Population growth in LEDCs and MEDCs

Most low economically developed countries have a high rate of population growth. Most LEDCs are in the second or third stage of the demographic transition model. This implies that the death rates in these countries have been falling due to improving health care systems. China is the best example where shows the problems when the management of population is not right.

What causes population growth in these countries?

  • Less awareness about sex and contraception facilities and limited access to family planning services leads to an unwanted rise in the population. Also, there is a psychological unacceptance associated with contraceptive methods that come from social and cultural non-acceptability. Religion also plays an important part in this issue of non-acceptance.
  • People tend to produce more children so that there can be more earning hands in the family when they grow, but what they fail to understand is that it also come with the responsibility of providing proper food, shelter and basic facilities that are necessary for survival. Also, it puts unnecessary pressure on the environment.
  • Children also work as a caretaker for other young children in the family and the elderly family members. Most of the time girl child takes care of all the family members and do household chores while the adult members go out to work.
  • High infant mortality rate implies that women need to have more children in order to ensure that some of them will survive.
  • Also, some cultures and traditions are in favour of having large families.

Low economic development countries have a high population growth with the young generation that is dependent. Although the government in these countries is continuously working to control the birth rate there is still a long way to go and it is hard to provide for a population that outnumbers the resources available.

Youthful population

The high birth rates in low economically developed countries lead to population which younger and come under the age of 15. It comes with country-specific problems.

The problems can be:

  • The need for proper child health care such as vaccination.
  • Education of young people is also important. It is necessary to provide schools and teachers which require resources like teachers, infrastructure etc. All this cost a lot to the country.
  • The reproductive age people will be more when the young population reach adolescence and this will further put even more pressure and increase the population.

China: Case Study

At the end of the 1970s, a number of birth controlling measures were introduced by the Chinese government to slow down the pace of the increasing population. They adopted one child policy according to which one couple was allowed to have only one child. Around the 1950s, the population of China was increasing by 1.9 per cent every year. Previous governments in China had encouraged people to produced children so that they can increase the workforce of the country. But, soon the government realised that the plan had backfired and the current rates of the population will make the population unsustainable.

Population change in MEDCs

Most of the medium economically developed countries are in stage four fo the demographic transition model. The population is high but it is not growing. Some of these countries are in Stage 5 which signifies that the low birth rate which has become lower than the death rate. Most of these countries have a very less rate of natural increase.

The average life expectancy of the people in these countries is increasing due to –

  • Increase in recreational and leisure time
  • Improvement in health facilities
  • Improvement in living standards
  • Awareness about the importance of a balanced diet and exercise

In medium economically developed countries, birth rates are increasingly low because people choose to have nuclear and smaller families. Access to contraception and family planning is easy.

An ageing population

  • When people tend to live a long life, the composition of aged people in the population increases.
  • Many medium economy developed countries are going through the stage where there is a significant rise in the number of old age people as a proportion of the population.
  • The fall in the birth rates means small families. This means the number of children who are dependants is continuously falling and the number of old people who are also dependants is increasing.
  • It directly affects the economy of the country as there are fewer people who come under the active workforce.
  • To balance this, some of these countries have adopted a pro-natalist policy. According to this policy, they encourage people to have more children by giving them benefits like proper access to childcare and maternity leave.

France – Case Study

Many regions of Europe have a low fertility rate. The reasons for this are:

  • Education – The awareness about the availability of contraception and the ill effects that an unplanned pregnancy on their career.
  • Women and their jobs – Many women choose their job rather instead of starting a family at an early age.
  • Later marriages
  • Benefits given by states – the old age care facilities are good enough to take care of old people.

The main concern of the country is the women who are willing to have children. The concern of the government was that the population will not be able to cope up and replace over time.

The policies that France adopted to encourage their people to raise more children are:

  • The government provided with an incentive of 675 euros per month for mothers so that they can skip going to work.
  • The government issue ‘Carte Famille Nombreuse’, it is a big family card which gives subsidies on train fares.
  • Families with more children have to pay fewer taxes.
  • The country also provides for 3 years parental leave which is beneficial for parents.
  • Children under the age of three are given subsidised daycare with full-time school fees to be paid by the government when there are more than three children in a family.
  • As a result, mothers are choosing to have more children without losing their jobs. The fertility rate of France is highest among European countries.

How the UK is coping with the ageing population?

Problems with the UK

There is a decrease in people who are economically active due to a rise in the population of old age people.

Solutions to the problem

  • Promotion of post-retirement plans like pensions and investments.
  • The rising age of retirement.
  • Amenities such as care workers and nursing homes are required more than even school and children facilities as the old age population is more than the young population.
  • Skilled and unskilled migrants are encouraged for the economic development of the country.

Features of the local population

The composition and structure of the population vary even within the country. In England, after every 10 years, a population census is conducted, that help in showing the population change over a period in different regions of the country. Councils are also responsible to collect data.

Retirement migration

Some areas in England attract more people in retirement age. Devon, Cornwall and Dorset are three regions which pull retirement migrants. The number of old age people is more than the national average.