Demographic transition

demographic transition modelfertility transitiondemographic expansiondemographic shiftmodern demographic regimeDecline of birth ratesdemographic evolutiondemographic theorydemographic trenddemographics
The phenomenon and theory of the demographic transition refers to the historical shift in demographics from high birth rates and high infant death rates in societies with minimal technology, education (especially of women) and economic development, to demographics of low birth rates and low death rates in societies with advanced technology, education and economic development, as well as the stages between these two scenarios.wikipedia
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Demographic trap

imbalancepopulation imbalance
However, unless factors such as those listed above are allowed to work, a society's birth rates may not drop to a low level in due time, which means that the society cannot proceed to stage Three and is locked in what is called a demographic trap.
High fertility combined with declining mortality happens when a developing country moves through the demographic transition of becoming developed.


With the onset of the British agricultural and industrial revolution in the late 18th century, this relationship was finally broken and an unprecedented growth in urban population took place over the course of the 19th century, both through continued migration from the countryside and due to the tremendous demographic expansion that occurred at that time.

Fertility factor (demography)

fertility factorfertility factorsfertility
For example, the Second Demographic Transition reflects changes in personal goals, religious preferences, relationships, and perhaps most important, family formations.


Many countries such as China, Brazil and Thailand have passed through the Demographic Transition Model (DTM) very quickly due to fast social and economic change.
It has been steadily falling since the 1960s, from 3.04% per year between 1950 and 1960 to 1.05% in 2008 and is expected to fall to a negative value of –0.29% by 2050 thus completing the demographic transition.

Population pyramid

median ageyouth bulgeage distribution
Another characteristic of Stage Two of the demographic transition is a change in the age structure of the population.
In the demographic transition model, the size and shape of population pyramids vary.

Adolphe Landry

Adolphe Landry of France made similar observations on demographic patterns and population growth potential around 1934.
Landry's theories were precursors of the theory of "demographic transition" that developed after World War II.

Frank W. Notestein

Frank NotesteinNotestein, Frank W.
In the 1940s and 1950s Frank W. Notestein developed a more formal theory of demographic transition.
Frank W. Notestein in 1945 provided labels for the types of growth patterns of the demographic transition that was found by Warren Thompson sixteen years earlier.

Demographic dividend

demographic giftdemographic bonusimportance to economic factors
During the period between the decline in youth dependency and rise in old age dependency there is a demographic window of opportunity that can potentially produce economic growth through an increase in the ratio of working age to dependent population; the demographic dividend.
The demographic transition in East Asia occurred over 5–15 years during the 1950s and 1960s, a shorter time period than anywhere previously.


This transition from high birth and death rates to low birth and death rates is often referred to as the demographic transition.

Dependency ratio

Dependency ratiosAge dependency ratioaged dependency ratio
The resulting changes in the age structure of the population include a decline in the youth dependency ratio and eventually population aging.
The age-dependency ratio can determine which stage in the Demographic Transition Model a certain country is in.

Population ageing

ageing populationaging populationpopulation aging
The resulting changes in the age structure of the population include a decline in the youth dependency ratio and eventually population aging.
The Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, however, concluded that population ageing has slowed considerably in Europe and will have the greatest future impact in Asia, especially as Asia is in stage five (very low birth rate and low death rate) of the demographic transition model.

John Caldwell (demographer)

John CaldwellJack CaldwellCaldwell, John
Nevertheless, the demographer John C Caldwell has suggested that the reason for the rapid decline in fertility in some developing countries compared to Western Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand is mainly due to government programs and a massive investment in education both by governments and parents.
John Charles "Jack" Caldwell (8 December 1928 – 12 March 2016) was a leading demographer, particularly in the fields of fertility transition and health transition.

Malthusian catastrophe

MalthusianMalthusian crisisMalthusian theory
By the early 21st century, many technologically-developed countries had passed through the demographic transition, a complex social development encompassing a drop in total fertility rates in response to various fertility factors, including lower infant mortality, increased urbanization, and a wider availability of effective birth control.

Zelinsky Model

Migration transition modelZelinsky Model of Demographic TransitionZelinsky's Mobility Transition Model
A connection is drawn from migration to the stages of within the Demographic Transition Model (DTM).

Ansley J. Coale

CoaleAnsley CoaleCoale, Ansley J.
A long-term director of the Office of Population Research at Princeton, Coale was especially influential for his work on the demographic transition and leadership of the European Fertility Project.

Rate of natural increase

natural increaseNatural growth ratenatural increase in population
RNI can indicate what stage of the Demographic Transition Model (DTM) a country is in.

Kingsley Davis

Davis, Kingsley
Davis led and conducted major studies of societies in Europe, South America, Africa and Asia, coined the term "population explosion,", and played a major role in the naming and development of the demographic transition model.

Population growth

population growth rategrowth ratehuman population growth

Correlation and dependence

However, the existence of some kind of demographic transition is widely accepted in the social sciences because of the well-established historical correlation linking dropping fertility to social and economic development.

Causation (sociology)

causationcausallead to
Scholars debate whether industrialization and higher incomes lead to lower population, or whether lower populations lead to industrialization and higher incomes.

Per capita

Scholars also debate to what extent various proposed and sometimes inter-related factors such as higher per capita income, lower mortality, old-age security, and rise of demand for human capital are involved.