Demographic Transition Model

Population increases have varied considerably by region. How many people can be supported by the natural resources of this earth depends on what levels of resource they use from within their own countries and from imports from other countries. Optional, but fun: calculate your impact on the earth's resources.

In response to increasing population size, governments and world organizations frequently respond with family planning programs. But what does the demographic transition, based on European data, tell us? What is distinctive to each of the four stages of the model?

Answers: [historically, age-sex pyramids vary too]
stage 1: high birth and death rates
stage 2: declining death rates -- declining mortality rates varied spatially
stage 3: declining birth rates
stage 4: low birth and death rates

Compare the United Kingdom's and India's demographic transformations.

For radicals, Majority/Third World countries, unlike Europe and the USA, are "trapped" in Stages 3 and 2 because their wealth, in the form of natural resources and labor, has been and continues to be drained off by Minority/First World countries. Historically, European colonialism achieved this; since World War II, the USA and other rich countries exploit poor countries through debt. Read How America Built an Empire on Third-World Debt by John Perkins.

UW-Eau Claire Seal


Created by Ingolf Vogeler on 1 February 1996; last revised on 01 February 2010.