The Decline Of Fertility Rates

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In 1930, Thompson developed one of the first theories to explain the decline in fertility rates starting to be seen in industrializing nations (Thompson, 1930). Joined by Notestein in 1953, this classical theory of demographic transition postulates that changes in social life from industrialization and urbanization would cause first a decline in mortality followed by a decline in fertility (Notestein, 1953; Mason, 1997). Since the early 20th century, the world has undergone major demographic changes. In the first decade of the 21st century for the first time, the old outnumbered the young, and the median number of children per woman fell below replacement levels (Cohen, 2005). These major changes illustrate the now well-known concept of…show more content…
Demography is influenced by a multitude of factors, many of which are yet unknown or unquantifiable. Demographic changes can arise from unsuspecting sources; for example Chong et al (2008) found that the spread of soap operas in Brazil, which portrayed smaller families than typical in Brazil, contributed to fertility decline in that country through shifting cultural ideals. Acknowledging that demographic changes occur due to a great variety of economic, social, cultural, ecologic and other causes, I will focus on the role that health policies can play in demographic trends both pre- and post- the demographic transition by examining the cases of Bangladesh and Germany. I will also examine how demographic trends may influence economic growth. During the period of population growth in the demographic transition, society may experience economic growth in what is known as the demographic dividend. During this period, the population participating in the labor force is greater than the dependent population, freeing up resources for innovation and investment (Lee and Mason, 2006). However, this dividend is not guaranteed but must be created through a conducive policy environment (Bloom et al, 2003). Post-transition, economic growth continues to be a concern as society confronts the burden of an aging, and potentially shrinking, population. Making the demographic transition: Bangladesh Bangladesh has been experiencing its demographic transition
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