Population: the long view.

Notestein FW
In: Schultz TW, ed. Food for the world. Chicago, Illinois, University of Chicago Press, 1945. 36-57.

In this discussion of population, attention is directed to the course of past developments and the processes of past change, 3 types of population change, and some hypothetical population trends for the future. The world's population has increased 4-fold since the middle of the 17th century. Population, which has more than doubled since 1800, continues its rapid growth. All sections of the world have participated in the population growth, but it has been particularly marked in Europe and Europe overseas, especially prior to 1900. Since 1900 the rate of growth has tended to decline in Europe, North America, and Oceania, but there has been some acceleration of the rate of increase in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. Growth came from the decline of mortality. In addition, fertility was much less responsive to the process of modernization. Populations in which fertility has fallen below the replacement level or those in which it is near and rapidly approaching that level may be characterized as the 1st demographic type--"incipient decline." Other populations, in an earlier stage of demographic evolution, have rapid growth and high birth and death rates, but the decline of the birthrate is well established. These are characterized as in the stage of "transitional growth." Those populations that have scarcely begun their demographic transition are characterized as countries with "high growth potential." The most realistic view of the prospect for future population change can be made by considering the position of each of these demographic types.

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