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Populations in transition


Population in transition

Overpopulation - a major concern in the developing world

Overpopulation – a major concern in the developing world

Overpopulation – a major concern in the developing world

Population change Explain population trends and patterns in births (Crude Birth Rate), natural increase and mortality (Crude Death Rate, infant and child mortality rates), fertility and life expectancy in contrasting regions of the world. Analyse population pyramids. Explain population momentum and its impact on population projections. (5 hours)

Responses to high and low fertility Explain dependency and ageing ratios. Examine the impacts of youthful and ageing populations. Evaluate examples of a pro‑natalist policy and an anti‑natalist policy. (4 hours)

Movement responses—migration Discuss the causes of migrations, both forced and voluntary. Evaluate internal (national) and international migrations in terms of their geographic (socio‑economic, political and environmental) impacts at their origins and destinations. (6 hours)

Gender and change Examine gender inequalities in culture, status, education, birth ratios, health, employment, empowerment, life expectancy, family size, migration, legal rights and land tenure. (4 hours)


Population change

Population growth is the change in population over time for a particular place. We tend to look at human countries within countries, whose governments then attempt to manage that change. However, in today’s globalised world we must also consider Global patterns in population change.

Human population growth

Human population growth

Factors affecting world population


A high standard of health care in a country will help to lower infant mortality, reducing the birth rate as people don’t need to have as many children in order to ensure some survive.

High health care standards ensure people have good access to modern health treatment, prolonging life expectancy and lowering death rate.

In areas with balanced, healthy diets the death rate will be lowered but in countries with poor diets or a lack of food the death rate will increase due to malnutrition.

Countries with high health care standards will have access to retroviral drugs giving them the potential to tackle HIV and other STIs.


Emancipation of women will reduce the birth rate as women are able to get careers rather than staying at home and nurturing children also making them less likely to have children.

Compulsory education ensures that people are educated about hygiene, STIs and contraception. Knowledge of basic hygiene will lower the death rate since people can maintain a better standard of hygiene (assuming the necessary items are available). Education about contraception will help reduce birth rate since people will be aware of the benefits of using contraception but again, this relies on the provision of contraceptives from governments or charities.

Very high standards of education provide an opportunity for advanced education paving the way for the training of doctors and medical researchers potentially lowering the death rate thanks to new discoveries or the availability of better trained doctors.

Social Provisions

If proper social care is provided to the elderly and they are well looked after, death rate will be reduced since they are able to live longer.

If clean water is available, death rate is reduced as water borne diseases such as cholera aren’t prevalent. In addition, people are able to wash themselves and clothing properly (rather than in a river, where they also obtain their drinking water) again reducing the death rate thanks to an improved hygiene standard.

The availability of media makes it easier to educate people and raise awareness about outbreaks of diseases potentially reducing death rate. The availability of media is also important for educating people about hygiene, avoiding disease etc. if they were unable to attend school.

Cultural Factors

In some cultures and religions, people are respected more if they have many children resulting in an increased birth rate. For example, in some cultures having many children is seen as a sign of virility in men.

Conversely, some cultures and religions discourage large families though this is rare. This would have the effect of lowering birth rate.

Certain religions view birth control and abortion as bad in the eyes of their beliefs. As a result they discourage the use of these procedures resulting in an increased birth rate in countries where these religions are prevalent.

In some non-secular countries, the use of contraception and, especially abortion, is outlawed resulting in a significantly higher birth rate and death rate as a result of the spread of STI’s.

Some religions and cultures relegate the role of women preventing them from obtaining an education or career and encouraging/forcing them to have large families which results in an increased birth rate.

Political Factors

Some countries provide benefits to people who have many children to encourage people to give birth (e.g. France) as a result of an aging population and a natural decrease. This has the desired effect of increasing birth rate.

Alternatively some countries offer rewards to couples who have fewer children in order to encourage people to have less children resulting in a lowered birth rate.

If taxes in a country are high, people may not have children as they can’t afford to, decreasing the birth rate. In addition, young people may migrate away from the country if they can afford to in order to escape the taxes reducing the countries (young, fertile) population and also resulting in an increased death rate due to the knock on effects of an aging population.

During times of warfare the birth rate will fall significantly (since people are occupied fighting) and the death rate will often rise substantially. After a war however, there is often a “baby boom” resulting in a massive increase in the birth rate of a country.

Environmental Factors

Countries with frequent natural disasters will often have a high death rate. In addition, there may be a high number of people migrating away from the country for fear of their lives resulting in an overall reduction in the country’s population.

The climate may affect the death rates of a county. In warm countries, death rate may be increased due to the spread of disease, which spreads much easier in warm weather. In cold countries, death rate may also be high due to the effects of the cold and a lack of supplies (and easy access to them). This is especially true for the elderly in these countries.

In countries with heavy industry, air and water pollution could be very high increasing the death rate as a result of polluted water supplies and air. In addition, it may increase infant mortality if clean water is unavailable resulting in a significantly higher birth rate as people have more children in order to ensure some survive.

There are various reasons for population growth. The obvious reason is that there are more births than deaths. This is called natural increase. The global total fertility rate or TFR (the number of children a woman is expected to have in her reproductive years) is 2.5. This is much lower than in the past, but still greater than the replacement level (TFR of 2.1) which would lead to a stable population.

Another major reason is a result of people living longer and lower infant mortality. This is due to advances in medicine and healthier lifestyles. These are causes for celebration. We can be thankful that most people can live to see their grandchildren and that the vast majority of children survive through the formative years of their lives.

Migration results in population changes at regional levels. Some nations, such as New Zealand, receive more migrants than they send, while others send more migrants than they receive.

The Demographic Transition Model 

The demographic transition model, usually just called the DTM shows changes in birth rates, death rates and population growth as a country develops.

Demographic Transition Model

Demographic Transition Model

STAGE 1: The poorest societies that are usually nomadic hunter gatherer tribes. They have little or no modern medical care and are often in conflict with other tribes. They have no family planning. High birth and death rates means there is no real population growth.
STAGE 2: Probably more sedentary living where there is improvements in the provision of food and water, basic medical care may also develop. Birth rates remain high, but because of the lowering death rates the population starts to grow.
STAGE 3: As education improves and mechanisation takes place then birth rates begin to fall. However, because birth rates are higher than death rates then the population still grows.
STAGE 4: Birth rates and death rates are now both low. Because they are both low, population remains stable.
STAGE 5: Recently added to the DTM, here birth rates fall below death rates so the population begins to decline.

This can happen because of the emancipation of females, cost of child care, delayed marriage etc. Countries like Japan are in stage 5.

Advantages and disadvantages of the DTM


It can be applied to all countries.

It provides a starting point to demographic change over time.

The timescales are flexible.

It’s easy to understand.

It enables comparisons between countries.


Birth rates in several MEDCs have fallen below death rates. This has caused the population to decline which suggests that the model should have a fifth stage.

The DTM is Eurocentric as the model assumes that all countries pass through the same four stages. It now seems unlikely, however, that Africa and many other LEDCs will ever be industrialised. There are also variables and exceptions such as war that may lead to different results.

The model assumes the fall in death rate in stage 2 was due to industrialisation. In the UK, however, the death rate rose due to the poor conditions during the industrial revolution. The delayed fall in death rate in many LEDCs is due to the inability for people to afford healthcare. In many countries, the fall in birth rate has been slower in stage 3 due to opposition by religious organisations. Alternatively, in China, the birth rate has fallen sharply due to government intervention.

The timescale of the model, especially in several South-East Asian countries such as Hong Kong and Malaysia, is being squashed as they develop at a much faster rate than earlier industrialised countries. The UK stayed in stage 2 for over 100 years as social, economic and technological changes were introduced slowly and death rate fell slowly. In many LEDCs, death rate has fallen more rapidly because changes (i.e. the introduction of western medicine) have taken place much more quickly. The birth rate has stayed high and so the population has increased rapidly.

The model does not include the impacts of migration. Countries that grew as a consequence of emigration from Europe (e.g, USA, Canada & Australia) did not pass through the earlier stages of the model.

With the DTM we can link population pyramids which will highlight the structure of a population within each of the corresponding stages of the DTM.

DTM and the relative population pyramid

DTM and the relative population pyramid

Population pyramids

Population pyramids: Are a way of displaying the age / sex structure of a population. We can analyse it to predict the future and plan accordingly.

Dependency ratios: This is a ratio that compares the percentage of population available for work (15-64) and those economically inactive. You can work it out: (All children 14 and under plus those aged 65 and over) divided by (number of adults aged 15-64). The higher the ratio the more potential problems for the future.

Population structures: This is the age/sex balance that exists.

This is very closely linked to the demographic transition model and migration. You could be asked to talk about the population structure of an area and the implications of that structure for the future. In English, what is the percentage of males and females, how old are they and why does it matter.

The usual way to show this is with a population pyramid. This is simply a combination bar graph showing the percentage of males at different ages and the percentage of females at different ages. It can however tell us a lot about a country and its development.

Pyramid 1

Pyramid 1

Pyramid 1: Here the base is very wide indicating a very high birth rate. The width drops off very quickly. This means people must be dying. Very few reach old age. Few countries are still in this stage today but some rainforest populations would display this pattern.

Implications: Clear need for investment into water supplies, health care, food supplies and housing to reduce death rates.

Pyramid 2

Pyramid 2

Pyramid 2: Still a large base so high birth rate but also a wider and taller pyramid as more people are living to older ages. This is stage two of the demographic transition model and includes many countries in Africa such as Kenya.

Implication: Probable need to invest in education about family planning to reduce birth rate. Possibly indicates that women are undervalued in society so this could be tackled

Pyramid 3

Pyramid 3

Pyramid 3: Note the more ‘domed’ shape. It means many people are living to older ages as quality of life improves. There are also proportionately fewer births. This is stage three of the demographic transition model. Chile would be a good example.

Implication: As the population becomes increasingly older there may be a need to invest in facilities and services for them. Still a need for continued investment in family planning

Pyramid 4

Pyramid 4

Pyramid 4: Very small base due to the very low birth rates and death rates displayed in the wide top. This would be representative of Australia that has recently come through stage three of the demographic transition model.

Implication: Should the situation continue there are serious implications about providing for the elderly population (increasing cost of health care, state pensions) especially as the working population becomes proportionally smaller. This is a major concern in much of the developed world.

Population pyramids can also be influenced by:

Migration: Likelihood of extra young males as these are likely to migrate.

Famines: Clear drops in population especially among the very young as these are most likely to suffer.

War: Clear drop off in male populations of fighting age.

The DTM and population pyramid examples:


Population pyramid - Japan

Population pyramid – Japan

Japan 2010: Japan is in stage 5 of the demographic transition model (DTM). The population pyramid shows this with a high life expectancy and low and declining birth rates. You can tell that Japan has a high life expectancy because of the size of the 80+ age group. You can also tell that Japan has declining birth rates because the size of the population groups from 35-39 all the way down to 0-4 are actually getting smaller in size. This means that each year less babies are being born. Interestingly, even though Japan has very high life expectancy it actually has quite high death rates (higher than you would expect). This is because there are so many old people in Japan (all old people die eventually, even if they live to 95).

El Salvador

El Salvador - population pyramid

El Salvador – population pyramid

El Salvador 2010: The El Salvador pyramid is very different to the Japan pyramid and looks more like a stage 3 country. The most noticeable thing from El Salvador’s pyramid are its high birth rates. You can tell that El Salvador’s birth rates are high and increasing because as you move down the pyramid (through the age groups) the size of them get bigger. Because of the large amount of young people in El Salvador, it will probably suffer from population momentum for many years to come even if the total fertility rate falls.

Population pyramid Interpreting_Population_Pyramids

Population growth and population momentum

Population growth: is the rate at which the number of individuals in a population increases in a given time period. Specifically, population growth refers to the change in population over a unit time period. A positive growth ratio (or rate) indicates that the population is increasing, while a negative growth ratio indicates the population is decreasing.

Population momentum: is the tendency for population to grow despite a fall in birth rate or fertility levels. It is also the tendency for a population to continue to fall despite a rise in the birth rate.

Fertility and Mortality


Fertility MDG--Generosity-help-poor-005

Key Terms

Crude Birth Rate – The total number of births in a single year per 1000 of the population. This doesn’t include the age and sex structure of a population.

General Fertility Rate – The number of live births per 1000 women aged 15 to 49 in one year. May also be used to derive the general fertility rate for women in particular age bands.

Fertility rate – The average number of children born to a woman in her life time.

World Fertility Levels

Fertility is still high in most of the least developed countries and although it is expected to decline, it will remain higher than the rest of the world.

In the rest of the developing countries, fertility has declined markedly since the late 1960’s and is expected to reach below replacement level by 2050 in the majority of these countries.

Below replacement fertility prevails in the developed regions and is expected to continue to 2050.

Replacement Level Fertility

Replacement level fertility is the level of fertility at which a population exactly replaces itself from generation to generation.

In developed countries, replacement level fertility can be taken as an average of 2.1 per woman.

In countries with high infant mortality rates, however, the average number of births may need to be much higher.

Factors Effecting Fertility Rates


Level of Healthcare

Improvements in health care, sanitation & diet lead to a drop in infant mortality rate e.g. The Demographic Republic of Congo has a total fertility rate of 6.91 and 0.088 doctors per 1000 people.

Availability of contraceptives for couples with knowledge and desire to use it e.g. Rwanda, where 10% of women practice modern methods of family planning and where the total fertility rate is 5.12. In Brazil, 70% of women practise modern methods of family planning and the total fertility rate is 2.21.

Level of Education

In some countries, access to healthcare and education may be limited e.g. Afghanistan, total fertility rate of 7.7 with 0.17 doctors per 1000 & a female literacy rate of 13%.

Higher female literacy rates lead to improved knowledge of birth control, more opportunities for employment and more choice. This may lead to lower fertility rates.



Islam and the Roman Catholic Church oppose the use of birth control although this influence may lesson with economic development.

In many parts of the world religion/tradition demands high rates of reproduction.

The Status of Women

Women in some countries are obliged to produce as many children as possible e.g. Nigeria, total fertility rate 4.9.


In some countries, the number of children is seen as a sign of virility and wealth.


Employment Opportunities

With the prospect of a career, women may have less children and marry later. e.g. the average marital age in the UK is 30.

Reduced access to formal employment and other income earning opportunities means women are forced to devote most of their time and energy to child bearing.

The Cost of Having Children

Children are seen as economic assets in LEDCs. They can be used as workers on land or to bring in more income.

The time spent in education and the cost of childcare makes it more expensive to have a child. In the UK (TFR 1.66) the estimated cost of raising a child to 21 is £166,000.


Pressure from the Government

Some governments will try to influence the rate of population growth e.g. The Chinese attempting to reduce the birth rate or Japan attempting to increase it.


Infant Mortality Rates

High birth rates to compensate a high infant mortality rate e.g. Nigeria with a birth rate of 51.6.

Reduced infant mortality rate reduces the need for lots of children for security. e.g. Japan’s birth rate of 7.64 with an infant mortality rate of 2.79.

Age Structures

Countries with a large proportion of young people may continue to see a population increase due to population momentum.

Countries with a small proportion of youth face population decline even if birth rates per woman increase e.g. Japan.

Factors causing high birth rates

Primary based economy where children are needed to work on land
Women maintained in traditional role of rearing children and taking care of house
Lack of education about contraception and family planning
The need for children to care for elderly residents
Status symbol of having a large family or the need to obtain a male heir
Pro-natalist policy
Religious or legal practices (no abortion or discouragement of using contraception)
Marriage at a young age

Factors causing low birth rates

Availability and affordability of contraception

Education about contraception and family planning

Reduced infant mortality (less need to have more children to make up for infant deaths)
Female emancipation (females are free to get an education and work)
Cost of children
Anti-natalist policy (like China)
Delayed marriage
Better care for old dependents (less need for children to care for their parents in old age)
Mechanisation of primary sector and shift to secondary and tertiary sectors


ageing pop elderly-sign-364-364x223

Crude death rate – The average annual number of deaths a year per 1000 of the population.

Age specific death rate – This shows death rates per 1000 population by sex for age groups e.g. under 1, 1 – 4, 5 – 15 etc.

Life Expectancy – The average number of years to be lived by a group of people born in the same year, if mortality at each age remains constant in the future.

Infant Mortality rate – The number of deaths of children under the age of 1 per 1000 live births per year.

Patterns of Global Death Rates

North America, Canada and South America show relatively low death rates. Mexico in particular shows very low death rates. Sub Saharan Africa on the other hand shows very high death rates whilst northern Africa shows lower, but still high, death rates. Most of Europe has a high death rate with Russia having a very high death rate. Afghanistan has an extremely high death rate too, whilst surrounding countries have much lower death rates. India has a surprisingly low death rate as does China.

Factors Effecting Mortality

Age distribution – The higher the proportion of old people to young people, the higher the death rate since older people are more likely to die.

Gender – Women generally have a higher life expectancy than men, possibly due to the lifestyle or biological differences preventing certain diseases.

Occupation – In some countries people may be employed in dangerous occupations increasing the death rate e.g. Timber cutters in America with 105 deaths in 2000.

Income – Low income levels correlate to a low life expectancy whilst high income levels correlate with a high life expectancy. This is because a high income allows people to afford medical care, higher standards of living and healthier foods, prolonging their life.

Literacy – Areas with high literacy levels have higher life expectancies whereas areas with low literacy rates have low life expectancies. The reasoning behind this is that when people can read & write, they can obtain higher paying jobs and therefore receive a higher income improving their life expectancy. In addition, when people can read they can read information on preventing the spread of disease and basic hygiene standards improving life expectancy.

Access to food – Countries with a lack of food have low life expectancies since the people suffer from malnutrition and are more susceptible to diseases due to a weakened immune system increasing the mortality rates.

Medical Facilities – Access to vaccination programs helps to prolong life expectancy and prevent the spread of diseases. Equipment such as mosquito nets also help prolong life expectancy. Access to medical clinics and doctors will also help to substantially lower the death rate. Access to and usage of these services is dependant on income and literacy rates however.

Factors Effecting Infant Mortality Rate

Age of Mother, Birth Control and Birth Interval

Younger mothers (less than 20 years) giving birth generally results in higher infant mortality rates. The same is true for older women (40 – 49 years).

By the 2nd and 3rd child, the infant mortality rate falls due to the women possessing more experience in caring for a child. After 3 children, the IMR begins to increase again as the family is less capable of looking after lots of children.

As mothers leave more time between successive babies, the infant mortality rate falls. For example, having a child within 2 years of a previous one results in a IMR of 110 however having a child within 4 years of another results in an IMR of 39.

Sex of Infant

Baby girls are more likely to die from neglect than boys due to the requirement of a boy for work, looking after parents, land etc in some countries.

Education Level of Mother

Areas with high literacy rates generally have low IMRs since mothers are able for sad about child care, what to eat & do during pregnancy and how to stay healthy.

Status of Women in Society

In some cultures, women are required to have children which results in a high IMR due to the increased frequency of births. In addition, in some countries, women aren’t able to see doctors, which can result in a substantially higher IMR.


Countries with a high IMR generally have a low income and countries with a high income generally have a low IMR. Countries with more money have access to better sanitary healthcare, vaccinations and more nutritious food resulting in a reduced IMR.


Equatorial areas with hot climates have higher IMRs due to droughts causing a shortage of food and water for the young. In addition, the hot climates increase the spread of disease again increasing the IMR.

Geographical Location

The location of an area results in varying cultures, income levels etc. which alternates the IMR.

Factors causing high death rates

Natural disasters like earthquakes, volcanoes, droughts and floods
Poor medical care
Shortage of clean water and poor hygiene
Unhealthy lifestyle

Factors causing low death rates

Improved medical care
Immunisation programmes e.g. Small pox
Clean and reliable water supply
Improved diet (higher calorific intake and healthier diet)
Improved sanitation and hygiene
Improved exercise

Responses to high and low fertility – youthful and ageing population

Youthful population

Causes of a Young Population:

Lack of family planning, no education about contraception, high infant mortality, primary based economy, no care for old dependents from government, immigration of young dependents and tradition and status of large families.

Problems of a Young Population:

Cost of childcare and education, increased dependency ratio, increased cost of child benefits paid by the government, shortage of workers (in the short-term), cost of healthcare (midwives, health visitors, etc.) and spending diverted from defence, transport, etc.

Solutions to a Young Population:

Anti-natalist policy (one child policy), increased immigration of economically active, privatised education (remove cost from government), privatised healthcare (remove cost from government), removal of child benefits, reduced birth rates (family planning, contraception, etc.), reduced infant mortality rates (people then normally have less babies), greater care of old dependents (less children needed to care for elderly) and immigration restrictions (quotas).

Advantages of a youthful population:

Lower death rates so less money spent on care homes/hospitals, educated and IT literate population (many elderly people are unfamiliar with new technology), abundance of future workers, strong military in the future and large future market (young people are often interested in consumer goods).

Iran’s Young Population (BBC news article)

Modern Iranian women

Modern Iranian women

Nearly 60% of Iranians are under the age of 30, compared to about 40% in the US. Although this figure is high it is not as high as Iraq or Afghanistan where the figure stands at nearly 70%.
One of the reasons that Iran has a very young population, is that after the Islamic Revolution in 1979 people were encouraged to marry young and have big families. This policy was continued right through the 1980’s as Iran was fighting a war with Iraq and wanted a large population (and therefore large army).
The government realised that the population was growing to big and in the 1990’s promoted contraception and family planning to reduce the birth rate. However, the young population will mean that the population continues to grow because of population momentum.
Problems that the young population might cause are greater calls for political and social freedom and demands for better employment opportunities.
Ageing population

Causes of an ageing population
Good medical care, good diet and improved water supply, good sanitation and hygiene, low birth rates caused by:

  • Emancipation of women
  • Cost of children
  • Emigration of economically active

Problems of an ageing population

Shortage of economically active, reduced taxation income for the government, cost of providing healthcare and care homes (elderly tend to get sick more frequently), reduced spending on education, policing, transport network, etc., cost of paying for pensions, service decline (schools, sports centres, etc. not used by older residents).

Solutions to an ageing population

Pro-natalist policies (France), increased immigration of economically active, increased retirement age, private pensions, private healthcare, increased taxes of economically active.

Advantages to an ageing population

Elderly people have a lot of experience and can be valuable in the workplace,  less money spent on schooling and natal medical care, lower crime rates and less money needed to be spent on policing.

Japan’s Ageing Population

Japan’s population began falling in 2004 and is now ageing faster than any other on the planet. More than 22% of Japanese are already 65 or older. A report compiled with the government’s co-operation two years ago warned that by 2060 the number of Japanese will have fallen from 127m to about 87m, of whom almost 40% will be 65 or older.” The Economist 2014

Japan's ageing population

Japan’s ageing population

Japan has an ageing population because the birth rates have fallen and it has one of the world’s highest life expectancy’s. In fact the islands of Okinawa off Japan’s south coast have the highest life expectancy and the greatest percentage of centenarians in the world.
Japan has the highest proportion of old dependents (about 23%) and the lowest proportion of young dependents (about 13%) in the world. It has a total fertility rate of only 1.25. This is well below the replacement rate of 2.1.
Even though the Japanese are working longer, it may have to look outside its borders to prevent future population decline and economic decline. Japan is traditionally a very insular country so allowing large scale immigration would involve huge social and cultural changes.

Population policies –  pro-natal and anti-natal

Pro-natalist policy: A policy that tries to increase birth rates and total fertility rate. You can not force people to have children, so you have to offer incentives e.g. free education.

Declining populations

Declining populations

Countries may introduce a pro-natalist policy because: They have an ageing population (increased dependency ratio) and/or they have a shortage of economically active (low births rates and total fertility rates)
You can not force people to have children, so pro-natalist policies normally work by offering incentives. Incentives may include:


Extended maternity and paternity leave and pay (maternity leave is holiday (time off work) given to the mother after she has given birth, paternity leave is holiday given to the husband after the mother has given birth – in most countries paternity leave is very short (maybe 2 weeks and often unpaid))

Free or subsidised childcare

Free of subsidised education and healthcare


The French Policy

In 1939, the French passed the “Code de la famille”, a complex piece of pro natalist legislation. The pro-natalist methods in the policy included:

Offering cash incentives to mothers who stayed at home to care for children.

Subsidising holidays.

Banning the sale of contraceptives (repealed in 1967).

Incentives offered in the policy included:

Payment of up to £1064 to couples having their third child.

Generous maternity grants.

Family allowances to increase the purchasing power of three child families.

Maternity leave on near full pay for 20 weeks for the first child to 40 weeks or more for the third child.

100% mortgage and preferential treatment in the allocation of three bedroom council flats.

Full tax benefits to parents until the youngest child reaches 18.

30% fare reduction on all public transport for three child families.

Pension schemes for mothers/housewives.

Child-orientated development policies e.g. provisioning of crèches, day nurseries etc.

Depending on the family’s income, childcare costs from virtually nothing to around €500 a month for the most well off of families.

Nursing mothers are encourage to work part-time or take a weekly day off work.

France – pro-natal policy
Anti-natal policy: A policy that tries to reduce birth rates. This can be done through better education on family planning and better provision of contraception or a more rigid forced policy like China’s (see below).

A country may introduce an anti-natal policy if it is: Overpopulated (the population is higher than the resources available) OR Has a young population (high birth rates and total fertility rate)

Under- population: Singapore (Slideshare)

Under- population: Singapore (Slideshare)

China’s One Child Policy

China's one child policy

China’s one child policy

BBC – China’s policy – success or failure


1953 – First modern census takes place in China. The population comes in as 583 million.

Between 1953 and 1964 the population increased by 112 million as Mao Zedong encouraged larger families in an attempt to make China stronger.

Attempts to slow down population growth were started in the 1970s using the slogan “Later, longer, fewer”. People were encouraged to limit families to two children.

1979 – One child policy introduced.

2010 – Population: 1.335 billion.

Reasons for the policy

Combat population explosion.

Imbalances between population and available resources. China has 7% of the world’s agricultural land and 23% of the world’s population.

To encourage economic development

Improving the standard of living for the population.


Law introduced to limit the number of births applied to the Han majority (90% of the population) but not the ethnic minorities.

Cash bonuses, improved housing and free education/medical care if couples limit themselves to one child.

Free birth control and family planning advice.

Age limits and certificates for marriage. Couples would have to apply for marriage certificates.

Anyone housing more than one child lost benefits and faced financial penalties (generally 3× their salary).


Demographic Structure

Future ageing population and high dependency ratios.

Shortage of economically active age group.

Gender Structure

Ratio of 117 males for every 100 females among babies from birth through children of four years of age. Normally, 105 males are born for every 100 females.

By 2020, an estimated 30 million men will be unable to find a wife and have a child earning them the title “Bare branches”.

Civil Liberties & Human Rights

Women pregnant for a second time often coerced into having an abortion or sterilisation particularly during the early years of the policy.

“Granny Police” were recruited in settlements to spy on people in their community who might be trying to keep a pregnancy secret.

Civil Unrest

Opposition in rural areas, where stronger requirements for sons to work in fields, continue family name and look after parents in their old age, exist.

Reports of gender selective abortions, hidden children, abandoned girls and, in rare cases, female infanticide.

Little Emperor Syndrome

Indulged and closeted boys who are often arrogant and lacking in social skills.

Future – Amendments to the policy:

In rural areas, if the first child is a girl then a couple can have a second child.

If the first child is unhealthy, a couple can have a second child.

If both parents are only children, they can have two children.


Total fertility rate has declined from 6.2 in 1950 to 1.6 in 2009, which is below replacement level. The rate of natural increase has declined to 0.5% from 2.2% in the 1970s.

Policy has met the most success amongst urban populations. It has been less successful in rural areas where families have continued to have 2 or 3 children.

It is estimate that without the policy there would have been an extra 400 million Chinese people born between 1970 and 2009.

The reduction in the rate of population growth during the 1990s was accompanied by a noticeable rise in GNP.

Greater equality for women as status is enhanced. Women are offered more opportunities for gaining greater knowledge.

Over population - China (Slideshare)

Over population – China (Slideshare)

Movement responses – migration

Migration exodus
Migration is the movement of population from one area to another.   Some migrations are forced, voluntary, permanent and temporary, International and regional.   Forced migration is where people have no option but to move. This can happen during a war (e.g. in Rwanda or Afghanistan) or a natural disaster (such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti).  Voluntary migration occurs when people CHOOSE to move, this is often for economic reasons for work or for social reasons such as to be closer to family.  If migration takes place WITHIN a country it is said to be National or regional.  If the migrant or migrants cross borders it is said to be International migration.

Migration from Eritrea – The Guardian

Migration can be looked at in terms of time scale as well.  Some migrants move for temporary periods whilst others move permanently.  Most migrations are local, but all migrations result from a huge range of push and pull factors.  A push factor is any event or factor that makes somebody move from a place.  A pull factor is a feature that makes some body want to migrate to a place.  The place here a migrant ends up is known as the destination or host country, whilst the place losing the migrant is known as the country of origin.

Migration tends to occur over short distances, with the vast majority of people generally wanting to remain close to the community and family in which they grew up.   Indeed, there is a distance decay relationship between the number of migrants and the distance they have travelled for permanent migration. This relationship has been modelled mathematically using gravity models.

Lee's model

Lee’s model

Lee’s migration model: This a simple model which shows people migrate because of a combination of push and pull factors. The model also suggests that there are factors that encourage people to stay in their location and possibly factors in their desired destination which discourage them from moving there.

  • Factors discouraging people from leaving host country: friends and family, security of native culture, a job, a house.
  • Factors discouraging people moving to host country: language problems, illegal status, no job, worries over housing

Push Factors: something that makes you want to leave a location. Examples include: no job or a poorly paid job,  food and water shortages, poor education and medical care, crime or conflict etc…

Pull Factors: Something that attracts you to a new location. these may include: prospect of a better job, lower crime rates and peace, prospect of better education for them or their children, availability of food and water, greater political freedoms, greater gender equality etc. ….

Intervening obstacles: These are problems or difficulties that you might experience before you migrate or while you are migrating. Obstacles that people might face while migrating include: no passport or visa, shortage of money, fear of being a victim of crime while migrating e.g. Central Americans travelling through Mexico, arrest for illegal entry into countries etc.

The Slideshare (below) explains Lee’s model:


Types of migration

Types of migration

Migration impacts the host country and the country of origin

Host country (the country receiving the migrants)

The advantages include:

  1. Brain gain – Receiving educated and skilled workers.
  2. As well as trained migrants there will be as source of cheap migrants (low paid) to fill manual jobs.
  3. There will be increased cultural diversity as migrants arrive with their own culture of food, dance, language, etc.
  4. Growth of local market with increase of population
  5. If migrants are legal, then an increase in tax revenues for the government

Disadvantages include:

  1. There may be an increase in racial tensions between newly arrived migrants and local population
  2. The increased population will cause greater pollution and overcrowding
  3. There may be a rise in unemployment when migrants accept lower paid positions, making more of the local population unemployed.
  4. There will be an increase pressure on services. This may include schools and hospitals, but also electricity and water supply.
  5. Growth of black market and informal economy if migrants are illegally present.

Source country (from where the migrants come from)

The advantages include:

  1. A reduction in unemployment as more jobs become available
  2. Remittances (see * below)are sent home from migrants living abroad
  3. Migrants may return home with new skills
  4. Increased political ties with migrants host country
  5. Reduced pressure on education and healthcare system
  6. Reduction in births rates and total fertility rate as many migrants are in the reproductive age range

Disadvantages are:

  1. Brain drain – losing your most educated and skilled workers.
  2. A shortage of workers, especially during periods of harvest
  3. An increase in the dependency ratio as economically active migrate
  4. Separation of families. This may include children losing one or both of their parents
  5. Creates dependency on remittances (*)

Remittances: Money sent home from family members or friends living an earning money in a different location, normally a foreign country.

BBC Article – remittances:

“Migration reduces disparities in wealth and development.” Discuss this statement.[15 marks]

To what extent do migrations bring benefits to both their origins and their destinations? [15]


International migration – Mexico to the USA


The “divide” between the USA and Mexico

Migration from Mexico to the United States Of America primarily involves the movement of Mexicans from Mexico to the southern states of America which border Mexico. In order to gain access to America, Mexicans must cross the “Unites States-Mexico Border”, a border which spans four US states & six Mexican states. In America, it starts in California and ends in Texas (east to west). Due to their proximity to the border & the high availability of work in these states, the majority of Mexicans move to California followed by Texas. California currently houses 11,423,000 immigrants with Texas holding 7,951,000.

Many Mexicans from rural communities migrate to America, the majority being males who move to America and then send money back to their families in Mexico (remittances). Many of these immigrants enter the country illegally, which often requires them to cross a large desert that separates Mexico and America and the Rio Grande. These journeys are dangerous and many immigrants have died, or nearly died, trying to cross into America through these routes.

Reasons for Migration

Push Factors

There are incredibly high crime rates in Mexico, especially in the capital. Homicide rates come in at around 10-14 per 100,000 people (world average 10.9 per 100,000) and drug related crimes are a major concern. It is thought that in the past five years, 47,500 people have been killed in crimes relating to drugs. Many Mexicans will move out of fear for their lives and hope that America is a more stable place to live, with lower crime rates.

Unemployment and poverty is a major problem in Mexico and has risen exponentially in recent years. In 2000, unemployment rates in Mexico were at 2.2, however, in 2009, they rose by 34.43%, leaving them standing at 5.37 in 2010. A large portion of the Mexican population are farmers, living in rural areas where extreme temperatures and poor quality land make it difficult to actually farm. This is causing many Mexican families to struggle, with 47% of the population living under the poverty line. With these high unemployment and poverty rates, people are forced to move to America, where they have better prospects, in order to be able to support their families and maintain a reasonable standard of living.

The climate and natural hazards in Mexico could force people to move to America. Mexico is a very arid area which suffers from water shortages even in the more developed areas of Mexico. The country also suffers from natural disasters including volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes & tsunamis. Recent natural disasters could force people to migrate if their homes have been destroyed or made uninhabitable. People who live in danger zones could also migrate out of fear for their lives.

Pull Factors

There is a noticeable difference in the quality of life between America & Mexico. Poverty, as mentioned above, is a major issue in Mexico, with 6% of the population lacking access to “improved” drinking water. Mexico’s infrastructure is severely undeveloped when compared to America’s. Despite being the 11th richest country in the World, Mexico also has the 10th highest poverty. With America offering significantly better living standards and services, such as health care, people are enticed to move to America for a better life.

Existing migrant communities in states such as Texas and California help to pull people towards migration. Existing communities make it easier for people to settle once moved and family members & friends who have already moved can encourage others to move. People are also enticed to move in order to be with their families. Cousins and brothers will often move in with their relatives after they have lived in America for a while in order to be with their family.

86.1% of the Mexican population can read & write versus 99% of the population in America. In addition, the majority of students in Mexico finish school at the age of 14, versus 16 in America. These statistics show that there are significantly better academic opportunities in America than in Mexico, which can entice Mexicans to migrate for an improved education, either for themselves or, more likely, their future children, in order to give them more opportunities in the world and allow them to gain higher paying jobs.



Assimilation of Mexicans into American communities has been problematic. Many Mexicans can’t speak fluent English and studies show that their ability to speak English doesn’t improve drastically whilst they live in the US. This is largely due to them living in closed communities of other Mexican immigrants which reduces their need to assimilate with America. This can, in turn, create tension between migrants and locals which can, in extreme cases, lead to segregation, crime and violence.

There are concerns that immigrants are increasing crime rates in areas that they migrate to. Low income & poor education are factors which can lead to crime. In addition, as Mexico is a country associated with drug trafficking, there are concerns that Mexican migrants could be smuggling drugs into America, creating the problem of drug related crimes.

The introduction of Mexican cultural traditions to America, especially in states with large numbers of migrants, have helped to improve cultural aspects of those states. Mexican themed food has become incredibly popular in America with burrito and taco fast food shops opening up across the country. The new food & music has helped to improve the cultural diversity of America significantly.

With such a large number of Mexican migrants not speaking English fluently, it is now common for Spanish to be taught in American schools, widening the skill set of the younger population and improving the potential career opportunities that students may have. This also (slightly) helps ease social tensions caused by people speaking different languages which locals don’t understand.

With so many young people leaving Mexico, its developing an increasingly dependant population as the majority of people left are the elderly who can not work. Furthermore, the lack of young fertile couples is reducing the birth rate in Mexico, further increasing the dependency ratio as there is no workforce to pay taxes to support the elderly.

The majority of migrants leaving Mexico are males leaving a population with a high number of females. This is problematic as they are unable to find partners, get married and, in a mostly catholic country, have children (out of wedlock). This is, as mentioned above, reducing the birth rate and increasing the dependency ratio.


Mexican migrants often take low paying, menial jobs, which, while low paying, offer higher wages than what they’d earn in Mexico. This was, at first, advantageous, as many Americans did not want these low paying jobs but companies needed people to fill these jobs. Now, as unemployment rises in America, Americans want these menial jobs but many migrants already have taken the jobs. This can lead to increased social tension as Americans believe that their jobs are being taken.

Migrants work at incredibly low wages. Americans who are desperate for work are now often expected to work at these incredibly low wages too, which they can’t afford to do, leading to increased poverty in America. Many companies are now also replacing American labour with cheaper migrant labour, also increasing unemployment rates are people are forced out of their jobs.

While legal Mexican migrants are working & paying taxes, they often send money they earn back to their families in Mexico, rather than spending it in America, which can effect the country’s economy as there is less money being spent on products which are taxed in America. Conversely, the increased amount of money being sent back to Mexico is helping its economy greatly as people now have money to spend on goods and services.

As people move out of Mexico, pressure on land, social services and jobs is being relieved. Unemployment will fall and health services will no longer be over capacity as the population is reduced. The problem, however, arises when the young and skilled workforce leaves, resulting in a shortage of potential workers to fill these newly freed jobs and to work in these social services. A shortage of medically trained people, for example, could counteract the relieved health system.

Mexico’s population is very dependent on food grown in Mexico. Unfortunately, the majority of migrants come from rural areas, leaving a shortage of farmers and therefore the potential for food shortages in Mexico as the economically active people from rural areas leave.

Poland to the UK (Slough)

READ – Migration case study – Poland to the UK

Poland to the UK (Slideshare)

Poland to the UK (Slideshare)

Travelling with Syrian migrants (BBC)

Internal migration (national) – Rural to Urban Migration – Brazil

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

Rural-urban migration is taking place in most developing countries. It happens because of a combination of push and pull factors. These factors include:
Push Factors: Low paid agricultural jobs, loss of jobs because of mechanisation, lack of services (schools, hospitals, water supply, electricity) loss of land, poor quality housing, etc.
Pull Factors: Prospect of better jobs (factories), better entertainment, better services, more housing, etc.

In reality most migrants don’t experience all these benefits and many end up living in informal settlements and working for very low pay in dirty, dangerous jobs. However, people are still prepared to take the risk in the hope that their children will benefit.

The arrival of large numbers of migrants can cause problems for the city they arrive to. Problems may include: unemployment, shortage of houses, pressure on schools and hospitals, shortage of water and electricity, congestion and pollution.

Favela da Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro

Favela da Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro

Many cities are trying to solve these problems. In Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) they are trying to solve the problems of poor quality housing in favelas through self-help schemes and site and service schemes.

Both the rural and urban areas have positive and negative effects.


The positive effects are:

  1. New workers that can fill low paid jobs like factory and construction work
  2. The government has better control over the population if they leave in urban areas. They may join the formal economy and pay taxes
  3. It is easier for the government to provide services like schools and hospitals
  4. Migrants may become better educated and reduce birth rates and population growth.

The negative effects include:

  1. Increased congestion
  2. Causes urban sprawl as informal housing is built
  3. Increased pollution, especially water and air because of traffic and waste
  4. Pressure on schools and hospitals
  5. Higher unemployment
  6. Pressure on electricity and water supply
  7. Possible crime and certainly growth in informal economy as people don’t have jobs


Positive effects:

  1. Reduces unemployment rate
  2. Reduces overcrowding in schools and hospitals
  3. Remittances maybe sent back to families
  4. Reduced pressure on limited electricity and water supply

Negative effects are:

  1. Increases dependency ratio, because young and old are often left behind.
  2. There maybe a shortage of workers, especially during the harvest season.
  3. Families may become separated as young adults migrate.
Internal migration Brazil - Sao Paulo (Slideshare)

Internal migration Brazil – Sao Paulo (Slideshare)


Internal migration – China


Describe the pattern of inter-provincial migration within China (use the map below)




Handout – The impacts of internal migration (Read the pages and enter the information into the grid)


Refugee – a person fleeing their home country in order to escape danger.

Asylum seekers – people who seek refugee status in another country.

Refugees are an example of forced migration. A refugee is someone who has fled their normal country of residence, often for fear of persecution. For many refugee a lack of civil liberties in their home country has led to political repression or persecution, and forced them to migrate across an international border.

Push factors – intolerance, environmental deterioration, state persecution, natural disasters and wars.

Refugees and migration – their journeys

Case studies – migration


The wars and unrest in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan have caused mass displacement of people involving the migration of anything up to 2 – 4 million refugees.

Case Study

Refugees of Iraq click on the link

• Iraq has seen a flow of refugees from its borders over the last 100 years. However, since the American led invasion of 2003, the number of refugees leaving Iraq and also the number of IDPs within Iraq has increased rapidly. It is estimated that since 2003, about 2.2 million Iraqi’s have left the country and a further 2.5million have fled internally. • Most refugees have escaped the ongoing fighting between coalition troops and remnants of Saddam Hussein’s government, but others are escaping terrorist attacks (Al Qaeda has infiltrated Iraq) and political, ethnic and religious persecution. • The majority of refugees have moved to neighbouring countries (Syria and Jordan), where there are similarities in language and religion and they are easily accessible by land. • Refugees can encounter many problems including; no job, no housing, no money, shortage of food and water, no clothes and a lack of safety. Children are also taken out of school and many people can suffer from psychological and physical problems living in temporary conditions


Gender inequality

Examine gender inequalities in culture, status,education, birth ratios, health, employment,life expectancy, family size, migration, legal rights and land tenure.

Gender inequality

Gender inequality

Gender Inequality Index

Read the two articles from the BBC

Mid-East lags as gender gap “narrows”

Where’s the best place to be a woman?



“We have seen what these women can do. No one should underestimate the strength of these women.”

The above quote comes from the BOMA project (click on the link below)

BOMA project

The BOMA Project is a U.S. nonprofit and Kenyan NGO with a proven track record, measurable results and a transformative approach to alleviating poverty and building resiliency in the drylands of Africa.

Our Rural Entrepreneur Access Project (REAP) replaces aid with sustainable income and helps women to “graduate” from extreme poverty by giving them the tools they need to start small businesses in their communities. With this new and diversified source of income, they can feed their families, pay for school fees and medical care, accumulate savings for long-term stability, survive drought and adapt to a changing climate. (from the site above – BOMA project).

gender and inequality MDG3

United Nations – gender equality –

Millennium Development Goal 3 (watch the video below which deals with MDG 3)


In many countries, tradition and culture pose obstacles to women’s economic development, so understanding their impact is a key to effective development policies.

Most women wont feel confident enough to run for jobs ranking high in governments and big TNC’s as they feel they wont make it as the role is generally done by a male.

Education, especially for girls, has social and economic benefits for society as a whole.

Educated women have more economic opportunities and engage more fully in public life.

Women who are educated tend to have fewer and healthier children, and they are more likely to attend school.

Education also increases the ability of women and girls to go and find jobs and make themselves employable.

Culture & Status

Expectations about attributes and behaviours appropriate to women or men and about the relations between women and men – in other words, gender – are shaped by culture. Gender identities and gender relations are critical aspects of culture because they shape the way daily life is lived in the family, but also in the wider community and the workplace.
There have been differences in men and women roles since ancient times. At the start they were mostly due to the greater physical strength of men and in general the physical differences of the two. In time the role of the ‘male’ leading figure managed to establish itself, both in the family unit and in wider perspectives (such as politics). This situation is slowly starting to balance out nowadays in most MEDCs, but in many LEDCs and developing countries there is still a great difference between men and women.
Religion and traditions play a main role when comparing the status of men and women. For example in many Middle Easter countries, such as Saudi Arabia, there are strong religious impositions on women. Further more, the traditions a country has, it has had for centuries, and what may seem unacceptable to a country may seem normal to another.

Make notes on the most extreme cases of gender inequality. Remember to give examples of the – 10 extreme examples of gender inequality and gender inequality around the world.


Girls not in secondary school

Girls not in secondary school

In developing countries women usually receive less education than men, this leads to women experiencing far less employment opportunities;

If gender inequality rights would be considered in each country then education, employment and health care would influence a developing country’s growth, e.g. if Sub Saharan Africa could get equal schooling, child mortality would decrease by 25%;

Many girls in many countries have a great potential, however due to the lack of women education investment, they don’t achieve their expectations;

A country would benefit economically because both men and women would have equal economic opportunities, therefore increasing the national GDP;

Of the 132 million children that don’t attend schools worldwide. 64% are girls;

Girls lack of access o education isn’t always related to scarcity of places in schools, it also includes attitudes and biases in communities and families

In spite of all this, In MEDCs where the majority of women have access to all professions, due to stereotypes, they decide to opt for female occupations.

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In general, women earn substantially less than their male counterparts. This does not apply just to LEDCs but also to MEDCs.

In the UK, women earn on average less than 80 % of men’s average annual salary. This is for the same work and time as men.

44 top firms who employ almost a quarter of finance sector workers were questioned. The sector’s age profile is 25-39, when women have childcare responsibilities.

Women earned on average £2,875 annually in contrast to £14,554 for men.

Women’s education in Middle Eastern countries is rising rapidly but these women do not work for salaries.

It is estimated that household incomes could rise by 25% if women in these countries worked.

In middle income countries like Mexico, women with high levels of education are largely unemployed.

This leads to a negative impact on growth as the economy does not use half its resources.

In Mexico, women earn 15-20 % less than men.

By introducing schemes to help women in the workplace, the economy grows as more women are able to work.

In Mexico, the National Institute for Women developed a programme to certify companies with gender equal policies and practices.

Women are also encouraged to work by the introduction of family-orientated work schemes such as part-time or job-sharing.


In China, young men are preferred over women to work in cities.

In poor countries such as Ethiopia, women have less chances to migrate because they are less looked after e.g. not going to schools.

In strict Muslim societies such as Saudi Arabia and Yemen, women are less likely to migrate than men.

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–>Birth ratio & Family size

In Asian country, boy babies birth ratio is higher than girl babies.

In country which allow marry more than one time, they have big family because of their husband got other wives if their wife can’t have boy baby.

In India, abortion is very serious problem. They are having abortion when realise they have girl baby before giving a birth to her.

Read the article below

Gender inequality na0708_womenworld

Gender inequality

girl effect agriculture


Build up a profile of a girl called Malala and her link to gender inequality in education in Pakistan.


Create a person profile for Malala using the information form the link below:

Malala information

Pakistani educator Ziauddin Yousafzai reminds the world of a simple truth that many don’t want to hear: Women and men deserve equal opportunities for education, autonomy, an independent identity. He tells stories from his own life and the life of his daughter, Malala, who was shot by the Taliban in 2012 simply for daring to go to school. “Why is my daughter so strong?” Yousafzai asks. “Because I didn’t clip her wings.”

The girl who was shot for going to school

Build up a case study of the gender inequality that exists in Pakistan in terms of girls education.

  • Who did that?
  • What happened?
  • Where did it take place?
  • When did it take place?
  • Why did that happen?

Hans Rosling – watch the YouTube clip – The magic washing machine – and take notes whilst you watch it.

Once you have taken notes fill in the worksheet below and email it me:

IB Population change gender the_magic_washing_machine

    • BBC – Gender gap mid east

      Task 2 – Using the article above complete the following questions:

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