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Geography

Managing population change

Different countries face varying problems when attempting to manage population change. LEDCs [LEDC: A Less Economically Developed Country (LEDC) has low levels of development, based on economic indicators, such as gross domestic product (the country's income). ] have to manage rapid population growth. MEDCs [MEDC: A More Economically Developed Country (MEDC) has high levels of development based on economic indicators such as gross domestic product (the country's income). ] have to manage slow or negative growth and an ageing population.

Population growth in LEDCs

Most LEDCs are experiencing rapid population growth. Most LEDCs are in stage 2 or 3 of the demographic transition model [demographic transition model: A measure of population change over time which tracks birth and death rates. ]. This means that they have falling death rates, due to improving health care, while birth rates remain high. The recent history of population management policies in China illustrates population-change management problems.

Causes of population growth in LEDCs

  • Limited access to family planning services and education about contraception. Contraception and other methods of family planning may not be culturally or religiously acceptable.
  • Children are a valuable source of labour and income for a family. They can work on the land from a young age and as they get older they can earn money in other jobs.
  • Children can help to care for younger children and elderly family members.
  • High rates of infant mortality (infant deaths) mean that women need to have many children in order to ensure that some survive through to adulthood.
  • It may be traditional or culturally important to have a large family.

LEDCs have a high population-growth rate which means that they have many young dependants. Governments in LEDCs and international bodies and charities are working to reduce birth rates and slow down rates of population growth.

Back to Population index

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