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Population Growth and Economic Development: Causes, Consequences and Controversies. Overview. World Population Growth – past, present and future Demographic Transition Causes of High Fertility in LDCs Consequences of High Fertility Policy Options.
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Birth rate (or crude birth rate): The number of live births per 1,000 population in a given year. Not to be confused with the growth rate.
Growth rate: The number of persons added to (or subtracted from) a population in a year due to natural increase and net migration; expressed as a percentage of the population at the beginning of the time period.
Doubling time: The number of years required for the population of an area to double its present size, given the current rate of population growth.
Death rate (or crude death rate): The number of deaths per 1,000 population in a given year.
Total fertility rate (TFR): The average number of children that would be born alive to a women during her childbearing years if she conformed to the age-specific fertility rates of a given year.
Demographic transition: The historical shift of birth and death rates from high to low levels in a population. The decline of mortality usually precedes the decline in fertility, thus producing rapid population growth during the transition period.
Rate of natural increase: The rate at which a population is increasing (or decreasing) in a given year due to a surplus (or deficit) of births over deaths, expressed as a percentage of the base population.
In 2000, the world had 6.1 billion human inhabitants. This number could rise to more than 9 billion in the next 50 years. For the last 50 years, world population multiplied more rapidly than ever before, and more rapidly than it will ever grow in the future.
The 2000 growth rate of 1.4 percent, when applied to the world's 6.1 billion population, yields an annual increase of about 85 million people. Because of the large and increasing population size, the number of people added to the global population will remain high for several decades, even as growth rates continue to decline.
Between 2000 and 2030, nearly 100 percent of this annual growth will occur in the less developed countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, whose population growth rates are much higher than those in developed countries.
All the developed countries have entered this third stage of the demographic transition. A few have gone on to a fourth stage in which death rates are higher than birth rates, and the population declines.
For LDCs birth and death rates were higher at the start of the demographic transition than they had been in Europe or North America. Death rates fell rapidly in less developed countries through the introduction of medical and public health technology; antibiotics and immunization reduced deaths from infectious diseases; and insecticides helped control malaria. These changes did not result from economic development within the countries, but were a result of international foreign aid.
In the second stage of the demographic transition of these regions, mortality declines led to continued population growth. Birth rates even increased as a result of the better health enjoyed by the population. With declining mortality and increasing fertility rates, the population growth of the less developed countries achieved an unparalleled 2.5 percent per year in the 1960s.
Mortality rates in the less developed countries fell much faster than during the demographic transition in the more developed countries. As a result, there developed a large gap in the percentage of growth between these two regions. Since 1970, birth rates have fallen, but the death rate has fallen faster. The population growth rate is still high, about 1.9 percent annually in 2000.