Regional Variations and Patterns of Population Growth
The demographic transition model provides one with insight into the transformation or transition which occurs in several steps as the industrialization of a country progresses. By using the demographic transition as a model one can describe regional variations and patterns of population growth on a global level. The demographic transition model includes four stages: the pre industrialized society, the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution, and the post industrial societies/developed.
The first stage of the demographic transition model is the pre industrial stage. In this stage birth and death rates are both usually high, which normally leads to almost no population growth within a country. The second stage of the demographic transition model is the Agricultural revolution stage, where one finds a reduction in death rates (DR), but birth rates (BR) remain high. In this stage there is also a population explosion, which is found mainly in underdeveloped and developing countries. Moving on to the third stage known as the industrial revolution stage one sees a drastic change in population. Some of the change is due to advances in medicine and improvements in diet. These changes caused a drop in death rates and birth rates drop. Human life expectancy in the industrialized countries soared from an average of 35 years in the eighteenth century to 75 years or more at present. In this stage we find that the birth rates are about the same and death rates are lower. The last stage known as the post industrial period produces zero population growth. The zero population growth is achieved when there is both a halt or decline in both birth rates and death rates. Many countries however do not pass all the way through the demographic transition, but rather have a prolonged period during stage two, where the population explosion is in full effect, this causes for some problems in the countries and populations on a global scale.
In discussing regional variations and patterns of population growth many components are involved. Fertility rates and death rates are good indicators to the global population and patterns of growth and variation. Total fertility rates (TFR) is the best prediction of a population over time. When we look at these numbers one, may start to wonder what factors have influenced these patterns and variations being observed. There are many factors that impact a population. To start one can look at the five themes discussed throughout our book, which include, culture region, cultural diffusion, cultural ecology, cultural integration, and cultural landscape. Each one of these themes discussed in chapter one can provide answers as to what factors influence population growth and variation. Ones culture region can play an important part in determining both birth and death rates. Cultural diffusion also provides insight into variations and changes in a population on a global level. Cultural ecology provides one with answers to population growth and variation based on a populations physical environment. Cultural integration can explain why certain patterns are observed in population growth and variation across the globe. Lastly, ones cultural landscape plays an important role in determining variations of a population.
In the article titled, Before the Next Doubling, one can see that the doubling of the population is often due to many factors, which were discussed earlier. The article makes point of some of the causes of population growth, which include an unmet demand for family planning, a desire for large families, and population momentum. The article discusses the reasons to each of these causes. There is an unmet demand for family planning in a large percentage of the world. There is also a desire for large families if many areas such as Africa where many children die from diseases. The population momentum is one of the greatest causes of population growth. Population momentum occurs simply because the next reproductive group is starting to have children.
When referring to, The State of the World Atlas, by Dan Smith one can observe population patterns. Page 14 shows the population doubling dates, where one can figure out based on the facts given, which stage of the demographic transition each country is in at various times. This also gives insight into how cultural integration plays an important role in population growth and variation. Page 16 in the atlas shows life expectancy across the world. It also states that increases in life expectancy are mainly due to improvements in three basic social conditions: better nutrition, a clean water supply, and access to health services.Consequently, life expectancy is considerably higher in the richer countries than in the poorer parts of the world(16). An example of this can be seen in the article, Gray Dawn: The Global Aging Crisis. The article discusses the aging crisis, which is due to the advancements in technology, which are allowing people to live longer. As discussed in the article the growth of elderly is going to cost lots of money that many people are not planning on.Nutrition is a good indicator into population variations across the world. Countries that naturally have more food available as opposed to poorer countries, who often suffer from malnutrition, find larger populations of healthier people living longer. On the other hand countries who lose babies and children often due to lack of resources often have higher birth rates because the adults in the countries want to have lots of children in case they lose one or more (18-21). Age provides one with an understanding of population growth. Countries where average life expectancies increase and family sizes decline, the proportion of older people in a population increases(24). Richer countries who have better living conditions often have less population growth, but more people living longer.
There are many problems and issues that are associated with the patterns and variations of populations on a global level. One major issue which affects fertility rates and birth rates is the issue of reproductive rights in each country. As observed in the atlas on page 79 countries who have high birth rates also have no access or the country they live in says it is illegal to have abortions. This may be an issue that is causing a variation in the population. The wealth of a country also has an influence on the growth of the population. One major issue involving birth rates and death rates is health risks in a country. As reported on page 80-81 of the atlas HIV/AIDS is a major risk among many populations. AIDS has reduced life expectancy by more than one third in Botswana, Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. This is probably why many of these places have both high birth and death rates. Another factor that causes a variation in population growth around the world is food. Problems concerning the amount of food available in a country can very well cause increases or decreases in the population of that country.
Regional Variations and Patterns of Population Growth