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Population and Development: the demographic transition

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Tim Dyson
Zed Books (14 October 2010)

This book addresses the central role of the demographic transition in the creation of the modern world. It considers how the major processes involved in this transition have unfolded during the modern era. And it examines the immense - and often unrecognized - impact that these processes have had on many key aspects of life.

At the start of the twenty-first century, every country in the world is being affected by the demographic transition. Indeed, most countries are still experiencing it to varying degrees. The transition is a phenomenon that will continue to transform human society for many decades to come. Therefore an appreciation of its major causal processes, and their principal societal effects - social, psychological, economic and political - is very important.

Because the demographic transition has often been accompanied by economic growth, it has often been assumed that it is largely a consequence of economic growth. However, and most certainly, that is not the view that is taken here. Instead, the transition is something that occurs largely independently of prevailing economic circumstances. The transition’s implications for the economy are probably greater than the economy’s implications for the transition. And, more generally, the demographic transition has played at least as important a role in the overall process of development as has the phenomenon of modern economic growth.

  • Professor Tim Dyson is professor of population studies at LSE.

Reviews

'Written in a highly accessible style, this book should be read by everyone interested in the fundamental forces that have shaped the modern world'
Professor John Cleland, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

'In this groundbreaking study Tim Dyson systematically examines the major causal processes of the demographic transition. This work represents a remarkable contribution to the literature on world demographic and social changes'
Professor Zhongwei Zhao, Australian National University

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Population and Development