Demographics

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Demographic Transition

The demographic transition theory focuses on changes over time in the causes of mortality affecting certain populations, such as health conditions and disease patterns. Through history a decline in death rates and an increase of life expectancy has been observed, implying that societies go through a transition from one equilibrium (high birth and death rates) to another (low birth and death rates). This transition is associated with a rapid surge of the population as well as urbanization and can be divided in four phases:
•Phase I. This phase of the demographic transition (high stationary) is characterized by high birth and death rates, implying that the total population is stable or grows slowly. Mortality is high with the prevalence of communicative diseases that have not yet been mitigated by modern medicine. Famine is also common with uncertain food supplies and poor diet, making people more susceptible to diseases. Poor hygiene, no clean water or sewage disposal also contribute. Fertility is high since there is no or little family planning (contraception) as parents have as many children as possible because few survive to become adults. Fertility is also encouraged by the dominant socioeconomic structure in rural societies with many children needed to work the land with religious beliefs and cultural traditions also inciting large families. Birth and death rates fluctuate with the ebb and flows of events such as wars, epidemics or droughts. This situation characterized Europe up to the 19th century and developing countries up to the early 20th century.
•Phase II. This phase marked the beginning of the demographic transition (early expanding) with a rapid drop in death rates while birth rates remained high. The main drivers behind the drop in death rates were related to improved medicine, sanitation and waters supply. Improvements in…...

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