lec042810 - Sociology 101 Wednesday Professor Deborah Carr...

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Sociology 101 Wednesday April 28, 2010 Professor Deborah Carr Topic: Population and Demography (cont’d) and Aging IV. Predicting Future Population? Optimistic vs. Pessimistic Perspectives (cont’d) A. Pessimistic view: Malthusian’ view 7. Is there any validity to this argument? a. Rapid population growth in poor developing nations IS a potential problem today. World population grows at roughly 1.4 percent per year. At the current growth rate, the world population of about 6 billion will double within 51 years, and will exceed 8 billion by 2025. There are stark differences by nation. i. These data support Malthusian’ fear of a rapidly growing planet. BUT the causal ordering is reversed, in the eyes of most population experts. It will take 124 years for the North American population (305 million) to double. In contrast, the 800 million populations in Africa will double in 29 years; and the population of 3.7 billion in Asia will take 48 years to double. b. Rapid population growth is both a cause and consequence of poverty. Poverty encourages population growth. Large families are often necessary for the poor because the poor cannot count on support from the economy. Poverty tends to increase infant mortality, thus people have more babies as a preventive move. Large families are also a consequence of lack of education – also a consequence of poverty. The single most powerful influence on reducing fertility is maternal education. c. Why does the population continue to grow in developing nations, given that organizations like the United Nations, International Monetary Fund and World Bank support population control programs and make available free birth control i. Women’s relative lack of power in family decision-making ii. Lack of understanding of the biology of reproduction. iii. A desire for sons. In many countries, inheritance is left for male children only. Male children are the social security for the elderly. iv. Notions of masculinity. Having many babies is a sign of male virility. v. Religious beliefs. God – not technology – should control reproductive behavior. B. Optimistic Perspectives? 1. Demographic transition theory a. Economic development will slow population growth. If people feel economically secure, then the population growth will slow. Through industrialization, people obtain a better standard of living, and this higher standard of living encourages reduced fertility. Increases in educational attainment bring better understanding of reproductive control. As more children are in school, they are a “cost” to their parents, whereas in agricultural societies children are a source of labor and possibly income. i. Stages of demographic transition theory. In periods of pre-modernization, death rates are high thus fertility is high. People have babies to make up for those that may likely die as infants or children. After medical and health innovations are developed that combat high death
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lec042810 - Sociology 101 Wednesday Professor Deborah Carr...

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