Demographic Transition Model

The demographic transition model is a conceptualization of the resultant transition from high to lower birth and death rates as a country develops. The model is therefore a representation of the changes in population over time with the population of countries increasing as the countries develop. The model was developed by demographers to help in understanding the changes in population that occurred over time. Ideally, most developing countries are at the second stage of the four staged model with developed countries being at the fourth stage (Lee, 2003). The model is based on observations by warren Thompson, an American demographer, regarding the changes in birth and death rates in industrialized societies over a period of about 200 years. That notwithstanding, the model is only a generalization that applies to a majority of the countries with an exception of Germany being in the fifth stage of the model.

The first stage, otherwise referred to as the pre-transition phase, in the demographic transition model is depicted by high birth rates as well as high fluctuating death rates. Ultimately, therefore, the population is balanced even though its growth is relatively low. The low population growth is occasioned by positive checks such as poverty and war as well as the incidence of late ages of marriage. The early transition, which is the second stage, is characterized by a fall in the crude death rates. However, the crude birth rates remain high thus maintaining a growing population over the second phase. In the third stage, the population enters a period of late transition where the birth rates start to decline.  Overall, therefore, the crude birth rates are lower as well as the crude death rates leading to low increases in the overall population. In the final stage, the post transition phase, both birth and death rates are on a decline leading to a very small population growth (Van, 2003). In some instances, the population growth in this stage is on a decline.

The demographic transition model is marked by two interesting events in both the second and third stages. In the second stage, there is decline in the crude death rates with a further decline in the crude birth rates during the third stage of the model. The decline in death rates in the second phase is attributable to improvements in public health coupled with better nutrition. Moreover, there is a general decrease in child mortality thus resulting to reduced crude death rates. In the third phase, populations are characterized by reduced crude birth rates due to changes in social trends and fashions (Van, 2003). Moreover, there is a general trend where people prefer smaller families due to constraints in economic well being. In addition, the reduction in infant mortality coupled with rise in materialism in place of raising kids result in lower birth rates.

One of the most obvious indicators of development is the betterment of living conditions. Countries in the developed world record better living conditions compared to those in the developing world. The countries in the fourth stage of the demographic transition model portray increased access to clean water for all the citizens. Indeed, access to clean water is considered a right that the government must observe in developed countries. In contrast, however, developing countries have struggled to provide clean water to the citizens. Even when the water is available, it is not accessible to the poor rural populations. In addition, countries in the fourth phase have higher literacy levels due to the availability of quality education systems. In contrast, the same cannot be said of developing countries who continue to lag behind in literacy levels due to poor access to education. Also, developed countries in the fourth phase record lower rural to urban migration due to better living conditions in the entire country. In the developing countries, the rate of rural urban migration is high as people search for employment opportunities.

It is the responsibility of governments to improve the living conditions of their citizens. Governments in developing countries should work towards the attainment of average per capita water distribution to all its citizens. In so doing, the government should employ programs and strategies geared towards the minimization of water wastages while providing piped water to all residents. In addition, governments should provide free basic education to the citizens to encourage more children to enroll in the programs. Further, they should provide incentives to encourage higher literacy levels. In curbing the process of rural to urban migration, governments should devise comprehensive programs to improve the living conditions in rural areas.

The attainment of food security is one of the main anchors of development in both social and economic terms. It is a responsibility of world governments to ensure a case where all citizens have adequate supply of nutritious food thus leading to a health life (Rosegrant & Cline, 2003). Developing countries should work on comprehensive programs of improving agriculture to improve food supply to the citizens. The use of science and technology is particularly important in this endeavor (Boserup, 2005). Developing countries should thus station agricultural officers within the lowest administrative divisions to provide guidance on the best agricultural methods to increase productivity. Indeed, these programs will eventually result in higher crop output and essentially increased food security for the citizens.



Rosegrant, M. W., & Cline, S. A. (2003). Global food security: challenges and policies. Science, 302(5652), 1917-1919.

Lee, R. (2003). The demographic transition: three centuries of fundamental change. The journal of economic perspectives, 17(4), 167-190.

Boserup, E. (2005). The conditions of agricultural growth: The economics of agrarian change under population pressure. Transaction Publishers.

Van de Kaa, D. J. (2003). Second demographic transition. Encyclopedia of population, 2, 872-875.




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