Describe and explain the Demographic Transitional model

The Demographic Transitional model or D.T describes the pattern of population growth that a country goes through to develop. The population of countries changes over four stages of the demographic Transitional model. The D. model is split into four stages. Stage 1 is known as high fluctuating, stage 2 is known as early expanding. Stage 3 is known as late expanding and stage 4 is known as low fluctuating. Stage 5 has been added recently to show the population decline in some More Economically Developed Counties (MEDC’s) such as Germany and Switzerland.

Stage one of the D.T model is known as high fluctuating. This is because the high birth rates and death rates fluctuate at a high level (about 35 per 1000), which cancel each other. By this the population remains stable and low. Birth rates are high because:

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No birth control or family planning.

So many children die in infancy that parents tend to produce more in the hope that several will live

Many children are needed to work on the land.

Children are regarded as a sign of virility.

Religious believes (e.g. Roman Catholics, Muslims and Hindus) encourage large families.

High death rates, especially among children are due to:

Disease and plague (bubonic and cholera).

Such countries as Ethiopia, Bangladesh is at this stage in time (UK pre-1760)

Stage two of the D.T model is known as early expanding (the beginning of the industrial revolution). This is due to the fact that death rates decreased rapidly to about 20 per 1000 of the population, where as the birth rate remains at a high level. This gives a marginal growth in population.

The fall in death rates results from:

Improved medical care such as vaccinations, hospitals, doctors, new drugs and scientific inventions.

Improved sanitation and water supply.

Improvements in food production, both quality and quantity.

Improved transport to move food and doctors etc.

A decrease in child mortality1.

Improved hygiene and better quality of housing.

Such countries as Peru, Sri Lanka and Kenya are at this stage in time (UK 1760-1880).

Stage three of the D.T model is known as the late expanding period when the industrial revolution is near completion and the country is almost industrialised. At this stage the birth rate falls rapidly to perhaps 20 per 1000 of the population, while death rates continue to fall slightly (15 per 1000 of the population), to give a slowly increasing population.

The fall in birth rate may be due to:

Family planning-contraceptives, sterilisation, abortion and government incentives.

A lower infant mortality rate meaning less pressure to have more children.

Increased industrialisation and mechanism meaning fewer labourers are needed.

Increased desire for material (cars, holidays, bigger homes) and less for large families.

An increased incentives for small families.

Such counties as China and Cuba are at this stage (UK 1880-1940)

The following fourth stage is known as low fluctuating. Here, the D.T model illustrated that both birth rate (16 per 1000) and death rates (12 per 1000) remain low, fluctuating slightly to give a steady population. The birth rates fluctuate due to economic concerns e.g. growth.

It has recently been discovered that there may be a stage five developing known as declining. Here, birth rates fall below death rates to give a declining population. Some evidence suggests that this might be occurring in several Western, European countries such as Germany.

It has been claimed that the D.T model theory is of limited value when studying the population change in the developing world. This, I believe, is a valid point as the D.T model is biased. The model is vital to our understanding of population dynamics and is based upon the evidence of population evolution in Western Europe and North America since the mid 18th centaury. Therefore, the biased is distinctly Western.

Another factor is political instability. Counties such as Afghanistan are still at stage one of the D.T model, as the former rulers, the Taliban, did not want the country to industrialise. It therefore, remained a poor country, which could hardily feed its self. The D.T model would be of little use here, as the rulers do not wish for the country to develop therefore, the country will not persist to the next level of development.

Today’s MEDC’s have government incentives which promote the use of contraception and families planning. This is not the case for LEDC’s (Less Economically Developed Countries) as their religion differ from Christianity. The main religions are Hinduism, Buddhists and Muslims. All religions forbid the use of contraception. They believe strongly in fate and what will be will be. It is up to God whether or not a woman will become pregnant and that we should not tamper with this. Here, the D.T model would prove to be of little value as the population would not change and the country would not follow the pattern already set out be the Developed County’s.

In the developing world, countries such as India, there is a general desire for a large family, the need for labour to work in the fields and in local small-scale industries and also the need for enough to survive into adult life to support parents in their old age. Here, the D.T model theory is of little value as the population will remain high and will not follow the general pattern set.

In the developing world, centuries of cultural conditioning have relegated women to the roles of child bearing and servant to their husband. The level of literacy among women is low and they are the forgotten part of the population and do not have a say. Their only purpose is to have as many children as possible and to tend to the needs of the families. Here, the D.T model would prove of limited use as people’s views would not change, therefore the population would continue to rise.

The D.T model did not take into account migration and immigration within counties. This is especially high within LEDC’s as the people search for a higher standard of living. The D.T model would prove invalid, as the people who usually emigrate are those between the ages of 18 and 35 (reproductive group). These groups of people are usually the workers. Without these people, the county cannot develop, as there is a labour shortage.

Depending on the size of a developing country, the larger it is, the longer and more difficult it is for the country to develop and raise its living standards for its people. Since the demographic transitional model was based on the development of Western Europe and North America, then the D.T model would be of little value as it is biased.

Another reason why the D.T model may be of little use when studying the development of LEDC’s as usually, the MEDC’s are typically rich in natural resources where as a third county like Sudan has little resources which are of economic value. The outcome of the graph would be different and the developing country would not advance.

Since countries like the United Kingdom have gone through the stages, there has been a rapid advance in medicine. This would mean that for a third world country, its death rate would be lower. Therefore, the developing county would not follow the same pattern, which is layer out. The country may create its own path to development.

The LEDC’s are not going to industrialise as today’s MEDC’s did in the past. This is because there was a guaranteed market in the beginning of the industrial revolution. Today, there is too much compertition and trade sanctions on the developing countries make development difficult and virtually impossible. Here, the D.T model would prove invalid as birth rates will remain high and the developing world will not advance.

Population change in the developed world – The case of the Former West Germany.

Whilst most developing countries trying to control its population growth, there was concerned in the developed world about the levelling out of growth and even a decline in population numbers. Whilst economic change is an important factor, it is bound up with disruptions caused by two world wars and changes in the views and attitudes of society. Germany’s population growth rate begins to decrease after the War as so many young men from the reproductive sector had been killed. The war was followed by economic uncertainties in the 1920’s as the depression from America spread. This made couples anxious about having children, as at the time, they could not afford to feed and cloth them. Many Germans emigrated abroad to Latin America and the United Kingdom.

Thus, birth rates fell in the inter war period despite some limited recovery towards the end of the 1930’s. When the Nazis came to power, it encouraged the population to increase as part of its expansion policies. The, came the Second World War where Germany lost nearly 3 million people. Most of them from the reproductive sector of the population. There was, however, a short rise in the birth rates as the men returned from War to their families and those refugees, which entered the country. The population further decreased as the east of Germany was taken over by the Communist regime. The population then rose in this period of 1945-1960 from 42 million to 55 million.

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