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Chapter 3

SOC312H1 Chapter 3 World Population: Past, Present, and Futures

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University of Toronto St. George
Brent Berry

Chapter 3 Population: Past, Present, and Futures Population History World Population Today - More developed countries have an overall rate of natural increase of only 0.1 percent, while the rest of world is growing substantially faster, with rates somewhere between 1.5 to 1.7 percent - Together, less developed countries today account for roughly 81% of the world’s total population - Less developed world – the combination of rapid growth, relatively low income and high population density suggests that the resources available to the average citizen in these countries will continue to diminish - An accurate reflection of living conditions is provided by a measure called nutritional density – the ratio of total population to total arable area in a country - One way to determine how fast a population is growing is to compete its doubling time –the number of years it would take for the population to double if its current rate of growth were to remain unchanged. From Gradual to Explosive Growth - Coale divides population history into two broad segments: first from the beginning of humanity to around 1750 CE, was a very long era of slow population growth; the second –extremely brief in historical terms, from 1750 to the present –is one of explosive increases - the growth since roughly 1750 CE has been exponential - human population has gone through periods of abrupt increases - 3 great population surges, each associated with a major technological revolution hat made humans less vulnerable to vagaries of nature and increase their control over their environment o 1. First revolution was acquisition of clothing, along with hunting and fishing tools in upper Paleolithic period o 2. Sedentarization and development of agriculture, animal husbandry and maritime navigation in Neolithic period o 3. Industrial revolution, in 18 century The Demographic Transition - Human population has undergone repeated cycles of rising and falling growth rates - Most recent such cycle, which began in western Europe about 150 years ago is known as demographic transition o usually described as occurring in 3 stages, beginning with high rates of both births and deaths, moving through transitional phase of high birth and declining death rates and concluding with low rates of both fertility and mortality o since life expectancy and fertility rates were high, rates of natural increase remained very low for most of human history - gradually as European societies attained greater levels of modernization and socioeconomic development, birth rates began to fall and by 1930 both mortality and fertility in most western nations were the lowest they had ever been.As a consequence, the rate of natural increase once again fell. This time the decline in population growth rates were attributable to humans increasing control over nature: industrialization, urbanization, economic growth, modern science and medicine, and widespread use of contraception to regular family size, all of which helped to bring flown the death rate to historically low levels - 3 general preconditions for fertility decline o 1. Fertility must be within the calculus of conscious choice. Potential parents must consider it acceptable to balance advantages and disadvantages before deciding to have another child –unlike, for example, most present day Hutterites orAmish, who don’t practice birth control and would consider any such calculation immoral o 2. Social and economic circumstances must be such that individual couples will perceive reduced fertility as advantageous in some way o 3. Effective techniques of fertility reduction must be available. Techniques that will in fact prevent conception or birth must be known and here must be sufficient communication between spouses to use those techniques successfully o Unless all 3 of these preconditions are present, fertility is likely to remain high The Demographic Transition in the Industrialized Countries - Transition –the timing and intensity of morality and fertility declines have in fact varied widely - First, as living standard improves, so does health of population, causing natural fertility levels to rise, then fertility rates increase accordingly until the practice of contraception becomes widespread Mechanism of Transition: Western and Japanese Experiences - Drawing on examples from both europe and japan, Davis has proposed multiphasic response theory, assumes that widespread fertility declines in a society occur n a context of rising socioeconomic opportunities, couple with sustained high rates of natural increase (as during stage two of the European demographic transitions) o Under such conditions individuals members of the population will eventually recognize that a large family is an impediment to upward mobility but how they respond will depend on their culture - Generally populations will adopt responses that are least inconvenient and least threatening to their cultures. Though abortion would not have been available response to the catholic Irish, it was widely available and practice by the Japanese Demographic Transition of Developing Countries - Differences in demographic history of the west and the developing countries o 1. The pace and sources of mortality and decline. In European mortality declined gradually, whereas in developing nations the pace of decline has been quite rapid. Furthermore whereas the technologies and public health measures responsible for the improvements in the west were largely endogenous (deveined within the society) and the developing countries they have been mainly exogenous (imported from outside –eg. Public health and family planning programs) o 2. Fertility levels before the decline. In contemporary developing nations fertility rates are generally high to begin with than they were at the corresponding point in western Europe o 3. Rate of population growth. European nations undergoing the demographic transition rarely experienced doubling times of less than 50 years. In contrast, doubling times in some developing nations can be as low as 30 years. At no point in their transitions did European nations experience the growth rates found in many contemporary developing countries o 4. Momentum for further growth. as a result of relatively high fertility and youthful age structures in developing nations, the paternal for further significant population growth exceeds that of the industrialized nations by a wide margin. o 5. International migration as an outlet to relieve population pressure. Western Europe was able to export tens of millions of its citizens to colonies in theAmericas, Oceania, and elsewhere. Such outlets are extremely limited for the contemporary developing countries Transitional and Delayed Transition Societies - Developing countries can be distinguished by progress they have made towards completion of demographic transition - 2 sets of developing countries: those that are currently approaching end of demographic transition and those where this process has only recently begun - Crucial factor determining how far society has progressed into its demographic transition would appear to be pace of fertility decline - The latecomers to the demographic transition –the delayed transition societies –typically have rates of natural increase. Most of them are located in sub-SaharanAfrica. Although birth rates in this region have declined over the past two decades, the changes have been relatively small. Many of these countries experienced rising death rates due to HIVAIDS What
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