The Demographic Transition Model and the Fertility Transition Theory
•Conceived by Frank Notestein 1945.•Model of population change basedupon effects of economic development.•Based on the experience of theWestern world, it was used fordecades as a model to predict whatshould/would happen to developingcountries eventually.All countries pass through four or fivestages to a state of maturity.
Stage 1: High steady birth rates andhigh but fluctuating death rates.Therefore, high natural increase rate.Two rates are approximately equal. Thedeath rate fluctuates due to war anddisease. Low income, agriculturalsociety.Stage 2: Dramatic decline in deathrates; high birth rates. Onset ofindustrialization and related health andmedical advances.
Stage 3: Low death rates; decliningbirth rates, due to voluntary decisionsto reduce family size aided by improvedcontraception. Related to improvedstandard of living. Natural increase ratefalls.Stage 4: Low steady death and birthrates. Low natural increase rate, similarto Stage 1.Stage 5: Low death rates; decliningbirth rates.
So, in summary, the argument that isextracted from the demographictransition model is that since thedeveloped countries underwent a dramaticchange that resulted in lower rates ofpopulation growth, if only the developingnations could do the same their fertilityrates would also fall.“Development is the best form ofcontraception.”
However ….This demographic transition has notoccurred uniformly geographically.Some areas are in Stage 5 and some areasare in Stage 2.Times have changed since the developedworld went through the demographictransition.
Therefore, can we use the demographictransition model as a predictive tool? Canwe assume that the passage from 3rd to4th stage will happen over time?From the evidence of modern experience,it seems “no”.
Conditions are different.Prospects for industrialization arequestionable.Reductions in death rates are a result insome countries of diffusion oftechnology from the developed world.It’s one thing to introduce death control,another to introduce successful ways toreduce birth rates
There is evidence to suggest that thefertility rates are declining as in the 3rdand fourth stages, but for verydifferent reasons.This is known as the Fertility TransitionTheory.
The Fertility Transition TheoryFertility is declining in the less developedworld at a rate which exceeds the rate ofdecline that was experienced in thedeveloped world.It seems to be related directly to theextent to which modern contraceptivesare employed.Formal education is not a prerequisite forfor using contraception.
Information about contraception iswidespread due to mass media.Appeal for large families has fallen due torising status of women, obvious problemsassociated with rapid and large populationincreased for the family and the state(e.g., pressure on agricultural land).
In summary, the Fertility TransitionTheory asserts that while economicdevelopment can create a climateconducive to reductions in fertility, it is achange in cultural attitude about largefamilies and a willingness to usecontraception that is the key, along withthe availability of the contraception.
In short, development is not the best formof contraceptive; rather contraceptivesare the best form of contraceptive.But what are some of the obstacles to themore widespread use of contraception?
Opposition to birth control and familyplanning.The manufacture and distribution andeducation about their use ofcontraceptives is expensive.Religion can block birth controlprograms: Catholic Church and someothers.
Low status of women: lack of politicaland economic rights; lack of access toeducation.Preference for male children in someareas.Fertility rates are lower in urbansocieties, and much of the developingworld is still rural.