SOCI 234 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1-4: Capillary Action, Sub-Saharan Africa, Modernization Theory
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- Demography is concerned with virtually everything that influences or can be influenced by population
size, distribution, processes, structure, or characteristics.
- The cornerstones of population studies are the processes of mortality (a deadly subject), fertility (a well-
conceived topic), and migration (a moving experience).
- Almost everything in your life has demographic underpinnings that you should understand.
- Examples of global issues that have deep and important demographic components include terrorism and
regional conflict, violence in sub-Saharan Africa, the backlash against immigrants, globalization, and the
degradation of the environment.
- There are also “local” uses for demographic information, usually labeled “demographics” and defined as
the application of population theory and methods to the solution of practical problems.
- When we account for the location of the people whose demographic behavior we are studying, we are
engaging in spatial demography, or geodemographics.
- Demographics is the central ingredient in congressional reapportionment and redistricting in the U.S. and
politicians also find demographics helpful in analyzing legislation and in developing their strategy for their
own election to office.
- Local agencies use demographics to plan for the adequate provision of services for their communities,
including education, criminal justice, and health.
- A major use of demographics is to market products and services in the private sector.
- Demographics are an important component of site selection for many types of businesses, are key
elements of human resource management, and help investors pinpoint areas of potential market growth,
because population is a major factor behind social change (and thus opportunity).
- During the first 90 percent of human existence, the population of the world had grown only to the size of
today’s New York City.
- Between 1750 and 1950, the world’s population mushroomed from 800 million to 2.5 billion, and since
1950 it has expanded to 6.5 billion.
- Doubling time is a convenient way to summarize the rate of population growth. It is calculated by
dividing the average annual rate of population growth into 69.
- Early population growth was slow not because birthrates were low but because death rates were high; on
the other hand, continuing population increases are due to dramatic declines in mortality without a
matching decline in fertility.
- World population growth has been accompanied by migration from rapidly growing areas into less rapidly
growing regions. Initially, that meant an outward expansion of the European population, but more recently
it has meant migration from less developed to more-developed nations.
- Migration has also involved the shift of people from rural to urban areas, and urban regions on average
are currently growing more rapidly than ever before in history.
- Although migration is crucial to the demographic history of the United States and Canada, both countries
have grown largely as a result of natural increase— the excess of births over deaths—after the migrants
- At the time of the American Revolution, fertility levels in North America were among the highest in the
world. Now they are low, although not as low as in Europe.
- The world’s 10 most populous countries are the People’s Republic of China, India, the United States,
Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, Bangladesh, Russia, Japan, and Nigeria. Together they account for 59 percent of
the world’s population.
- Almost all of the population growth in the world today is occurring in the less- developed nations, leading
to an increase in the global demographic contrasts among countries.
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