The Malthusian Theory of Populations stated in effect that if people became prosperous (especially poorer sections), population would increase. In other words. an increase in the incomes of the poor would lead to an increase in their birth rates and, through the operation of positive checks, result in high death rates so that the growth of population would down. But the process of economic development, which has transformed agrarian economies into urban, industrialized and market-oriented economies, has led to the emergence of a new theory, viz., the Theory of Demographic Transition. The course of population growth since Malthus has been different from what he predicted. This course is more correctly described by this new theory. The theory of demographic transition brings out the relation between population growth and economic development.
Before economic development, an economy is characterized, among other things, by predominance of agriculture, small-scale industries using inefficient and old techniques of production, lack of mobility and division of labor, lack of adequate means of transport and communication, low levels of output and average income, a high degree of rural self-sufficiency and the existence of subsistence economy. But the outstanding feature, from the population point of view, is the prevalence of high birth rates, which are stable: at a high level, and high mortality rates
The striking trend in population in a developing economy is that death rates start declining. This follows an improvement in the standard of living, the availability of medical facilities and awareness of the benefits of smaller families. The food supply is more abundant and regular; there is greater security of life and property owing to improvement in the law and order situation. The medical innovations and the development of vaccines, antibiotics and insecticides and the improvement in sanitary conditions have eradicated many dangerous and fatal diseases. The public health measures have increasingly become more effective. The cumulative effect of all these developments is to reduce substantially the incidence of disease and death. There is. thus, an increasingly pervasive pattern of rapid decline in death rates in all developing economies However, the birth rates prove to be more intractable. They are not so readily responsive to economic improvement. They are governed more by deeply established customs and institutions. Also, there
is a general consensus in favor of reducing death and disease but no such consensus supporting the desirability of small families. Thus, for a time, while the death rates have fallen, the birth rates continue to rule high so that during the stage of incipient economic development, population growth is accelerated rather than diminished. There is rather a population explosion. There is a time lag before the reduction of birth rates follows the reduction in death rates. This is what is happening in India at present.
Thus, the birth rates decline too and establish a parallel with the declining death rates so that the population growth slows down. Small families and low mortality become a typical pattern. It may. however, be borne in mind that some countries like Malaysia and Lanka have reduced their death rates merely through public he measures without abandoning their agrarian punctual. Also, mere disorganization not lead to red fertility. In India and Egypt. for example. the fertility between the rural and urban sectors is I. nonexistent.
Thus, ‘substantial economic improve be a sufficient condition for a decline in but it is not today a necessary condition. relation between economic development an is even less certain. Small economic changes • reduce birth rates. In many under-developed coon – social and economic changes that are now going are not likely to reduce fertility in the next two or three decades. The theory of demographic transition does not say what conditions are essential for a fertility decline and what precisely is the period during which this decline must take place.
Then as changes its form to more inter-deep overspecialization-oriented economy. death rate declines. It continues to collide Exactitude of better organisation and improving media knowledge and care. Somewhat later the birth rate begins to fall. The two rates follow a more or I parallel downward course with decline in birth rate lagging behind. Finally, as further reductions in the death rate become harder to attain, the birth rate again approaches equality with death rate and a more gradual rate of growth is .re-established, with, however, low risks of mortality and small family as the typical pattern. Mortality rates are now relatively stable from year to year and birth rates now responsive to voluntary decisions rather than to deeply bedded customs may fluctuate from year to year.