Theory Of Demographic Transition Essay

1009 words - 4 pages

The `Theory of Demographic Transition' embraces the observation that all countries in the world go through different stages in the growth of population. A nation's economy and level of development is directly related to that nation's birth and death rates. Population history can be divided into three main stages, which apply to third world, second world and first world nations. These stages or classifications demonstrate a transition from high birth and death rates to low birth and death rates. The `Theory of Demographic Transition' suggests that all nations begin in stage one as underdeveloped, third world nations and through time transition into first world nations. The theory discusses observations made concerning social problems and their relation to each stage of transition; then attributes them to population. Through this model we can understand the relationship, characteristics, and transition between underdeveloped and developed nations as it relates to population.

The first stage is a period with both high fertility and high mortality rates. Observations taken from demography show that underdeveloped or `Third World' nations have extremely high birth and death rates. Many households cannot have the number of surviving children they desire due to high mortality rates and less than favorable health conditions that affect natural fertility. In order to maintain their populations under high mortality conditions, these nations have cultures that promote fertility. Life chances decrease with an increased population, which leads to various social problems such as: hunger, malnutrition, starvation, ill health, preventable disease, high infant mortality, and low life expectancy. Third world nations have small economies, little to no development and high unemployment. Agriculture is the main source of income as they struggle to balance the necessity of cash crops verses subsistence crops. Overpopulation represents a situation of excess demand in many households however in a primitive society there are economic advantages in a large family size. Children contribute at an early age and are source of security with aging parents. Birth rates are also high as a consequence of widespread illiteracy, absence of family planning techniques, early age marriages, traditional beliefs, and social customs. Death rates are high because of the reduced life chances, poor diets, primitive sanitation and the absence of effective medical aid.

The second stage of transition starts when mortality declines become continuous due to the implementation of new technology and medical advances. However, the fertility rate stays nearly constant during the period of medical advances, due to deep-rooted cultural norms. Nations in stage two experience extraordinary population growths due to the changing balance between birth and death rates. This is the beginning of what many have termed the "population explosion." This stage represents second world nations and their...

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