Demographers and those concerned with population policy are increasingly focusing on the steep fertility declines that occurred in developed countries from the 1960s and the consequent widespread below-replacement fertility levels. The decline has been termed the Second Demographic Transition. This paper argues that the recent demographic change can best be understood and analyzed if we broaden the concept to include the first demographic transition, and the three demographically more settled periods preceding, separating, and following the two fertility transitions. These more settled periods or “compromises” are examined to ascertain their nature and so to help predict the likely developments in the present or third compromise. It is argued that the third compromise has now extended for 20 years with little movement in fertility rates or other socioeconomic behavior which has been said to be associated with the second transition, and that this provides sufficient evidence for analysis. The approach has two key aspects. First, it is confined in Europe to countries that distinctly experienced the full five demographic periods, namely northwestern and central Europe. Second, the analysis gains strength by including non-European countries that progressed through all five stages, namely the English-speaking countries of overseas European settlement: USA, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
Population Research and Policy Review – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 19, 2008
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