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According to Caldwell & Schindlmayr (2006), the demographic transition is what is used to lay out the transition from high birth and death rates to low birth and death rates, when a country develops from a pre-industrial to an industrialized economy. The demographic transition theory is founded on an interpretation of demographic history formulated in the year 1929 by Warren Thompson. Thompson discovered transitions in birth and death rates within the industrialized societies over a long period of time specifically a period two hundred years. A number of developed countries belong to phase 3 or 4 of the demographic transition model while a number of developing countries belong to phase 2 or 3. The main exceptions are those poor countries, generally in sub-Saharan Africa and a number of Middle Eastern nations, which are affected by civil strife or government policy, particularly Palestinian Territories, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen.
In phase I which comprise of pre-industrial society, birth rates and death rates were both high and fluctuated speedily due to natural events, for instance disease and drought, to generate a moderately steady and young population. During this time, contraception and family planning were practically absent; thus, birth rates were basically only determined by the ability of women to give birth. In the countries that belong to the phase 1, it became compulsory for the children to contribute to the wealth of the household just from an early age. This is when the total cost of bringing up children hardly surpassed their contribution to the household. The population is basically influenced by the food supply in that any fluctuations in food supply translate straight into population fluctuations (Chesnais, 1992).
Phase II constitute of a fall in death rates and an increase in population. Countries which belong to this stage include Afghanistan, Yemen, Palestinian territories, Laos and Bhutan as well as most of Sub-Saharan Africa except Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Ghana and Kenya, since they have started to move into phase 3. The decreased death rate is as a result of improvements in the food production which is brought about by increased yields in agricultural practices as well as improved transportation which prevented death as a result of starvation and inadequate water. Countries belonging to this phase have also adopted improved public health which has reduced mortality, especially in childhood (Caldwell & Schindlmayr, 2006).
According to Chesnais (1992), phase III constitutes of a stable population due to a diminution in the birth rate. In this phase death rates are also low because of improved health care services as well as improved methods of food production hence sufficient food for the population. Continued diminution in childhood death in rural areas indicates that it reached a point when most parents realized that there was no need for so many children to be born to be assured of a comfortable old age. Due to urbanization, lifestyle as well increases the cost of children to a family hence no need to have very many of them. Compulsory education in this case makes people to bear few children for their capability to educate them. Female literacy and employment are seen increasing hence lowering the innocent acceptance of childbirth and maternity as measures of women status. Advances in contraceptive technology are now a most important factor.
Countries that belong to Phase IV constitute of populations with low birth and death rates, hence total population remains stably high. A number of theorists consider that there are only four phases and that the population of any given country will stay at this phase. The Demographic Transition Model (DTM) is a mere suggestion regarding the future population phases of a country and it is not a prediction (Caldwell & Schindlmayr, 2006).
So that to attain the phase IV of demographic transition any given country should embark on improved agricultural practices which will lead to availability of food for improved standard of living. The heath care services should also be improved such that most qualified health practitioners should be available, adequate medicine as well as improved transport infrastructure. These will contribute to decline in infectious disease mortality. Improved contraception methods should also be used so that the fertility rate will be reduced, and this in turn will reduce birth rate (Nebel & Wright, 1993).
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