Phases of a Demographic Transition

Phases of a Demographic Transition

In a detailed analysis, Dyson (19)  affirms that the demographic transition theory lays a strong platform to understand the population change that happens over a period of time. In 1919, Warren Thomson developed this theory where he based his interpretations on  four stages that occur during transition. Thomson left a remarkable legacy in that he carefully observed and analyzed transition stages in birth and death rates. In deep analysis, Thomson affirmed that during phase 1the crude birth rates and death rates are high 35-40 per 1000. Additionally, at the end of the transition process (stage 4) the rates are very low approximately 10 per 1, 000, but the total population in stage 4 is higher than that in stage 1. This essay seeks to explain why these happen.

According to Galor (66),  during phase 1 a country is pre-industrial. Further, Galor continues to argue that, in phase 1 there are high death rates and birth rates so the population remains stable. The high birth rates occur due to lack of contraception, lack of education on how to prevent or deter pregnancy, and the need for children to meet some chores such as family farms. The death rates occur due to the high level of poverty, poor living conditions, lack of sanitation, and inadequate medical care. Adults’ life expectancy is relatively short because of dangerous and harsh working conditions. Additionally, infant mortality elevates due to poor sanitation, inadequate health care, and disease. Thus, the crude birth rate is high because many families have children as assets to perform various chores such as farming. Still, parents regard the benefit of having many children to assist and care for for them due to the high level of poverty. The high death rate is because of poverty, unfavourable living conditions, and inadequate health care among others.

In phase 2, the country is usually in the transition phase where birth rates are high, but death rates start to decline. There is the high birth rate while the death rate decline because of the availability of health care, better sanitation, and good living conditions. As a country continues to modernize, there are better sanitation, the increase of food, access to medical care such as childhood vaccinations that reduces infant mortality, and increased access to clean water. In phase 3, the country is industrialized and as a result, reduces the death and birth rates. During this phase, the population of a country slows down to the extent that it reaches the population growth of zero. The birth rates decline due to the fact that there are jobs available, better access to contraception, and education awareness on how to prevent pregnancy.  In summary, there is an upsurge on family income and people have fewer children. Perfect examples of phase 3 countries are Canada and the United States where having many children become a financial burden instead of economic benefit.

During phase 4, the country is usually post-industrialized and the crude death rates and birth rates is low (Kazmer and Michele 22). In this case, the population is either decreasing or stable.  The low death rate occurs because of the improvement in sanitation and health care. Phase 4 has a high level of economic and wealth development. Perfect examples of phase 4 countries are Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Russia, with the crude birth rate being below crude death rate. In phase 4, the declining population means that there is a high proportion of ageing population and fewer young generation. With this in mind, the total population of the country is much higher in stage 4 than in stage 1.


Works Cited

Dyson, Tim. Population and Development: The Demographic Transition. London: Zed, 2010. Print.

Galor, Oded. Unified Growth Theory. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011. Print.

Kazmer, Daniel R, and Michele Konrad. Economic Lessons from the Transition: The Basic Theory Re-Examined. Armonk, N.Y: M.E. Sharpe, 2004. Print.


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