Sociology Chapter 20 notes
Population and Urbanization
• Demographers: Social – scientific analysts of human population.
• Argue that the world is in a population “explosion”, they are bad, and can cause
wide spread damage.
The Malthusian Trap
• Malthus’s theory rests on two undeniable facts and questionable assumptions.
•Facts: People must eat.
People are driven by a strong sexual urge.
•Assumption: Although the food supply increases slowly and arithmetically
(1,2,3,4,etc..) population size grows quickly and geometrically (1,2,4,8, etc.…)
• Malthusian Trap: A cycle of population growth followed by an outbreak of war,
pestilence, or famine that keeps population growth in check.
• Malthus claimed that there is a limit to population growth, without making it very
clear what that limit is.
• It turns out that Western Europe has an upper limit far higher than Malthus
• Population growth isn’t necessarily the worst thing, for example Europe, has
become one of the most successful in material, and financial terms.
• Demographic Transition Theory: the main factors underlying population
dynamics are industrialization and the growth of modern cultural values.
• This theory Is based on how Europe’s population developed in 4 stages:
The Preindustrial Period
• In the first, preindustrial stage of growth, a large amount of the population
died every year from lack of nutrition, poor hygiene, and uncontrollable disease. In
other words the Crude Death Rate was high. (The annual number of deaths per 1000
people in a pop.) At the same time the Crude Birth Rate was high too. (The annual
number of births per 1000 people in a pop.)
The Early Industrial Period
• The second stage of European population growth was the early industrial, or
transition, period. The Crude death Rate dropped. People life expectancy increased
due to improved economy, which leads to better hygiene and better nutrition. But, the
Crude birth Rate remains high, so the pop grew quickly. Malthus lived through this
era, which caused his alarm.
The Mature Industrial Period
• The third stage of European population growth. At this stage, the crude death
rate continued to fall. The crude birth rate fell even more dramatically. The CBR fell
because economic growth eventually changed people’s traditional beliefs about the
value of having many children. Children were more of an economic burden in an
industrial society; they were better in agricultural areas. • Note, that the CBR took longer to decline than the CDR did, this
phenomenon is called Cultural Lag (Refers to the gap that occurs between rapid
technological change and slower changes in norms and values.)
The Postindustrial Period
• In this period, the total fertility rate continues to fall.
• In fact, it fell below the Replacement Level in some countries. (The
number of children that each woman must have on average for population size to
remain stable, ignoring Immigration, and Emigration.)
• This means, on average, each woman must hive birth to slightly more than
the 1 children needed to replace her and her mate.
• Slightly more than two children are needed because some children die
before they reach reproductive age.
• In his view, over population is not a problem of too many people, rather it is
a problem of too much poverty.
• If a society is rich enough to eliminate poverty, than by definition its
population is not too large.
• Chines government strongly penalizes families that have more than one
child and it allows abortion at 8.5 months.
• As a result China had a fertility rate of about 1.5 in 2010.
• In Kerala India, the gov keeps out of its citizens sexual business, and leaves
those choices to them.
• The way the Keralan government, maintains such a positive standard of
living (Compared to the rest of India) is based on the governments implementation of
campaigns and programs, that help improve literacy, as well as have the highest labor
force participation rate, and the highest rate of political participation.
• Given their desire for education, work and political involvement, most
Keralan women want small families, so they use contraception to prevent unwanted
• Thus, by lowering the level of gender inequality, the government of Kerala
solved its overpopulation problem.
• Sex Ratio: The ratio of women to men in a geographical area.
Class Inequality and Overpopulation
• Population growth depends not just on a societys level of industrialization
but also on its level of gender inequality.
• Class inequality