Check out these other AP Human Geo Resources: 

  • Attend the AP Human Geo live streams every week with Fiveable+ 👉 Join Today!

Introduction🕮

  • When it comes to the Demographic Transition Model (DTM), it is probably the most vital model to know and understand for the APHUG exam.
  • Once you understand how the DTM works, then can you glean information regarding a country’s demographics like sanitation, roles for women, industrialization, etc. 
  • It can also help you predict how the country’s demographics and the overall situation will develop in the long run.
  • In other words, the model is capable of predicting the future of a country. 
  • Now, let’s review the stages/phases to help you understand how the model works! 

STAGE 1 (S1)🌽🍖 - the High Stationary Stage

  • Stage 1 is usually described as featuring pre-agricultural societies that survive by either subsistence farming, solely growing food for survival, or transhumance, a type of nomadism that seasonally migrate for resources/raising livestock. 
  • Additionally, in this stage, many families choose to produce large amounts of offspring. 
  • It is seen that the more children one has, the more productive the family unit could be in meeting survival needs, such providing food or helping in the home. 
  • Thus, the birth rate is usually very high. But, on the other hand, the death rate is also very high. 
  • This is often attributed to the lack of proper living conditions, which often feature poor medical care, natural and man-made disasters. 
  • This also means the infant mortality rate is also high due to poor medical care. 
  • Factors like warfare, diseases, ecological changes and more can also cause fluctuations in the birth and death rates. 
  • Thus, this stage is also plagued by poor living conditions due to the lack of development as the population tends experience high death rates and a very unstable environment, making it hard to support any kind of development.  
  • However, there are currently no countries in Stage 1, which is really good news!
  • In the end, though, the birth and death rates stay relatively high with a low life expectancy as a result. In addition, the rate of natural increase (RNI) usually ends up being quite low too.

Stage 2 (S2) ⛏ - the Early Expanding Stage

  • With Stage 2 countries, they feature societies whose economies have switched to using agriculture as a trade than a way of living.
  • This will cause urbanization to remain limited as well as more people will be focused on farming, which is easier in rural areas.   
  • As a result, more people will be settling down to farm for a living, which will ultimately expand the food supply and reduce dangerous injuries to allow adults to live longer, thus reducing the death rate. 
  • However, these societies also tend to continue prizing a large number of children in the family as children as seen as more important to helping alleviate the labor-intensive needs of running a farm. 
  • The continued poor quality of healthcare and nutritional guidelines will also continue to keep infant mortality rates high. 
  • Altogether, this means that RNI and life expectancy will increase as 1) the birth rate remains high while the death rate decreases and 2) the lower death rate indicates longer adult lives.

Stage 2 ½🏭 - Newly Industrialized Countries (NICs)

  • NICs are countries that will be transitioning from an agricultural to manufacturing-based economies. 
  • This prompts a transition from rural living to urbanization. 
  • The transition to manufacturing will also encourage factory growth and thus, urbanization as more individuals will move closer to factories for job opportunities.
  • The increase in rural-to-urban migration will also cause families to have fewer children as resources become strained and limited, thus causing a decrease in the birth rate.
  • The death rate will also decrease as the rural-to-urban migration will allow more access to better medical care, resources, sanitation, and more, which furthers life expectancy as well. 
  • It is also during this transition that the RNI will reach its peak as this is when there will be the biggest gap between the birth and death rate, enabling for a population explosion. 

Stage 3 - Late Expanding Stage🏙 

  • Stage 3 is what it looks like when NICs continue to industrialize or continue having a manufacturing-based economy. 
  • It is also in this stage that the countries will be completing the S-curve of the model. 
  • As the effects of urbanization keep growing with simultaneous increases in improving the female status, medical care, and overall resources, the birth rate will continue to go down since having children will be seen as more money-consuming. 
  • Concurrently, the death rate will continue to decrease as healthcare, education, research, nutrition quality will all continue to increase to allow people to live longer, also increasing the life expectancy. 
  • The RNI will also be lowering as both the birth and death rates will go down, indicating a leveling off of the population. 

Stage 4 - Late Stationary Stage🌆 

  • Stage 4 countries will be countries that have shifted from manufacturing to service-based economies.  
  • In Stage 4, all three rates - birth and death rates and RNI - will all be decreasing.
  • A decreasing RNI will also indicate that the country’s population will either be slowing increasing or even decreasing but in any way, leveling off. 
  • Here the life expectancy will also be the longest with a large elderly population as a result. 
  • Overall, with a high degree of healthcare access, education, resources and large empowerment of women to participate in society, all of these factors have allowed the country to help move forward to Stage 4. 

And that's it!
Goodbye and good luck studying!✌

Did this answer your question?