Demographic transition


The demographic transition is a demographic theory that explains the demographic change that pre-industrial societies present, when they industrialize and implement technology in their way of life.

The demographic transition, theoretically, focuses on the observation of the changes that society experiences, when this, once the countries industrialize, uses technology in their life habits. For this, pre-industrial societies are studied, characterized by high mortality and birth rates. As well as, post-industrial or industrialized societies, with very low birth and death rates.

This theory, originally, sought to respond to the changes derived from the industrial revolution, generated by technology and industrialization in demography.

However, with the passage of time, his study has been taken to more fields. Given the paradox posed by the European demographic decline.

What is trying to explain the demographic transition?

The demographic transition theory focuses on the observation of two phenomena simultaneously.

These two phenomena are the following:

  • The demographic explosion that the planet has experienced. For which the population has skyrocketed worldwide.
  • The notable reduction in the birth and death rates, after the industrialization of the economies.

These two phenomena are the focus of the theory, and why it is studied.

Phases of the demographic transition

The demographic transition, as described by its authors, is divided into 5 stages.

These stages range from pre-industrial societies to the industrialization of these societies.

In this sense, the classification would be as follows:

  • Old demographic regime or phase 1.
  • Beginning of transition or phase 2.
  • End of transition or phase 3.
  • Modern demographic regime or phase 4.
  • Zero growth phase or phase 5.

As we said, the first phase begins at the beginning of history, characterizing the population until the 18th century; century in which the Industrial Revolution occurs.

And, in the same way, it ends its time series in the 21st century, implementing all the events that still continue to happen. In this way, trying to find an explanation for why these phenomena occur, so abruptly, and in relation to a very significant change such as the Industrial Revolution.

Conclusions of the demographic transition theory

Among the conclusions that have been reached through the study of this theory, the following should be highlighted:

  • Natural population growth is low. Few people are born, and few people die.
  • There is an increase in the female population.
  • This is because the birth rate decreases, and life expectancy increases.
  • Therefore, the longer life expectancy of women reduces the male proportion.
  • Until the 18th century, and from the beginning, society was stagnant in phase 1.
  • The Industrial Revolution, in the 18th century, gave rise to the beginning of phase 2.
  • Developing or underdeveloped countries are further behind in this transition.
  • Developing countries are expected to complete this transition.
  • This, however, will not happen until they begin to develop.
  • Once it occurs, the birth and death rates are expected to converge towards a homogeneous mean.

Other related theories

Apart from the exposed theory, there are other theories that, such as the theory of the second demographic transition, or the theory of the reproductive revolution, are studied in relation to this theory.

These theories, promoted by other authors, try to provide more information about the demographic transition that the planet has experienced throughout its history.

Criticisms of the demographic transition theory

As with many theories, the demographic transition theory has also been harshly questioned by other authors, who claim to have found contradictions in this theory.

In this sense, the impact of economic growth on birth rates and population growth is highly questioned. Well, sometimes, this birth rate was attributed to the economic development and growth of countries.

However, with the passage of time, many authors have discarded this theory. In this sense, being, rather, other cultural factors and some social factors, which condition said situation, to the point of seeing the current situation in the 21st century.

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