Infant Mortality Rate: the annual number of deaths of children less than 1 year old per 1000 live births.
  • 17. Stage 1: Death Rate
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
    Death Rate is high due to:
    6
  • 24. Stage 1: Population Change
    Population Change
    • Due to high birth and death rates, population is stable.
    • 25. Population Growth Rate: ≤ 1%
    • 26. Doubling Time: ~100 years
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
    7
    Doubling Time: The number of years it will take to double the present population given its current rate of population growth.
  • 27. Stage 1: Age Structure
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
    Life Expectancy: number of years which an individual at a given age could expect to live at present mortality levels.
    Population Pyramid Shape: Concave triangular
    Age Structure of Population:
    • Rapid fall in each age group due to high death rates
    • 28. Short life expectancy
    8
  • 29. Stage 2: Transitional Period
    Crude Birth Rate: High
    Crude Death Rate: Decreasing
    Rate of Natural Increase: Increasing
    Examples: Britain late 18th Century to mid-19th Century, Kenya
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
    9
  • 30. Stage 2: Birth Rate
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
    Total Fertility Rate (TFR): The number of live births per woman from age 15 to 49.
    Birth Rate remains high due to:
    • Total Fertility Rate (TFR): 4.56
    • 31. People are used to having many children. Takes time for culture to change
    • 32. Religious beliefs
    10
  • 33. Stage 2: Death Rate
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
    Death Rate decreasing due to:
    • Improved Hygiene
    • 34. Improved sanitation
    • 35. Improved food production and storage
    • 36. Improved transport for food
    11
  • 37. Stage 2: Population Change
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
    Population Change
    • “Population Explosion" - gap between deaths and births grows wider.
    • 38. England’s Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions.
    • 39. LDC cause of today’s population explosion
    • 40. Population Growth rate: 3%
    • 41. Doubling Time: 18-20 years
    12
  • 42. Stage 2: Age Structure
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
    Population Pyramid Shape: Triangular
    Age structure of Population:
    • Growing young dependant population
    • 43. Increasingly youthful age structure
    • 44. Accelerating population growth
    13
  • 45. Stage 3: Industrial Period
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
    Crude Birth Rate:Decreasing
    Crude Death Rate:Continues to decrease
    Rate of Natural Increase:Increasing but at a slower rate
    Examples: Britain early 20th century; Brazil; Mexico
    14
  • 46. Stage 3: Birth Rate
    Birth Rate decreasing due to:
    • TFR: 2.05
    • 47. Improvements in contraceptive technology.
    • 48. Changes in values about children and sex.
    • 49. Parents need fewer children.
    • 50. Rising costs of dependent children to a family.
    • 51. Valuation of women beyond motherhood.
    • 52. Working women have less time to devote to child rearing.
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
    15
  • 53. Stage 3: Death Rate
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
    Death Rate low due to:
    • Better Health Care
    • 54. Vaccinations
    • 55. Better understanding of the spread of diseases
    • 56. Pre-natal care
    • 57. Improved sanitation (i.e. indoor plumbing)
    • 58. Improved quality and quantity of food
    16
  • 59. Stage 3: Population Change
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
    Population Change
    • Large 15-45 cohort equals continued population growth
    • 60. Population Growth rate: ≤ 1%
    • 61. Doubling Time: 65 years
    17
  • 62. Stage 3: Age Structure
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
    Population Pyramid Shape: Columnar
    Age structure of Population:
    • Decreasing TFR
    • 63. Bulge in the reproductive cohorts
    • 64. Narrowing pyramid base
    18
  • 65. Stage 4: Post-Industrial Period
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
    Crude Birth Rate:Low
    Crude Death Rate:Low
    Rate of Natural Increase:Stable
    Examples: Britain late-20th century; Sweden; Japan
    19
  • 66. Stage 4: Birth Rate
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
    Birth Rate low due to:
    20
  • 71. Stage 4: Death Rate
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
    Death Rate low due to:
    • Improved health care
    • 72. High quantity and quality of food supply
    21
  • 73. Stage 4: Population Change
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
    Replacement Fertility Level: The level of fertility at which a cohort of women on the average are having only enough children to replace themselves and their partner in the population.
    Population Change
    • TFR falls to replacement fertility levels (2.1)
    • 74. Zero Population Growth (ZPG) reached
    • 75. Stable but high population size
    • 76. Population Growth rate: >1%
    • 77. Doubling Time: ~1000 years
    22
  • 78. Stage 4: Age Structure
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
    Population Pyramid Shape: Inverted
    Age structure of Population:
    • Characterized by stability.
    • 79. Age structure becomes older.
    23
  • 80. A Fifth Stage?
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
    The original Demographic Transition Model has just four stages; however in some cases the fertility rate falls well below replacement level and population decline sets in rapidly. It is theorized that a fifth stage is necessary to account for this demographic stage.
    24
  • 85. Modern Applicability
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
    • Generalization from European experience
    • 86. Assumes that population changes are induced by industrial changes and increased wealth
    • 87. Assumes that the birth rate is independent of the death rate.
    • 88. Assumes that countries will go through all the stages.
    • 89. Some countries may skip stages.
    • 90. Does not account for migration.
    • 91. Does not take into account the role of social change in determining birth rates, e.g., the education of women.
    • 92. Some countries are in a demographic trap and can not progress
    25
  • 93. The Human Development Index and the DTM
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
    • Fertility declines at low and medium Human Development Index (HDI) levels
    • 94. Theorizes that advanced HDI promotes a rebound in fertility.
    • 95. In many countries with very high levels of development (around 0.95) fertility rates are now approaching two children per woman.
    Example: Netherlands
    CBR: 12
    CDR: 9
    TFR: 1.7
    Population Growth : 0.7
    HDI: 0.953 (9th)
    26
  • 96. Conclusion
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
    • Represents a nation’s transition through industrialization
    • 97. Commonly involves 4 stages
    • 98. An idealized picture of population change in a country.
    • 99. Used to indicate future birth rates, death rates , and the population size of developing countries
    • 100. Generalization from European experience
    • 101. Assumes that population changes are induced by industrial changes and increased wealth
    • 102. Different stages in the demographic transition show considerably different population pyramids
    27
  • 103. Crude Birth Rate (CBR): the annual number of live births per 1000 people.
    Crude Death Rate (CDR): the annual number of deaths per 1000 people.
    Total Fertility Rate (TFR): the annual number of live births per woman from age 15 to 49 years old.
    Infant Mortality Rate: the annual number of deaths of children less than 1 year old per 1000 live births.
    Life Expectancy: number of years which an individual at a given age could expect to live at present mortality levels.
    Rate of Natural Increase: the difference between the number of live births and the number of deaths during the year found through the equation birth rate (b) – death rate (d) = rate of natural increase (r).
    Doubling Time: the number of years it will take to double the present population given its current rate of population growth.
    Replacement Fertility: the level of fertility at which a cohort of women on the average are having only enough children to replace themselves and their partner in the population.
    Population Momentum: the tendency of population growth to continue after the TFR achieves replacement fertility levels.
    28
    Glossary
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
  • 104. Sources
    April Buzby Keene State College Fall 2009
    CIA World Factbook
    Domosh , M., Neumann, R.P., Price, P.L., Jodan-Bychkov, T.G., (2009). The human mosaic, eleventh edition.
    Montgomery, Keith. The demographic transition
    Myrskyla, M., Kohler, H-P., and Billari, F. Advances in development reverse fertility declines. Nature 460, 741-743 (6 August 2009).
    U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. International Data Base (IDB).
    United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Human Development Reports.
    29