Geography Assessment Fertility and Mortality

1. Suggest & explain why, within a country, crude birth rate varies over time. Use named examples and evidence to support your answer.

In the 19th century most countries had a very high birth rate. Since then different countries birth rate has changed and this is mainly because the government implement different polices towards their population.

One set of polices is a pro-natal view and this encourages the population to have children and fertility is promoted. One reason for increasing fertility is to compensate for wartime losses for example France in 1918 after the First World War. Germany additionally applied a pro natal strategy to promote Nazi Germany as they wanted to encourage a particular race in pursuit of racially motivated polices. Also, in Japan they want to preserve the labor force from an ageing population and recently they have seen a rise in the birth rate for the first time in six years.

Governments have also applied two types of Anti-natal policies to their country and these can be either voluntary or coercive. Voluntary polices include spreading information about family planning clinics with funding form the World Health Organization. They reach out to try and persuade the population to keep below a certain number of children. The earliest examples are in India and Pakistan and now Indonesia is following in their footsteps with setting up 2000 family planning clinics.

However some governments turned to an involuntary anti-natal policy, Chinas one child policy is an example of this but researchers are realizing today that even though it may have been strict at the time they have come to understand that it has had very little impact on the population at all. China had and is stilling having a major population crisis. It was introduced in 1979 and if families followed this policy they received free education, health care, pensions and family benefits but these would be taken away if the couple has more than one child.

However, the scheme has caused a number of problems in China. This is particularly the case for hundreds of thousands of young females. Many thousands of young girls have been abandoned by their parents as the result of the one child policy. This is because many parents in China prefer to have a boy to carry on the family name. As a result large numbers of girls have either ended up in orphanages, homeless or in some cases killed. The policy has had little impact on the population, it was already decreasing from 1970 – 1979 and had dropped from 34 per 1000 to 18 per 1000 and is now 14 per 1000. It has only gone down 4 per 1000 over 28 years and it has been resisted strongly by the people especially in rural areas as there are not enough people to work on farms.

There have also been some changing polices for example in Singapore. From 1965-1987 they introduced a ‘stop at two’ campaign this was designed to improve the quality of life for the Singaporean people as the live on such a small island. However the scheme changed dramatically as the government saw the population was the only asset it had. Advance in technology have allowed Singapore to do well in the global economy this is also because of its highly educated population. However now the fertility is continuing to drop and is starting to go into an ageing population. To try and increase the TRF they have introduced incentives for more children and the baby bonus scheme. This includes things such as when have a second child the government will open a children development account and money will be added to the account. Governments mainly influence the birth rates within a country because of the different policies they set in place.

2. Suggest & explain reasons why crude birth rates vary between countries at different levels of economic development

There are many reasons why birth rates vary between countries which are at different levels of economic development. LEDC’s tend to have very high birth rates and this is because of lack of education about family planning and contraception. In places such as Tanzania there is no access to contraception and therefore the birth rate is high at 39 per 1000. In MEDC’s contraception is widely available and there this will make the birth rate decrease. You are able to buy all forms of contraception and in MEDC’s people are very well educated on them and how to use them.

Also, in LEDC’s children are economic assets the more children you have the great income the family will gain. This is because at a very young age children are able to work on farms and earn money for the family. However, in present day this is even seen less in LEDC’s as more and more children are trying to go to school to get an education. Where as in an MEDC children are known as economic burdens, they do not start working until 18 and live off there parents until then. Children in MEDC’s expect a lot more in there youth such as a good education, clothes, pocket and the general living expenses for food and clothes is much more expensive than in an LEDC.

Another reason that birth rates are very high in LEDC’s compared to MEDC’s is because there is a high infant mortality rate in most LEDC’s. Sierra Leone has an infant mortality rate of 160 deaths per 1000 live births. This means that the more children a woman has then there is greater chance of survival for one of them to grow up till adult level. This is generally because of the lack of medical care available in LEDC’s where as in a MEDC there is easy access to medical attention. Most babies’ die of malnutrition or malaria and these are both easy dealt with in an MEDC however it is much more difficult in a place such as Kenya.

In MEDC’s there is lower birth rate because women’s role society has changed over time. In present day a lot of women are going through higher education onto university and ready to start careers before settling down. This leads to having children later when they are older which to there ‘fertility window’ being limited or not at all. Women’s role in society is also linked very closely to children becoming economic burdens. Couples cannot afford having a lot of children as it is too expensive leading to smaller families with fewer children.

However, the difference between LEDC and MEDC birth rates are becoming more alike. Since 2000 the total fertility rate in LEDC’s are dramatically decreasing. In 2000 Ethiopia’s the TRF was 7.07 and now in 2007 this has decreased to 5.10 and the same is happening in Saudi Arabia going from 6.39 children down to 3.94. However, MEDC’s birth rate is also decreasing and going into an ageing population, Finland going from a Total Fertility rate of 2.04 down to 1.73 showing that the rate is now below replacement level.

3. Suggest & explain why, within a country, crude death rate varies over time.

In the UK the death rate has been fluctuating since the beginning of the 18th century. The death rate was steady decreasing in the second half of the 18th century however, in the start of the 19th century this started to change. Firstly, there was a war in France although this death count was nothing compared to the deaths caused by the potato famine in 1845 over 1 million people died from starvation and disease in Ireland because of failure of the potato crop. However the death rate continued to rise from the outbreak of cholera in 1848 when over 13,000 people died. At the time there was no cure for the disease and no body new the cause of it.

Before 1820 a lot of the population was insolvent and was dying because of starvation however since 1760 major advances in agriculture was made. Selective breeding was starting to occur and was soon producing ‘superior’ animals. New vegetable such as carrots were being grown and the land was becoming much more productive. This then had a reflection on the life expectancy and was now more than 40 years.

However, social class was definitely affecting the death rate. Research has shown that more affluent areas had a lower death rate than working class and this could be linked to poorer housing conditions which meant that disease is able to spread quicker and affect more people. In 1843 the life expectancy in Manchester was just 24 years old and with the over crowding and lack of hygiene allowed many diseases to multiply such as tuberculosis and typhus fever. Water became very contaminated and people would drink this and become very sick.

Nevertheless, medical developments started to be discovered and soon enough a cure for smallpox was found. Small pox was responsible for over 21/2 million people a year and 1 in 13 children would die from it, it was the world’s most feared disease. Since then medical care kept improving and they established anesthetic for operations and penicillin to kill bacteria. National Health Service was introduced in 1948 to cover the population’s medical needs.

In the 20th century the death rate continued to decline despite the wars and weapons and the life expectancy had risen to 75 years. However, now we have new medical issues to worry about since AIDS is the new feared disease and cancer seems to be striking more and more.

However, within a country certain ages migrate to certain areas of the country for example there is a higher death rate in the south coast of England because there are lots of retirement centers down there and many people of the older generation move there for the scenery, quietness and relaxation as they do not want to retire in a city.

The futures death path is undecided no one can predict what will happen. With the UK now becoming the fattest nation in Europe it seems that they have fight obesity as well. Two-thirds of men and almost 60% of women are unhealthily heavy and if nothing changes, nearly a third of boys and girls aged under 11 will be overweight or obese by 2010. With unhealthy diets, little exercise and fast food it seems like the new epidemic to beat is obesity.

4. Why do crude death rates vary between countries at different levels of economic development?

Death rates between countries with different levels of economic development because of many reasons. Firstly, in LEDC’s there is a much higher death rate than in MEDC’s, one reason for this is access to clean water, sanitation and a reliable food supply. MEDC’s have a much more reliable food supply than countries such as Ethiopia and because of this many people there die of starvation or malnutrition. The developed world has more money and infrastructure to control sewage and water filtration to make sure that water is clean and drinkable. Food has become more widely available with reliable with application of fertilisers, pesticides and agro-chemicals. In MEDC’s the land area required to grow crops has decreased substantially yet the yield outputs have increased also intensive farming methods have been introduced such as the green revolution in the EU.

Also, medical care in MEDC’s is of a higher standard compared to LEDC’s. More and more vaccinations are being introduced in MEDC’s to prevent diseases and this also helps to lower the infant mortality as well as the death rate. People in MEDC’s also have a higher life expectancy which lowers the death rate as people are living for longer.

Disease control shows the development and access to medication. If there is good access to medical care then there is a low number of population per doctor. Somewhere such as the UK with 300 pop per doc has a better access to medical care than Ethiopia with a pop per doc of 32 499! Advances in medical technology have also helped reduce the death rate such as keyhole surgery and antibiotics.

Also, some countries have a National Health Service such as the UK this means that any medical attention is free. Many LEDC’s do not have this and a lot of the population cannot afford doctors which therefore mean there is a greater risk of dying from curable diseases.

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