Lesson 1: The demographic transition
Before doing anything, click through the nine countries provided (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Nigeria, USA) and observe the shapes of each country’s population structure (graph on right showing the population by age group) in the year 2015.
Are there any differences or similarities between the countries population structures? What are they?
Run the simulator to 2050 for each of the nine countries. While the simulation runs for each country, make note of how the population structure is changing. After each simulation, copy the resulting population structure graph into this document and record their population growth rates at the end of the simulated period in the data table below.
[INSERT POPULATION STRUCTURE GRAPHS AT 2050 FOR EACH COUNTRY HERE FROM SCREEN CAPTURE]
Population Growth 2015
Population Growth 2050
Relative place in Transition
Number the countries by growth rate from highest (earliest in the demographic transition) to lowest (farthest along the transition). Then answer the following questions.
How do you suppose living conditions differ between the country furthest along in the demographic transition compared to the country earliest in the transition? How would living conditions in these two countries affect both birth and death rates?
Think of three social factors that contribute to lower birth rates in the countries farther along this transition. How might these social conditions be encouraged to emerge in less developed countries?
In general, how do the concepts of “early, middle, and late demographic transition” map to the concepts of “first, second, and third world countries”?
Look at the graphs of the population structures from 2050 you inserted above.
How does the shape of the population pyramid differ from most developed to least developed country?
People in the “prime of life” (aged roughly 20-60, depending on local conditions), support the populations younger and older than themselves. How might this impact the quality of life in countries with the various shapes of demographic pyramids?
Lesson 2: Population Momentum
Select Nigeria from the Country pull down menu, run the simulator with the default settings to 2050, and record the results in your Data Table below. Predict what will happen when the average age of childbearing women is increased by 5 years (fewer teenage pregnancies) and record your prediction (rise, fall, similar). Run the simulator, increasing the childbearing age by 5 years, then 15 years, and then decreasing it by 5 years, and record your results. Use the Reset button at the bottom of the dialog to restore the original rates between each different treatment.
[NOTE: in order to change the age of childbearing women, click on the box showing the birth rate to edit, a window will open that will allow you to change the birth rates from their default value]
Lesson 2: Step 1
+ 5 years
What if Nigeria suddenly had the same birth and death rates as the USA? In the simulator, click on the birth rates button, choose “USA” from the pull-down menu, and click “Apply.” Do the same for death rates. Then, run the simulator to year 2150 (hit the Run button three times). While doing so, watch the shape of the population pyramid (the graph by age group). Provide a screen shot of the pyramid shape at the end of the 150 years:
[INSERT POPULATION STRUCTURE GRAPH AT 2150 FOR NIGERIA HERE FROM SCREEN CAPTURE]
How and why does the pyramid shape change?
How does an increase or decrease in the average childbearing age group change the population? Why do “first world” countries tend to have older childbearing women than “third world” countries?
Now repeat this process from step 1 for Japan, record the original, predicted and simulated birth and grow rates below.
Lesson 2: Step 2
+ 5 years
Now, set the birth and death rates to those of the USA and run until 2150 as before. Provide a screen shot of the final population structure pyramid.
[INSERT POPULATION STRUCTURE GRAPH AT 2150 FOR JAPAN HERE FROM SCREEN CAPTURE]
Did the pattern of population change match your prediction? If not, why not?
Compare the final population pyramid for Japan to the one you sketched of Nigeria. How do they compare, and why are they similar or different?
How are Japan’s numbers different from Nigeria’s? What do you think accounts for the difference?
Many Western European countries are giving monetary incentives to employees who have multiple children. Why would they do this? How would a baby boom change Japan’s demographics?
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