• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Demographic Transition

  • By: Barney Warf
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Developed by several demographers in the 1950s, the demographic transition stands as an important alternative to neo-Malthusian notions of population growth. Essentially, it is a model of a society's fertility (birth rate, BR), mortality (death rate, DR), and natural population growth rates (NGR) over time, using the simple relationship NGR = BR–DR. Because this approach is explicitly based on the historical experience of Western Europe and North America as they went through the Industrial Revolution, “time” in this conception is a proxy for industrialization. This approach can be demonstrated with a graph of birth, death, and natural growth rates over time that divides societies into four major stages (Figure 1).

Stage I: Preindustrial Society

In the first stage, a traditional, rural, preindustrial society and economy, fertility rates ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles