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  1. 1

    A fresh look at the threshold hypothesis of fertility change in ESCAP region

    Pathak KB; Murthy PK

    Demography India. 1984 Jan-Dec; 13(1-2):153-67.

    The threshold hypothesis shares with transition theory the basic assumption that a decline in fertility is interrelated with a decline in mortality and change in the social, economic, and cultural conditions of the population. However, threshold theory fails to formulate a causal chain between fertility and the other variables and its application at the aggregate country level is limited by intracountry heterogeneity in cultural and social variables. Problematic is the fixing of the timing for a country of a decline in fertility to be inferred from the fact that some indicators of development have reached the threshold zone while others have not. This paper attempts to develope a combined index for socioeconomic development on the basis of data from 12 countries of the ESCAP region of South East Asia. Variables included were life expectancy at birth, infant mortality rate, adult female literacy, percentages of females economically active, GNP per capita, and percentage urban population. In 1970, 3 of the countries analyzed had a crude birth rate below 25, 6 countries had a rate between 25-40, and 3 had a rate above 40. The lowest value of the index recorded for countries of low fertility (crude birth rate below 25) and the highest value recorded for countries of high fertility (above 40) are taken as the threshold zones for the overall index. The number of countries in the threshold range increased from 5 in 1970 to 8 in 1975. With the increase in the index value, a reduction in the fertility level was noted. In contrast, where socioeconomic development was slow, fertility showed little change. Policy makers could use this system to assess which indicator could be pushed through to raise the overall index of development so as to effect a decline in fertility.
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  2. 2

    Demographic change in Europe and its health and social implications: an overview.

    Lopez AD

    In: Demographic trends in the European region: health and social implications, edited by Alan D. Lopez and Robert L. Cliquet. Copenhagen, World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe, 1984. 5-67. (WHO Regional Publications, European Series No. 17; Project RMI/79/P05)

    This chapter presents an overview of recent demographic trends in Europe and discusses the implications of these trends for health and social services. The discussion is based on reports received from 15 of the 33 Member States of the European Region of the World Health Organization. The components of demographic change analyzed included population growth and structure, family formation, fertility, mortality, and population movement. Increases in the number and proportion of the elderly were noted and the traditional excess of births over deaths is expected to change in future years. Population aging is expected to continue to be a principal concern for the social services sector. The increasing emphasis on caring for rather than attempting to cure chronic illnesses among the aged suggests a need for more nursing homes and home-help services. Anticipation of future morbidity and mortality patterns implies a need to focus on specific risk groups, e.g. migrants, adult males, and those from lower socioeconomic groupings. With regard to fertility, adolescent sexual activity and the low use levels of contraception among teenagers comprise areas where greater service provision is necessary. In addition, there is a need for more vocational training for women, improved child care facilities, and full-time employment opportunities better suited to the needs of workers with dependent children. As a result of smaller families, increased divorce rates, the discrepancy between male and female survival, and greater regional mobility, markedly higher numbers of single individuals can be expected. Rapidly evolving changes in family formation, social norms, and underlying demographic trends will continue to alter European societies in the years ahead. The interrelationships between health and demographic phenomenon must continue to be probed to form a basis for future health and social planning.
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  3. 3
    Peer Reviewed

    A perspective on long-term population growth.

    Demeny PG

    Population and Development Review. 1984 Mar; 10(1):103-26.

    This paper presents some of the results of projections prepared by the World Bank in 1983 for all the world's countries. The projections (presented against a background of recent demographic trends as estimated by the United Nations) trace the approach of each individual country to a stationary state. Implications of the underlying fertility and mortality assumptions are shown mainly in terms of time trends of total population to the year 2100, annual rates of growth, and absolute annual increments. These indices are shown for the largest individual countries, for world regions, and for country groupings according to economic criteria. The detailed predictive performance of such projections is likely to be poor but the projections indicate orders of magnitude characterizing certain aggregate demographic phenomena whose occurrence is highly probable and set clearly interpretable reference points useful in discussing contemporary issues of policy. (author's)
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  4. 4

    Action by the United Nations to implement the recommendations of the World Population Conference, 1974: monitoring of population trends and policies.

    United Nations. Economic and Social Council. Population Commission

    New York, New York, United Nations, 1984 Dec. 10. 15 p. (E/CN.9/1984/2/Add.1)

    Pursuant to the recommendation of the World Population Plan of Action adopted in 1974, which was reaffirmed by the International Conference on Population in 1984, the United Nations has been undertaking a biennial review of population trends and policies. At the 22nd session of the Population Commission, held in January 1984, the Commission requested the Secretary-General to prepare an addendum to the concise report on monitoring of population trends and policies for the 23rd session, bearing in mind the relatively short time span since the preparation of the last such report. The purpose of the present document is to provide the Population Commission with such information to facilitate its deliberation on the agenda item. Analyses show that the gradual slow-down of global population growth is still holding with the present rate estimated at 1.65%/year, down from 2% during the 1960s. Declines have occurred in both the developed and the developing countries. Regional diversity of population trends have been so large that an overall global assessment seems almost irrelevant for policy consideration at national levels. The future population growth rate is expected to decline slower than it did in the past 15 years unless population policies change significantly. During the 1980-85 period the working age population (15-64 years) in the developing countries is estimated to have increased, on the average, at an annual rate of 2.8%, the elderly population (60 and over) at 3% and women in the reproductive ages (15-49 years) at 2.9%. The most urgent problem for many developing countries is perhaps the continuing very rapid increase of the working age population. The aging of the population, which bears significant policy implications, is among the most salient features of population change in the world, except for Africa. Fertility rates in most developed countries continue to fluctuate at low levels. No current data on developing country rates are available. An overall improvement in mortality in most countries is noted. A high rate of urban population growth in developing countries is a tremendous problem facing these countries. International migration, social and economic implications, demographic perceptions and governmental policies are summarized. National sovereignty, human rights, cultural values and peace are stressed as important factors in population policies. Women's status is discussed as playing a role in population change.
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  5. 5

    Concise report on the world population situation in 1983: conditions, trends, prospects, policies.

    United Nations. Department of International Economic and Social Affairs. Population Division

    New York, United Nations, 1984. 108 p. (Population Studies, No. 85; ST/ESA/SER.A/85)

    The 3 parts of this report on world, regional, and international developments in the field of population, present a summary of levels, trends, and prospects in mortality, fertility, nuptiality, international migration, population growth, age structure, and urbanization; consider some important issues in the interrelationships between economic, social, and demographic variables, with special emphasis on the problems of food supply and employment; and deal with the policies and perceptions of governments on population matters. The 1st part of the report is based primarily on data compiled by the UN Population Division. The 2nd part is based on information provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO), as well as that compiled by the Population Division. The final part is based on information in the policy data bank maintained by the Population Division, including responses to the UN Fourth Population Inquiry among Governments. In 1975-80 the expectation of life at birth for the world was estimated at 57.2 years for both sexes combined. The corresponding figure for the developed and developing regions was 71.9 and 54.7 years, respectively. In 1975-80 the birthrate of the world was estimated at 28.9/1000 population and the gross reproduction rate was 1.91. These figures reflect considerable decline from the levels attained 25 years earlier: a crude birthrate of 38/1000 population and a gross reproduction rate of 2.44. World population grew from 2504 million in 1950 to 4453 million in 1983. Of the additional 1949 million people, 1645 million, or 84%, accrued to the less developed countries. The impact of population growth on economic development and social progress is not well understood. The governments of some developing countries still officially welcome a rapid rate of population growth. Many other governments see cause for concern in the need for the large increases in social expenditure, particularly for health and education, that accompany a young and growing population. Planners are concerned that the rapidly growing supply of labor, compounded by a trend toward rapid urbanization, may exceed that which the job market is likely to absorb. In the developed regions the prospect of a declining, or an aging, population is also cause for apprehension. There is a dearth of knowledge as to the impact of policies for altering the consequences of these trends. Many policies have been tried, in both developed and developing countries, to influence population growth and distribution, but the consequences of such policies have been difficult to assess. Frequently this problem arises because their primary objectives are not demographic in character.
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  6. 6

    Current projection assumptions for the United Nations demographic projections.

    United Nations. Secretariat

    In: United Nations. Department of International Economic and Social Affairs. Population projections: methodology of the United Nations. New York, N.Y., United Nations, 1984. 25-32. (Population Studies, No. 83; ST/ESA/SER.A/83)

    The United Nations population projection assumptions are statements of expected trends in fertility, mortality and migration in the world. In every assessment, each of the 3 demographic components is unambiguously specified at the national level for each of the 5-year periods during the population interval (1950-2025). The approach used by the UN in preparing its projections is briefly summarized. At the general level, the analyst relies on available information of past events and current demographic levels and differentials, the demographic trends and experiences of similar countries in the region and his or her informed interpretations of what is likely to occur in the future. One common feature of the UN population projections that guides the analyst in preparing the assumptions is the general conceptual scheme of the demographic transition, or the socio-economic threshold hypothesis of fertility decline. As can be observed from the projected demographic trends reported in this paper, population stabilization at low levels of fertility, mortality and migration is the expected future for each country, with the only important differences being the timing of the stabilization. Irrespective of whether the country is developed, with very low fertility (for example, the Federal Republic of Germany or Japan), or developing with high fertility (such as, Bangladesh or the Syrian Arab Republic), it is assumed that fertility will arrive at replacement levels in the not too distant future. Serious alternative theories or hypotheses of population change, such as declining population size, are not only very few in number, but they tend to be somewhat more unacceptable and inconvenient to the demographic analyst as well as being considerably less palatable to goverments.
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