Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the Demographic Transition Model
The Demographic Transition Model traces how the population of a country changes over time. It
gives changes in birth rates and death rates, and shows that countries pass through five stages of
natural population change.
An advantage of the D.T.M is that all countries fit the model. If we are to compare and LEDCs
demographic movement through stage 2, the early expanding phase, it is very similar to an MEDCs
movement through this stage also. Though at different times, both India and the UK experienced
falling death rates before a fall in birth rates which led to quite rapid population growth. However,
the D.T.M relates to evidence based on north European and so fits Western Europe and North
America better than anywhere else. The links that LEDCs have to industrialisation makes it difficult
to progress their demographic change as smoothly.
Another advantage could be that the D.T.M could be used as a predictor of population growth. If we
can predict that a countries population is going to decline, as is stage 5, then policies can be put in
place in order to maintain economic stability. An example of this is the pro-natalist approaches put
in place by the Italian Government. However, it could be argued that as the D.T.M does not take into
account migration, how can it make accurate predictions? Nor are areas with high rates of disease
such as HIV/AIDS which suggests that accurate predictions cannot be made.
That the D.T.M has the flexibility with time periods is another advantage. We see Brazil passed into
stage 3 of the D.T.M around 1982, yet the U.K moved into stage 3 around 100years before. This can
indicate that the countries are at different stages of development, yet still follow the same
population pattern. However, the time scales for stage 2 and stage 3 in poorer countries compared
to richer countries raises a serious question about progression through the stages. How accurate can
the model be with such vast differences? Moreover, the causes of the change from stage 2 to 3 in
LEDCs is also different to those in MEDCs.
Ultimately, despite its advantages, it seems that one model cannot fit all countries. There are too
many examples of varying movement through the stages, particularly between MEDCs and LEDCs.