The Demographic Transition Model

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  • The demographic Transition model is a conceptual model that describes changes in population structure.
  • It is based on observed changes in transitions in birth and death rates in industrialised countries over the last 200 years.
  • It has four stages 
  • The transitions started in Europe at around 1800.
  • Before the transition, lives were short, births were high, the population was young and growth was slow.
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Stage 1 - Pre-Modern

  • Stage 1 is called the Pre-Modern stage
  • It took place in the 18th century (1700's)
  • Birth and death rates were high
  • Population growth was slow
  • The population was young
  • Food shortage
  • Disease 
  • Drought
  • Children contributed to household income
  • Lack of knowledge of disease prevention or cure.
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Stage 2 - Industrialisation/Urbanisation

  • Stage 2 is called the industrialisation or urbanisation stage
  • 19th century (1800's)
  • Birth rates were still high
  • Mortality declining - reduction of contagious and infectious diseases spread by water or air
  • Child mortality first to decline, followed by infant mortality - smallpox vaccination
  • Decline in adult mortality more gradual
  • Population explosion
  • Improved access to food - introduction of potatoes and maize
  • Changes observed in NW Europe
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Stage 3 - Mature Industrial

  • Stage 3 is called the mature industrial stage
  • 20th century (1900's)
  • Fetility rates starting to decline
  • Mortality rates declining further
  • Increasing urbanisation
  • Female literacy and education improved
  • Better access and availability of contraception
  • Population stabilised
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Stage 4 - Post-Industrial

  • Stage 4 is called the post-industrial stage
  • 21st century (2000's)
  • Population gradually declining
  • Birth and death rates decreasing further
  • Fertility rates dropped below replacement level (2.1)
  • Population structure older
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The factors that triggered fertility decline are...

  • Erosion of norms supporting high fertility
  • Expensive childcare
  • Children no longer contributing to household income
  • Reduction in child mortality
  • Improvments in contraception
  • Increasing number of women joining the labour force
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