The demographic transition


Frank W. Notestein (1902-1983)

To understand the variety of demographic regimes found across the world, it is necessary to understand the history of demographic change globally.

The demographic transition theory is a generalised description of the changing pattern of mortality, fertility and growth rates as societies move from one demographic regime to another. The term was first coined by the American demographer Frank W. Notestein in the mid-twentieth century, but it has since been elaborated and expanded upon by many others.

There are four stages to the classical demographic transition model:

These four stages are depicted on the graph below.