GGR208 Test Review – Main Points
Sept. 15 Demographic Transitions and Urbanization
Newbold: Introduction, Ch. 1, Ch. 9
-Most population growth occurring in developing worlds
-Population processes: fertility, mortality, and population movement
-Societies around the world are characterized by or shaped by their population processes and
-Population geography: the study of the human population with respect to size, composition and
spatial distribution, and changes in the population that occur over time.
-Populations are altered by three basic processes:
-Migration (movement of people across space)
-Population growth around the world is not the same. The world can be divided into two regions:
developing and developed world
-Developed world=US, Canada, Western Europe, Japan and Australia
-Most of the world’s population originates from developing world (80%)
-50% of world’s population lives in urban areas
-Urban population in developing world expected to grow rapidly in coming decades
-Megacities: cities with populations in excess of 10 million
-Increasing numbers of megacities will be in developing worlds with their growth driven by natural
increase, net rural to urban migration and urban reclassification
-Demographic transition theory (DTT): argues that prior to transition, birth and death rates are
high and largely cancel each others effect, meaning the populations grow slowly
-Determinants of population growth are the pre-transition fertility rate and the time lag between the
decline in mortality and fertility
-Captures the length of time over which rapid population growth can occur
-As society develops and modernizes, death rates decline but fertility rates remain high which
correspond to rapid population growth
Stage One: The Pre-Industrial Stage
During the pre-industrial stage, societies have high birth and death rates. Because both rates are
high, population grows slowly and also tends to be very young: many people are born, but few
live very long.
In pre-industrial society, children are an economic benefit to families, reinforcing high birth
rates. Children contribute to the household economy by carrying water and firewood, caring for
younger siblings, cleaning, cooking, or working in fields. With few educational opportunities,
raising children costs little more than feeding them. As they became adults, children become
major contributors to the family income and also become the primary form of insurance for
adults in old age.
Stage Two: The Industrial Revolution
In stage two, countries begin to industrialize, and death rates drop rapidly. The decline in the
death rate is due initially to two factors: improved food production and improved health and
sanitation. Food production is improved through more efficient agricultural practices and better
transportation and food distribution, which collectively prevent death due to starvation and lack
of water. Health is improved through medical progress as well as more advanced sanitation
methods, especially water supply, sewerage, food handling, and general personal hygiene.
As death rates fall, birth rates remain high, resulting in a population explosion. Population
growth is not due to increasing fertility, but to decreasing deaths: many people continue to be
born, but more of them now live longer. Falling death rates also change the age structure of the
population. In stage one, mortality is especially high among children between 5 and 10 years old.
The decline in death rates in stage two improves the odds of survival for children. Hence, the age
structure of the population becomes increasingly youthful.
In Western Europe, stage two occurred during the 19th century with the Industrial Revolution.
Many other developed countries entered stage two during the second half of the 20th century,
creating the recent worldwide population explosion.
Stage Three: Post-Industrial Revolution
During the post-industrial stage, birth rates fall, eventually balancing the lower death rates.
Falling birth rates coincide with many other social and economic changes, such as better access
to contraception, higher wages, urbanization, commercialization of agriculture, a reduction in the
value of children's work, and greater parental investment in the education of children. Increasing
female literacy and employment lower the uncritical acceptance of childbearing and motherhood
as measures of the status of women. Although the correlation between birth rates and these
changes is widely observed, it is not certain whether industrialization and higher incomes lead to
lower population, or whether lower populations lead to industrialization and higher incomes.
As birth rates fall, the age structure of the population changes again. Families have fewer
children to support, decreasing the youth dependency ratio. But as people live longer, the
population as a whole grows older, creating a higher rate of old-age dependency. During the
period between the decline in youth dependency and rise in old-age dependency, there is a
demographic window of opportunity called the demographic dividend: the population has fewer
dependents (young and old) and a higher proportion of working-age adults, yielding increased
economic growth. This phenomenon can further the correlation between demographic transition
and economic development.
Stage Four: Stabilization
During stage four, population growth stabilizes as birth rates fall into line with death rates. In
some cases, birth rates may even drop below replacement level, resulting in a shrinking
population. Death rates in developed countries may remain consistently low or increase slightly
due to lifestyle diseases related to low exercise levels and high obesity and an aging population.
As population growth slows, the large generations born during the previous stages put a growing
economic burden on the smaller, younger working population. Thus, some countries in stage four
may have difficulty funding pensions or other social security measures for retirees.
•The Concept of Development – Theories of modernization
The Modernization theory insists that the Third World is underdeveloped and remains in
such a state because of its historical failure to industrialize and modernize with
technology. This claim asserts that the Third World was ‘left behind’ by the First World
countries consisting of Western Europe and North America, and that it must ‘catch up’
through adopting the same measures undertaken by these countries. The theory identifies
the problem as being the existence of counter-productive traditions and social practices
which must be eradicated in order for the Third World countries to modernize and
develop. It blames the prevalence of poverty, war, famine and economic stagnation upon
tradition and the inability to ‘keep up’ with the first world technologically.