Theory of Demographic Transition

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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... ... middle of paper ... ... that simply applying identical principals to nations does not produce identical nations. The theory of demographic transition in my opinion is more of a generalization about population change through history. The theory attempts to illustrate a correlation between birth and death rates as they relate to poverty. At first glance it seems convincing yet they are really just stating observations. I find the theory is lacking in understanding causes and providing a universal solution to poverty. The problem with the theory is in application, would it be possible to force industrialization and urbanization on a third world nation to push it into transition? If it were so simple then we could solve all the worlds' problems by implementing these two "miracles." I believe the process is much more complex than the stages outlined by the theory of demographic transition.
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