Rohan Whitehead J6NB
The Demographic Transition Model represents the transition of high birth and death rates, to low birth and death rates as countries develop (normally from a pre-industrial to a post-industrial economy. The theory of demographic history was developed by American Demographer, Warren Thompson, in 1929. It was based on changes and transitions in developing countries in the previous 200 years to its creation. However, the Demographic Transition Model, is, as in the name, only ‘a model’, and cannot be relied on to predict the future. It is nearly a century since Warren’s creation, and its relevance in the ‘modern world’ is questionable.
Firstly, it can be argued that the Demographic Transition Model is less applicable to non-developed countries. In these countries, data is limited, due to either inaccessibility (North Korea a good example due to isolationist policies by its current government), or even large populations, making it difficult for data to be precise and accurate. The DTM has primarily been used to validate the development of countries in Europe, and the Different States in North America. Therefore we can see that it has targeted more developed countries, that were hence developing in 1929 (although America was the worlds super-power at that time due to debts incurred by other countries post World War One). 1929 was a stage in time closer to the industrial revolution, therefore the rate and process of development was a much faster process than it is currently. Therefore, there is no evidence to suggest that LEDC’s are going to develop as rapidly as theorised in the DTM from stages 1 and 2 to stages 3 and 4. Therefore we can see that the DTM, as being only a model, only shows an option based on the happenings of the time when it was created. This means that it is less useful for analysis based on a modern perspective. Also, another way we can show the possible irrelevance of the DTM to modern day Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDC’s) is that it does not take into account diseases and viruses that have killed many people and halted reversed economic development. In countries in central Africa, such and Malawi and Niger [Niger now seen as one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world], there have been numerous cases of HIV and AIDS, as well as water borne diseases. This rapidly increased the infant mortality rate for these countries, and halted its economic and social development. This is not represented as a possibility in the Demographic Transition Model; therefore its relevance is questionable to the modern day. Another thing that the DTM does not include is governmental intervention in the growth of a population and economy. The primary example to use for this would be China’s One Child Policy, introduced in 1979 to ‘alleviate social, economic and environmental problems in China’. It is predicted [by demographers] that this policy prevented about 200 million. Although demographers argue that the implementation of the policy ‘abuses human rights’ they conclude that without the policy China’s population would have reached an unsustainable amount by 2020, leading to either large economic collapse, or a massive increase in the poverty gap (probably the first option due to the communist regime in place in industry (although China does now adopt a capitalist approach to its economy allowing for expanse and an expansionary fiscal policy)). The Demographic Transition Model therefore does not prove accurate for the country with the highest rate of development in the modern day. Therefore it can be seen an irrelevant to the modern demographic, as due to increased liberty, there are much more variables affecting population change than there were in 1929.
War is another factor that the Demographic Transition rate does not consider. Afghanistan has had a developing country since 2002, and now is 108th in the GDP ranks in the world.