The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Demographic transition

In demography, the term demographic transition is used to describe the transition from high birth rates and death rates to low birth and death rates that occurs as part of the economic development of a country from a pre-industrial to a post-industrial economy.

In the midst of a demographic transition, death rates drop without a corresponding fall in birth rates, and countries undergoing this process experience a large increase in population.

At the end of this process, both rates are lower, and many rich western countries now have a population that is static or shrinking.

The "Demographic Transition" is a model that describes population change over time. It is based on an interpretation begun in 1929 by the American demographer Warren Thompson, of the observed changes, or transitions, in birth and death rates in industrialized societies over the past two hundred years or so.

As with all models, this is an idealized, composite picture of population change in these countries. The model is a generalization that applies to these countries as a group and may not accurately describe all individual cases. Whether or not it applies to less developed societies today remains to be seen.



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Last updated: 09-12-2005 02:39:13