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Miss Essay

1882 words - 8 pages

Evaluate the effectiveness of the DTM as a means of predicting future population

Demographic transition refers to the transition from high birth rates and death rates to low birth and death rates as a country develops from a pre-industrial to an industrialized economic system. This is typically demonstrated through a demographic transition model. The theory is based on an interpretation of demographic history developed in 1919 by the American demographer Warren Thompson. Thompson observed changes (transitions) in birth and death rates in industrialized societies over the previous 200 years. Most developed countries are in stage 4 of the model; the majority of developing countries have ...view middle of the document...

Although the DTM is based on these countries so the future of the population changes in Europe and America are just estimates.

After observing these changes in countries like Britain and Germany, demographers predicted that today’s NICs (newly industrialised countries) would undergo a similar transition. In the period following World War 2, mortality decline did accelerate in these countries. As the DTM would predict, that led to a surge in population growth. Also as expected, the death rate decline was later followed by a compensatory drop in birth rates. However instead of taking two centuries for the process to complete itself as it did in the developed countries, it will happen in less than one century.

The model assumes that the fall in the death rate in stage 2 was the consequence of industrialisation. Initially, the death rate in many British cities rose, due to the insanitary conditions which resulted from rapid urban growth, and it only began to fall after advances were made in medicine. The delayed fall in death rate in many LEDCs (less economically developed countries) has been due mainly to their inability to afford medical facilities. In many countries, the fall in the birth rate in stage 3 has been less rapid that the model suggest due to religious and/or political opposition to birth control, this is evident in countries like Brazil, whereas the fall was much more rapid, and cam earlier, in China following the government-introducing ‘one child’ policy. The timescale of the model, especially in several South-east Asian counties such as Hong Kong and Malaysia, is being squashed as they develop at a much faster rate than did in the early industrialised countries.

Different stages of the DTM have different characteristics. Stage 1 has a high fluctuation as the birth and deaths rates are high and the population growth is slow and fluctuating. The birth rate is high because of the lack of family planning and high infant mortality rate so families put babies in the ‘bank’ in case one of their other children die because they need children as workers in agriculture. This makes them economic assets. People’s religious beliefs can be a big factor in the high birth rate. The death rate is high due to the high levels of disease because of the lack of clean water, sanitation and healthcare. This is famine, war and competition for food from predators such as rats. This stage was typical of Britain in the 18th century and the least economically developed countries (LEDCs) today eg Ethiopia and Bangladesh.

Stage 2 is the beginning of expansion. The birth rate remains high but the death rate is falling causing the population to rise steadily. The death rate is decreasing because of improved healthcare (smallpox vaccine), improved hygiene (water for drinking is boiled to kill any germs) and improved sanitation. There is also improved food production and storage so food can be kept longer without it going off and improved transportation...

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