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Demographic Transition

What is Demographic Transition?
"Demographic transition" is a model that describes population change over time. It defines four clear stages of population growth that nations often traverse in tandem with their socio-economic development.

Stage 1: Typically seen in less developed countries where birth rates are high but a large number of people die of preventable causes leading to a stable population.

Stage 2: Death rates fall steeply as deaths from preventable causes are reduced by better food supply and improved public health, but birth rates remain high due to high fertility, poor social development and limited access to health and contraceptive services. This often leads to a spurt in population.

Stage 3: Birth rates fall but population continues to grow because there are a large number of people in the reproductive age group due to the high fertility of the previous generations.

Stage 4: Countries achieve a stable population once again with low birth and low death rates but at a higher level of social and economic development. Population is stable but higher than in stage one.

This transition from a stable population with high mortality and high fertility to a stable population with low mortality and low fertility is called demographic transition. India is currently at the third stage.


Why are developing countries slow in achieving demographic transition?
Developing countries are slow in achieving demographic transition because of historical reasons. It the developed world, the industrial revolution in the 1800s led to overall development and prosperity, resulting in lower death and birth rates. The developing world missed these opportunities which have been attributed to colonisation, and the attendant lack of growth. Endemic poverty, low levels of education, and weak family planning programmes have kept the average number of children born to each woman to more than six in many parts of the developing world. This prolonged phase of high population growth has resulted in a large base of young population which imparts high momentum to population growth and prolongs the period of demographic transition.


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