The age structural transition

As a population undergoes the demographic transition, in which mortality and fertility rates decline, it moves from a young age structure towards an old age structure. Recent authors have termed this process the age structural transition (e.g. Pool et al. 2006), and it is seen to be an integral part of the demographic transition.

The age structural transition is a long-term process which completely reshapes a population’s age structure.

Interaction Based on your knowledge about the interaction between demographic processes and the age structure, what aspect of the demographic transition do you think is the greatest driving force behind these changes?

  1. Changing mortality rates
  2. Changing fertility rates
  3. Changing growth rates



The age structural transition is primarily driven by declining fertility rates. As described in Section 4, changing fertility rates have the greatest long-term effect on age structures. As fertility declines, the number of children entering the population decreases and the relative importance of older age groups increases. This is population ageing. Improvements in survivorship at older ages may also have some effect on the age structure of a population, but not to the same degree as changing fertility.