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Demographic Transition

The term demographic transition describes a series of radical transformations in the conditions of human life that started over 200 years ago and which continue today. Before the transition, lives were short and children numerous; since then, lives have been longer and children fewer. That change, now apparently complete in rich societies and in progress in the rest, has profound effects not just on individual experience but on the size, growth, and aging of populations. The transition is assumed to be irreversible and destined to become universal. This entry discusses the process of the demographic transition in developed and developing societies, evaluates its claim to be a theory, and describes other transitions in demography.

Up to the middle of the 18th century, individuals and societies had ...

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