Soc 727-the Theory of Demographic Transition and Its Applicability to Developing Countries

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THE THEORY OF DEMOGRAPHIC TRANSITION AND ITS APPLICABILITY TO DEVELOPING COUNTRIES (Part One)

A PAPER COMPILED BY

S. AKINMAYỌWA LAWAL
MATRIC NO: 106584
Department of Sociology
University Of Ibadan
Ibadan, Nigeria.

SUBMITTED TO

PROFESSOR UCHE C. ISIUGO-ABANIHE
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY
UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN

SOC 727: DEMOGRAPHIC ASPECTS OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

THURSDAY, 8 MAY, 2008.

Abstract
Human population over the past decades, have doubled, tripled and grown rapidly, thereby affecting every aspect of man’s existence. The paper examines the Demographic Transition Theory which is used to explain the population movement or process of transition from high birth rates[->0] and high death rates[->1] to low birth rates and low death rates as part of the development process of a given country from a pre-industrial to an industrialized society. The paper shows the various stages of the transition, and its implication on human population. The paper concludes with the applicability of the Demographic Transition Theory in developing countries such as Nigeria.

Introduction

All nations of the Modern Era which have moved from a traditional, agrarian-based economic system to a largely industrial, urbanized base have also moved from a condition of high mortality and fertility to low mortality and fertility. In so doing, they have experienced enormous increases in population along with massive shifts in their relative number of children, adults and aged. (Stolnitz, 1964).

Our interpretation of past population movements and our expectations about future trends rest primarily on a body of observations and explanations known as "demographic transition theory.." The conventional wisdom of this theory has a deep impact and guides the work programs of international organizations, technical assistance decisions by governments, and popular analyses in the media. (Caldwell, 1976).

The demographic transition model began as a classification of populations differentiated by different combination of fertility and mortality. The first formulation in the English demographic literature is by Warren Thompson. (Thompson, 1929). However, the last 50 years of Population Studies roughly cover the period in modern demography in which the demographic transition has been a leading topic. By convention, Frank Notesein’s article published in 1945 (Notestein, 1945), is regarded as its first definition, although Notestein did not refer to his generalization as a ‘transition’ (Davis, 1943), the first to use this expression was Adolphe Landry in his book titled La Rẻvolution Dẻmographique which was published in 1934. (Landry, 1934).

Stripped to essentials, the Demographic Transition Theory, states that societies that experience modernization progress from pre-modern regime of high fertility and high mortality to a post-modern one in which both are low. (Kirk, 1996). For some, transition theory lies at the centre of modern scientific demography. Demeny (1972) has called it “the central preoccupation of modern demography”. To others it is a non-theory to be dismissed as an unproven generalization unworthy of much discussion (Coleman and Schofield, 1986).

What is Demographic Transition Theory
Demographic transition is a model used to explain the process of transition from high birth rates[->2] and high death rates[->3] to low birth rates and low death rates as part of the economic development of a country from a pre-industrial to an industrialized economy[->4]. Usually it is described as a theory, or through the "Demographic Transition Model" (DTM) that describes the population changes over time. It is based on an interpretation which begun in 1929[->5] by the American demographer Warren Thompson[->6] of prior observed changes, or transitions, in birth and death rates in industrialized societies over the past two hundred years. According to the DTT, most developed...
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