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The Human Population, Demographic Transition: Phase IV Expository Essay

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Updated: Jul 8th, 2019

Defining Demographic transition

A demographic transition is a process that shows how a country’s population changes due to high and low birth and death rates (Soares & Bruno, 2008). Developed countries experienced demographic transitions in the 18th century and the process is still in progress (Soares & Bruno, 2008).

On the other hand, developing countries experienced the transition later on while others are still in their first and second stages. The demographic transition has four stages of development which are commonly called phases. The process is determined by monitoring the Crude Birth Rate, CBR and the Crude Death Rate, CDR.

The four phases of demographic transition

The demographic transition as indicated earlier has four main phases or stages namely, the Pre-Transitional, the Early Transition, the Transitional, and the Post-Transitional stages. The pre-transitional phase has the highest death and birth rates. Just before the industrial revolution, European countries had a very high crude death and birth rates (Soares & Bruno, 2008).

This was influenced by the demand for labor and generational perpetuity. The need to have children to secure the family lineage was also a contributing factor. The high death rate required families to have more children in order to guarantee the continued existence of the family unit.

The high birth rate was to enhance effective labor in the fields since an increase in the population meant an increase in the labor force. On the other hand, the high rate of deaths was caused by poor health services at that time. Due to poor health services, people would succumb to death after a short illness and this escalated the crude death rate.

In the Early transition stage, crude birth rate remains high but the death rate decreases. This is caused by development in the health sector where new methods of treatment were developed and the sanitation improved (Rosenberg, 2013). This reduced the deaths occurring due to infections and diseases. It led to an increase in the population. There was a rapid increase in the number of births, which surpassed the number of deaths.

The increase in the number of children being born became a burden to the community since they did not contribute in the creation of wealth (McNicoll, 2006). This was the experience in the mid-18th century although the situation changed in the 20th century when the transitional stage began (McNicoll, 2006).

During the 21st century, both the CBR and CDR were at a low rate and in equilibrium (Soares & Bruno, 2008). This phase of transition has been achieved by most of the developed countries like the United States and Germany. Finally, the post-transitional period is the absolute phase in the progression of the demographic transition (Soares & Bruno, 2008).

Most of the developed countries are currently in the stage where both the crude birth and death rates are very low. This is influenced by improving sanitation and family planning. Improved hygiene and health care reduces the rate of death while family planning controls the rate of birth.

Factors affecting the CBR and CDR

The Infant mortality rate is one of the factors that influence birth rate. The high infant mortality rate results in an increase in birth rates (Harbison, & Robinson, 2002). Access to contraceptives also influences the CBR by reducing the number of births per year. An increase in the number of abortions and high cost of living reduces the number of births (Harbison, & Robinson, 2002).

The high cost of living discourages the population from giving birth consequently decreasing the CBR. As mentioned earlier, improved sanitation and medicine will lower the rate of death but political instability and disease breakouts will increase it.

Three conditions in the developed world compared to the developing countries

The high costs of living, improved sanitation and medication, and access to contraceptives are conditions that have led to the equalization of the CBR and CDR in developed countries. In these countries, the cost of living is too high hence, couples are cautious about getting many children. On the other hand, the developing countries have cheaper standards of living therefore, couples are not worried about having many children.

Secondly, the developed countries have improved sanitation therefore a low CDR is expected. In the developing countries, the CDR is high due to poor sanitation, diseases and lack of health facilities.

Lastly, in the developed countries, awareness and access to contraceptives reduces the birth rate and the population consequentially. On the contrary, the developing countries’ governments do not support family planning awareness campaigns or provide easy access to contraceptives. This has ultimately led to an increase in birth rates and consequently high population.

The strategy to achieve the phase IV

To achieve low crude birth and death rate, a country can explore a number of options. To reduce death rates for instance, the best strategy is to improve the medical care services and sanitation.

On the other hand, reducing the CBR will require the government to support family planning campaigns and avail contraceptives to the population. Creating the awareness of family planning will enable a couple to decide and control the number of children they will have (Harbison, & Robinson, 2002).

References

Harbison, S. F., & Robinson, W. C. (2002). Policy Implications of the Next World Demographic Transition, Studies in Family Planning 33 (1), 37–48.

McNicoll, G. (2006). Policy Lessons of the East Asian Demographic Transition, Population and Development Review, 32 (1), 1–25.

Rosenberg, M. (2013). . Web.

Soares, R., & Bruno L. S. (2008). The Demographic Transition and the Sexual Division of Labor, Journal of Political Economy, 116 (6), 1058–104.

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