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Population Policy and the Demographic Transition: Performance, Prospects, and Options

  • Social Sciences


?????????????????????????????????? ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ????????????????????? ???????? ????????????????? ???? ???????????????? ????????????????????? ??? ????????????????????????????????? ????? 1 Population Policy and the Demographic Transition: Performance, Prospects, and Options 1 Paul Demeny 2 In countries that comprise the majority of the world’s population, the demographic transition has now reached its putative endpoint: a state marked by low fertility and low mortality. It is expected that the rest of the world’s countries are headed in the same direction, prompted by modernizing social change and nudged also by looming physical constraints. What were the roles of deliberate policies, and in particular of policies aimed at affecting fertility, in prompting this momentous transformation? What lessons might that experience hold for shaping population policies in the contemporary world, and shaping them in the future, after transitions have been completed? The discussion below seeks to give at least some partial answers to these questions. Before the transition: Population change without policy as a driver In traditional societies, fertility and mortality are high. In modern societies, fertility and mortality are low. In between, there is demographic transition. Few demographers would be satisfied with this lapidary definition of the transition, yet it states the key determining parameters of that process. But it does not explain its driving forces and of course does not inform about the particular demographic characteristics of the post-transition state. The pre-transition era’s essential demographic characteristics are reasonably well known. Although estimates of population numbers before about 1700 lack accuracy, it is certain that for large population aggregates over long periods of time—such as the preceding one or two

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