Demographics In Latin America Essay

5843 words - 23 pages

Timing of demographic transition in Latin America and its links with human development (An essay) Introduction The deep and rapid change in the demographic pattern for most of the Latin American countries that occurred as a consequence of fertility decline corresponds to one of the most important population structural changes in the Region in modern times. One of the main effects of this change is the transformation taking place in an age distribution, that was virtually quasi-stable until recently This change, and therefore, the onset of demographic transition that brought about a changing age structure took place at different times and social development levels among the countries of the Region.This paper presents, firstly, the timing that some Latin American countries would take for completing this transition, considering the total population and broad age groups. Secondly it discusses the possible links between these different timings, emphasizing the role of fertility decline process, particularly on the later stage of transitional phase and human development.Five countries, (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru) are selected. Although they do not represent the Region statistically speaking, they have had quite different demographic development and, numerically, represent about three quarters of the total Latin American population. On the other side, as major part of the countries in the Region, it may be said that they have, in current times, common socio- cultural values, similar economic development and strong inclination toward westernization.1. Demographic transition in Latin America Demographic transition, in a generic sense, as opposed to 'theory' or 'paradigm' (Livi-Bacci, 1993), is largely ongoing in almost all Latin American countries. The process has accelerated, particularly during the period 1965-2000, when, according to the United Nations figures(1995), the Region is experiencing the most accentuated fertility decline among the developing areas. This transition is a process where five phases, as Chesnais (1992) suggests, may be detected based on size of the annual average growth rate (r): a) Low, usually 0.5% (pre-transition stage) b) Increasing c) Stagnating peak (around, say, 3.0%) d) Decreasing; and finally, and again e) Low, usually 0.5% (post-transition stage).The transition is caused by changes in the death and birth rates, previously held constant; decrease in the former that usually it is followed by decrease in the latter, causes changes in the growth rate. Duration of the transition may be defined as the period when r starts increasing, stabilize and finally returns to its pre transition levels. Figure 1 represents the classic scheme of demographic transition portrayed by the birth, death and growth rates and location of the phases mentioned.Graph. 1 approx. here The same measures, replicating this scheme were plotted for the five Latin American selected countries and the whole Region on Figure 2. The trends...

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