AQA Sociology AS: Demography

Covers AQA Specification Point:

  • Demographic trends in the UK since 1900; reasons for changes in birth rates, death rates and family size
  • Created by: Chloe
  • Created on: 24-12-11 17:55


  • Birth Rate: number of live births per 1000 of the population per year.
  • 1900 – England and Wales birth rate at 28.7
  • 2007 - England and Wales birth rae at 10.7
  • 1914 – 18 – 1st baby boom
  • 1939 – 45 – 2nd baby boom
  • 1960 – 3rd baby boom
  • 1970 – Birth rate fall
  • 1980 – Birth rate rise
  • 1990 – Birth rate fall
  • 2001 – Birth rate rise
  • TFR (total fertility rate): the average number of children women will have during their fertile years.
  • UK's TFR (risen since 2001) from 1.6 to 1.8. Was 2.95 in 1964.

Reasons for Changes in Birth Rate:

  • Changes in the position of women e.g. right to vote, education, paid work, attitude change, divorce & contraception. Women pursuing a career
  • Decline in Infant Mortality Rate: IMR (number of infants who die before 1st bday, per 1000 per year. UK 1900 - 154.
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Births (2)

  • IMR began to fall in 20th century - improved health, nutrition, hygiene, less babies born & services.
  • Medical factors from about 1950s - immunisations e.g. whooping cough. 2007 - IMR: 5.
  • Some sociologists disagree & say that smaller families in urban areas because of higher IMR
  • Children have become an economic liability: Laws banning child labour, school leaving age - increasing length of childs dependency. Changing norms.
  • Child Centredness: Childhood socially constructed. Families from quantity to quality.
  • Future trends in birth rates: Immigration increasing the birth rate.

Effect of Changes in Fertility:

  • The family: smaller families - more work for women, dual earning.
  • Dependency ratio: Fall in children - less dependency.
  • Public Services and Policies: Fewer schools & services
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1900 – Death rate: 19/1000

Reasons for decline in the death rate:

  • Tranter (1996) - over three-quarters of the decline in the death rate from about 1850 to 1970 was due to a fall in the number of deaths from infectious diseases e.g. scarlet fever, measles, smallpox, TB.
  • Improved nutrition - reduced deaths by half especially in terms of TB. Increased risk to infection and increased survival chances.
  • Medical Improvements - 1950s onwards, antibiotics, immunisation, blood transfusion, midwifery, services e.g. NHS 1949. Reduced deaths in heart disease by 1/3
  • Public health & environmental improvements - in housing, drinking water, food, sewage disposal methods. Clean Air Acts reducing air pollution. 4000 premature deaths in 5 days in 1952 due to smog.
  • Social Changes - less dangerous jobs, smaller families and less infection, greater public knowledge & higher incomes allowing healthier lifestyle.
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Life Expectancy

Life Expectancy: how long on average a person born in a given year can expect to live. e.g. Male born in England 1900 could expect on average to live until they were 50 (57 for females). Males born in 2003-5 can expect to live for 76.9 years (81.2 for females). Increased by about 2 years per decade.

  • Class, gender & regional differences. - Women generally live longer than men although gap has narrowed. Working class men 3x more likely to die before 65 compared to profession jobs. Live longer in North & Scotland.

The ageing population.

  • Increased life expectancy - people living longer.
  • Lower infant mortality rates.
  • Declining fertility - fewer being born.
  • 'Age pyramids' show age proportions in a society.
  • Effects: public services stress, 'bed-blocking' in hospitals, pensioner households account for 14% of all households, a large dependency on economically active.
  • A problem?
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  • Migration: movement of people from one place to another.
  • Immigration: movement into an area or society.
  • Emigration: movement out.
  • Net Migration: difference between immigrating & emigrating. Expressed as net increase or decrease
  • 20th century - natural increase - more births than deaths.
  • 1980s - emigration higher than immigration so net decrease.
  • UK has no immigration quota.
  • More push factors than pull factors for people in UK.
  • EU - people move and work freely. Britain joined in 2004
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thank you :D



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thank u

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