Birth rates, death rates and life expectancy vary from country to country The birth rate of a country is the ratio of total live births to total population in a specified community or area over a specified period of time. The death rate of a country is the ratio of total deaths to total population in a specified community or area over a specified period of time. Life expectancy is the number of years that an individual is expected to live as determined by statistics. Infant mortality rate is the death rate during the first year of life. Birth and death rate affect the population of a country. If a country has a low death rate, this suggests that it has high life expectancy. There are many factors that affect the birth and death rate of a country, these factors varying from political to religious reasons. They all contribute to the total population. MEDC’s tend to have a sparse population density, and LEDC’s tend to have a dense population. Population density is the number of people living in a given area, usually a square km. In order to work out the population density of a country you need to divide the total population by the total area of the country.
The population in MEDC’s is high but not growing. This is because they do not have a high birth rate, and their death rate has fallen below the birth rate. An example of this is shown in countries like the UK or USA. Both countries have a very low national increase (UK has a national increase of 4 per 1000). The UK has a total birth rate of 13 per 1000 and the USA has a total birth rate of 14 per 1000. The low birth rates in both countries is mainly impacted by the fact that in MEDC’s, there is better access to good education so women would stay in school longer and would most likely want to establish a career first before deciding to have a child. They do this because they don’t need to worry about caring for their child. They have enough money and resources to give their child a good education and anything else the child will need in the future. In the next 15-20 years the population in MEDC’s are going to be much less than it was 15-20 years ago. This will result in less working people. In LEDC’s birth rates are much higher. For example, Nigeria. Nigeria is a typical LEDC in Africa, and it has a birth rate of 38 per 1000. Only recently, a 37-year-old woman was trying to give birth to her 13th child in Niger. Over the next 45 years, Niger's population is estimated to reach 55.8 million people, according to a government study published last month.One of the reasons for the high birth rate in LEDC’s is that certain cultures and religions will frown upon contraception for religious reasons. Nigeria, being an LEDC itself, will most likely have no access to contraception. Many husbands deny then the right to use birth control as men want to have more children to show higher power. Also in LEDC’s there is limited access to family planning services and education about contraception, or just education in general. But women give birth, knowing that they won’t be able to look after their child or give them an education. They raise their children as a valuable source of labour and income for the family. So to them, more children is equal to more money. However in in MEDC’s children are not seen as assets but instead viewed as economic liability (they must be looked after and educated). Many families in MEDC’s decide to have fever children so that they can devote the necessary resources to their children and give them a full time education. Another factor that explains the high birth rates in LEDC’s is religion. In many religions men would want to have a son rather than a daughter (gender inequality), it also seems more favourable for men to have lots of children. It would result in achieving a higher social status. People also want to ensure that their family continues once they pass. With higher Infant Mortality rates(the death rate during the first year of life) a lot of women choose to have more children to ensure that one of them survives. In MEDC’s this is not the case, as more economically developed countries usually have high life expectancy. Death rates are much higher in LEDC’s than they are in MEDC’s. Nigeria is another example of this. It has a death rate of 17 per 1000. According to Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative, one in every 13 females in the African nation is likely to die as a result of complications in childbirth. It is also estimated that approximately one million women and children die every year in Nigeria from largely preventable causes such as malaria and polio etc. This is due to the fact that most poor countries like Nigeria have low sanitation and no/limited health care systems. LEDC’s don’t have the resources both economical and infrastructural to lower their death rates. They have a severe shortage of access to lean water and sufficient food supply. They lack the funding to supply sanitation such as sewage removal sanitary water, paved streets and modern homes, which is something people living in the UK or USA find normal. MEDC’s have modern hospitals with all the equipment and doctors needed to provide proper health care treatment. The people living in LEDC’s lack the means to rise above in their status in life. The high death rates are the results of unsanitary conditions, dehydration, starvation, spread of diseases and the inability to stay warm or cool. Almost every day on the news, we see thousands of people dying due to the poor conditions in Africa. Nigeria lies in stage 1 of the demographic transition model (measures population change over time) because of its high birth and death rate.
More economically developed countries usually have a higher life expectancy due to the fact that the country is wealthier and has better medical care. Both the UK and the USA have a life expectancy of 80 years, which is very high. Nigeria has a life expectancy of 43, which on the contrary is very low. As people live longer, the structure of a population changes. Many MEDC’s are now experiencing a significant increase in the numbers of elderly people as a proportion of the population as a whole. As birth rates are falling and people are starting to have smaller families, the number of young people is decreasing and the number of elderly people is increasing. This means that there would be fewer people of working age. This is called an ageing population (a country has an ageing population when the average age of its population is rising). In the UK, there are decreasing numbers of economically active people and an increasing number of elderly people.
In conclusion, the factors that influence birth rates and death rates are mostly economical and religious reasons. An LEDC is more likely to have a high birth and death rate, whereas an MEDC is likely to have a low birth and death rate. This is because with such economic strength, and MEDC would have very good medical and health care systems. In Nigeria the estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex.