January 09, 2004

One of the Facts of the Millennium

Ronald Lee (2003), "The Demographic Transition: Three Centuries of Fundamental Change," Journal of Economic Perspectives 17:4 (Fall), pp. 167-190.

In 1800, women spent about 70 percent of their adult life bearing and rearing young children, but that fraction has decreased in many parts of the world to only about 14 percent...


Before the start of the demographic transition, life was short, births were many, growth was slow, and the population was young. During the transition, first mortality and then fertility declined, causing population growth rates first to accelerate and then to slow again, moving toward low fertility, long life, and an old population. The transition began around 1800 with declining mortality in Europe. It has now spread to all parts of the world and is projected to be completed by 2100.

This global demogaphic transition has brought momentous changes, reshaping the economic and demographic life cycles of individuals and restructuring populations. Since 1800, global population szie has already increased by a factor of six and by 2100 will have risen by a factor of ten. There will then be 50 times as many elderly, but only 5 times as many children.... The length of life, which has already more than doubled, will have tripled, while births per woman will have dropped from six to two...

Posted by DeLong at January 9, 2004 06:10 AM | TrackBack

Comments

That last paragraph seems to assume that the whole world is more or less on the same track. Well, I suppose we can hope so.

Posted by: SqueakyRat on January 9, 2004 09:39 AM

____

how does the world's population continue to significantly increase this century in the face of major climate change (global warming) and end of cheap fossil fuel? both are expected to have major impact on agriculture.

Posted by: selise on January 9, 2004 10:13 AM

____

Interesting! Sorry though to have met yet another example of wishful thinking about "births per woman" - it stops declining not far from replacement level. The sad part is that you never see anything to motivate this "two" children hypothesis. And in Europe and Japan we have already been well below replacement for several decades. Optimists never die?

>>The length of life, which has already more than doubled, will have tripled, while births per woman will have dropped from six to two...>>

Posted by: Mats on January 9, 2004 10:59 AM

____

I have bad news for people who think "no more public funds for education":

I've just realized that it ain't just the higher education that needs more investment.

You want two births per woman? Invest in a solid pre-school education system as well.

You want jobs? Expand education and research sector.

I don't know why Paul Krugman won't say it, but he should be able to see that manuf productivity is following suit after agro (wherein one percent of population feeds the entire nation) and soon service sector would be following the same trend. Ultimately, one percent of population is going to produce all food, shelter, manuf goods and infrastrcuture for every body (well look OK three percent, who am I to break your heart now?)

What on earth is every body else going to be doing!?

The only answer is; science and technology, more and more and more of it.

A nation hundred percent college grads and maybe 50 percent with grad education.

Mark my words:

Productivity accumulation since the New Deal has reached a level that makes imperative a qualitative change in economic, social, and political structures of advanced industrial societies.

"Qualitative change" is the operative expression here.

And if they flunk that transformation, then China will post a flag in Central Anatolia in about three or four decades, as did Tamerlang in 15th century.


Posted by: Bulent Sayin on January 9, 2004 11:55 AM

____

One factor not mentioned here is the huge sex-ratio imbalance in certain countries, esp China and India. It is just unprecedented to have so many more males than females. It will prob impact fertility, but also many other things.

Posted by: camille roy on January 9, 2004 12:35 PM

____

Camille:
More abortions on female fetuses and even infanticide on baby-girls is indeed one of the most disgusting aspects of China and (as far as I know: even more) India getting so little press-coverage: the number of males exceed the number of females with millions; still I don't believe the effect on demography won't be very big. (or is this some indirect wish that it can not be THAT horrific?)

Posted by: FransGroenendijk on January 9, 2004 12:51 PM

____

Hmm. I am not familiar with any of that matter on sex-ratio imbalance. As far as I know it gets like 51 percent to 49 percent at worst and it is not too important. Is it?

Posted by: bulent on January 9, 2004 12:53 PM

____

"...More abortions on female fetuses and even infanticide on baby-girls..."

Yuk! I thought only the pre-Islamic Arab bedouins did that!

Posted by: bulent on January 9, 2004 02:40 PM

____

I've read that the sex imbalance is not as great among five-year-olds in China as it was among the newborns of five years ago. The article, which I am too lazy to find, implied that families wanted their admitted "one child" to be a son, but that villages (?) colluded in hiding about one daughter per family (?) for a while, until the authorities weren't officially counting.

Posted by: clew on January 9, 2004 06:33 PM

____

One of the strange things about the skewed sex ratio is that it implies tens of millions of men for whom no wife is available.

There are also statistics on less medical treatment and more malnutrition for females in India which show a startling impact on survival for females...

Anyway, this from http://www.actionaidindia.org/gender_work.html:

At the beginning of the 20th century it was 972 and as per the provincial census report of 2001, the female sex ratio stands at 933 for every 1000 males. What is alarming is the dramatic drop in the sex ratio of the girl child population in the 0-6 age group. The 2001 census shows a decline in the number of girls in the 0-6 years from 962 per 1000 boys in 1981 to 945 girls in 1991 and to 927 girls per 1000 boys in 2001.

* One of the important causes of sharp decline in sex ratio is the unregulated use of pre natal diagnostic technologies
* The existing state laws, policies and progammes fail to comprehensively address issues of girls and women’s survival.

Posted by: camille roy on January 9, 2004 07:18 PM

____

Bulent: consult the work of Amatrya Sen; he's very good on this. I remember reading an article of his on the Indian population with a title like "100 Million Missing Women."
Of course, he's good on lots of other things as well, which is why he got his Nobel.

Posted by: Jonathan Goldberg on January 9, 2004 07:53 PM

____

So, unfortunately my sentence in brackets -(or is this some indirect wish that it can not be THAT horrific?)- was right.

The utter realpolitiker in me however could still question if this disgusting practices influence the demografy in a way that has major economic influence.

Posted by: FransGroenendijk on January 10, 2004 05:46 AM

____

At the end of the Napoleonic Wars, France had three times the population of Britain: 30 million against 10 million. Today they are both approximately the same at about 58 million.

Does anyone know why this should be? Britain had much higher emigration than France, so if anything one would expect the gap to have widened.

Posted by: Matthew Bristow on January 11, 2004 04:51 AM

____

At the end of the Napoleonic Wars, France had three times the population of Britain: 30 million against 10 million. Today they are both approximately the same at about 58 million.

Does anyone know why this should be? Britain had much higher emigration than France, so if anything one would expect the gap to have widened.

Posted by: Matthew Bristow on January 11, 2004 04:52 AM

____

At the end of the Napoleonic Wars, France had three times the population of Britain: 30 million against 10 million. Today they are both approximately the same at about 58 million.

Does anyone know why this should be? Britain had much higher emigration than France, so if anything one would expect the gap to have widened.

Posted by: Matthew Bristow on January 11, 2004 04:52 AM

____

At the end of the Napoleonic Wars, France had three times the population of Britain: 30 million against 10 million. Today they are both approximately the same at about 58 million.

Does anyone know why this should be? Britain had much higher emigration than France, so if anything one would expect the gap to have widened.

Posted by: Matthew Bristow on January 11, 2004 04:53 AM

____

Sorry, seem to be repeating myself.
Computer creating problems.

Posted by: Matthew Bristow on January 11, 2004 04:55 AM

____

The demographic imbalance in China and India is indeed important, and I fear the consequences will not be pleasant.

The transition to single child urban families is also a disturbing dactor built into an already unstable structure. However, what I find most surprising is that more people haven't picked up on Mats point:

"The sad part is that you never see anything to motivate this "two" children hypothesis. And in Europe and Japan we have already been well below replacement for several decades."

The US numbers are really only hovering around the magic 2.1 due to the impact of extraordinarily heavy immigration, the other part of the transition will eventually arrive, and anyway since Europe and Japan form an important part of the global trade picture the US will feel the draft through the back door. This is the immediate and imminent problem.

Posted by: Edward Hugh on January 11, 2004 12:51 PM

____

Matthew, around the time of the Revolution the French family became essentially single son. The age of marriage during the XIX century was often greater than life expectancy at birth. And it was frequent that one did not marry until a pregnancy was started. One reason seems to be the need to get financial security. France lacked, then, of any significant colony. When Algeria was conquered in 1830 people were not interested in going there in droves.

DSW

Posted by: Antoni Jaume on January 11, 2004 01:54 PM

____

Thanks for that, Antoni. Something else you might know about: someone told me that the reason Frenchmen are shorter than other West Europeans is that anyone tall got chosen for the Imperial Guard, large numbers of whom got slaughtered, reducing the amount of tallness in the gene pool. Is there any evidence for this, or did someone just make it up?


Posted by: Matthew Bristow on January 11, 2004 11:59 PM

____

Matthew,
I don't think it is relevant. France had a lot of immigrants since then. I think that in this same blog it has been discussed that tallness was rather due to a meat-rich alimentation.

DSW

Posted by: Antoni Jaume on January 12, 2004 02:54 PM

____

Post a comment
















__