Throughout most of history,birthrates and death rates have been high, with only a small rate of natural increase. In the Bronze Age of ancient Greece, expectation oHife at birth was an estimated 18, years. :By the’ opening of the -nineteenth- century· it ‘had doubled to about:36 ,years. Less’ than two
centuries later, it has doubled again, standing at 74,1 years in 1981!in the Un~tect States specifically, in 1980, 78.t for white females, 74 for other ‘females, 70.5 for white males, and 65.3 for other males, according to census  data reported by the Associated P ress [Oct. 11,1981]. Between 1900 and 1981, the-American death rate fell from 17.2 to 8.7 de ••ths per
1,000 people [Metropolitan Life Statistical Bulletin, 63:13, AprillJune 1982). In the world as a whole, the death rate was between 11 and 12 per 1,000 in 1978 [ZPG Reporter, 1982b). A great many factors, stretching backward for hundreds of years, have contributed to the drop in the death rate. Improved transportion made it possible to transport food surplus and to relieve a local famine. Improvementc in food preservation made it possible to preserve a food surplus. The growth of nationalism brought political institutions which were better able to cope with local crop failures and threatened famines, But preventive medicine, sanitary engineering, and public health measures were mainly responsible for the dramatic drops of the past century. After Pasteur and the germ theory of disease, many epidemic diseases quickly yielded to preventive measures. Pure food and water supply routed others. The great killers of the past-smallpox, cholera, diptheria typhoid; and scarlet fever-have become so rare that it is hard to find cases for medical students to observe. The decline in the death rate in Europe began about 1750 in England and France and generally preceded any decline in the birthrate. A country with a falling death rate and  a stationary birthrate will show an explosiverate of populadon increase. This explains the rapid population growth of recent centuries

Posted on September 4, 2014 in POPULATION CHANGE

Share the Story

About the Author

Back to Top
Share This