On first looking at the Demographic Transition Model, it seems very appropriate. It is very similar to the models of the European countries and most countries are currently somewhere within the model and its four stages. On closer studying, it is evident that the model has many flaws and the countries currently placed in stages one and two might not follow the trends into stages three and four.
When the model was created, it was based mainly on MEDCs such as the European countries and the USA.
Many of these countries closely follow the model, but are now progressing further into a newly created fifth stage, which shows a natural decrease in population. This was not predicted when the model was created, which shows a lack of anticipation and planning!
From the model, one can deduce that a country will go through the stages during an even timescale. There are many exceptions to this, for example, Singapore.
Singapore is only about 37 years old. When it became an independent nation, it was probably already half-way through stage two. Since it is a global hub, it has developed very quickly, almost bypassing stage three. It is now towards the end of stage four and moving on to the fifth stage.
This model relies on the fact that, as time passes, the countries will get richer. This was true for the MEDCs of today, as, in the 19th Century, many went through an industrial revolution and gained a lot of money from it.
This led top better medical care, clean water and a good food supply that resulted in a drop in the death rate, followed by a drop in the birth rates. But nowadays, there is no evidence to suggest that the LEDCs are going to develop rapidly. Even if the IMF grants the LEDCs large sums of money, it is likely that corrupt governments in many LEDCs would pocket the money, rather than investing it into the country to improve its infrastructure.
The model does not take into account many factors. It does not take into account the possibilities of an outbreak of viruses and epidemics, such as the AIDS problems that Africa is currently facing. This would result in the death rates soaring above the birth rates and a natural population decrease. It also does not consider wars that could break out and result in a drop in the death rate, whether prematurely for LEDCs or the rates dropping too low for MEDCs.
Government campaigns, such as the ones in Singapore and China are also not accounted for in the DTM. China, when their famous ‘1 child policy’ was introduced, was in the second stage of the DTM. Because of the policy, it quickly progressed through stages two and three and is now entering the fourth stage. If not for this policy, it would probably still be in the second stage as it does not have an infrastructure like most of the MEDCs and is otherwise probably not capable of progressing so fat into the latter stages. In 1967, Singapore adopted a ‘Stop at two’ policy for the children. The campaign resulted in a sharp drop in the birth rates and so, stage three of the DTM passed by very quickly. Now, although the country is set to progress into stage five, the government is encouraging people to have more babies. If the incentives are good enough and people start having more children, it could see Singapore going back into the 3rd stage once again.
Singapore’s government, like the governments of many other LEDCs is worried about the decrease in birth rates. In many LEDCs, the younger population is decreasing and they have an ageing population. In the future, they might not have the manpower needed top run the country and are so, encouraging families to have more babies. This could result in geographers adding a sixth stage to the DTM, where birth rates rise and therefore, the country has a low death rate and a medium birth rate. This, though good for the individual country and its economy, has major implications on the world population.
It would mean that there would be a population increase in both LEDCs and MEDCs and would result in a world population surge. This is bad for the world, where many places are already becoming overcrowded and polluted.