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Lecture

SOC101Y1 Lecture Notes - Demographic Transition, Population Connection


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC101Y1
Professor
S

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of 1
Demographic Transition Theory
• According to demographic transition theory, societies move from high birth rates and death rates to
relatively low birth and death rates as a result of technological development. The demographic
transition takes place in four stages:
1) Preindustrial Stage characterized by little population growth; high birth rates are offset by high
death rates
2) Transitional or Early Industrial Stage characterized by significant population growth as the birth rate
remains high but the death rate declines because of new technologies that improve health, sanitation,
and nutrition
3) Mature Industrial Stage characterized by declining birth rate as people control their fertility with
various forms of contraception, and the death rate declines as medicine and other health care
technologies control acute and chronic diseases.
4) Postindustrial Stage characterized by very slow or no population growth, as a decreasing birth rate
is coupled with a stable death rate
• Proponents of the demographic transition theory believe that technology can overcome the dire
predictions of Malthus. Critics, however, point out that not all nations go through all the stages or in the
manner outlined. They think that demographic transition theory explains development in Western
societies but not necessarily in others (e.g., China is in the process of significantly reducing its birth rate
but only because of the government’s mandated one child per family policy, not because of
technological advances or urbanization).
Zero Population Growth
• With zero population growth, there is a totally stable population, one that neither grows nor decreases
from year to year because births, deaths, and migration are in perfect balance.
• The United States is nearing zero population growth because of several factors:
1) A high proportion of women and men in the labor force find satisfaction and rewards outside of
family life
2) Birth control is inexpensive and readily available
3) The trend is toward later marriage
4) The cost of raising a child from birth to adulthood is rising rapidly
5) Schools and public service campaigns make teenagers more aware of how to control fertility