Topic: "Compare and contrast the differences in population characteristics between developed and developing countries."




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Subject: Society, Space and the Environment (TG1090)


Topic: "Compare and contrast the differences in population characteristics between developed and developing countries."


Grade Awarded: Distinction


Tutor’s Comments: Your essay shows good command of academic referencing and contains useful, interesting, illustrative material. It is way over the word length. I think you could easily have made it shorter by some editing - I've edited some parts for you to eliminate the padding. You need to focus on making your writing more succinct, and ensuring that you always make your meaning clear. Use of sub-headings may help. You have analysed some of the differences and presented a reasonably coherent line of argument.

Marking Schedule:

CRITERION

MAJOR POINTS

POSSIBLE MARK

YOUR MARK

Relevance to topic

Answers question

Contains relevant detail

10

7.5



Illustrative material

Relevance of maps, tables of data and diagrams

Correct conventions on maps

Proper titles & sources on maps etc

5

3.5


(Note: This sample is provided in the exact form it was submitted and corrections and comments made in the text by the lecturer are not included. Tables, maps and diagrams have not been included in the sample.)


Comparing and contrasting population characteristics of developed and developing countries give valuable insights into social, political and economic processes of countries. All numerical data given in this essay are in tables 1. and 2., and is correlated from the CIA (Central

Intelligence Agency) website (ODCI, 1998). It is important to point out that countries that were picked were chosen at random, and they are only but a few representative countries. To be able to compare and contrast population characteristics, it is first necessary to define particular terms. The population characteristics to be examined are only but a few indicators of how a countries population is. The population characteristics that are going to be looked at in this essay are population growth, crude birth rates, crude death rates, life expectancies at birth and infant mortality rates. However at this point it is important to note that space limitations of this essay preclude me from touching on other population characteristics and other countries.

Before defining any population characteristics, it is important to define what a developed and developing country is.

A developed country is a country that had undergone development or industrialisation.

A developing country can also be called less-developed or undeveloped, and is a country that is undergoing development, and is in the early stages of developing an industrial economy (Bernard, 1997).

Developed countries include all regions of Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Developing countries include all regions of Africa, Asia (excluding Japan), Latin America, the Caribbean, and regions of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia (UNDP, 1997).

Population growth rate is the average annual percent change in the population resulting from a surplus of births over death and the balance of migrants entering and leaving a country (CIA,1999).

Crude birth rate is a measure of how many people are born in an area or a country over a particular period of time. It is often referred in terms of the number of live births per year per 1000 people in the population (McKenzie and Williams, 1996, p.vii).

Crude death rate is a measure of the number of people who have died within an area or a country over a certain time period. Expressed in terms of deaths per year per 1000 people (McKenzie and Williams, 1996, p.vii).

Life expectancy at birth is the average number of years a newborn infant can expect to live under current mortality levels (PRB, 1998).

Infant mortality rate is the annual number of deaths of infants under the age of one year per 1000 live births (Jacobsen, 1996, p.39).


Total population numbers of countries, provide overviews of the variations of populations around the globe. The most probable future population projection is that in 2050, the worlds population will be somewhere between 7.7 to 11.1 billion, with the most likely figure to be 9.4 billion (UNFPA, 1997). This projection becomes evidently clearer when China today is supporting the highest population in the world with an astounding number of 1,236.9. However when China’s population growth rate is compared to a developed country with a relatively low population like New Zealand, we see that the population growth rate in China is less than New Zealands population growth rate. With China having such an alarmingly high population, it is not surprising that if the population growth is not kept in check, China will have major problems in relation to its available resources. As agrees by Canon and Jenkins (1990, p.102), China’s population is too large and growing too rapidly. To combat this problem however, China’s government has infringed stringent family planning programs, like the 1980’s one-child policy


program (Baker and Chapman, 1992, p.127). It would appear that this policy is the key to explaining why China’s population growth rate is so low, comparable to figures of developed countries. This comparison however, is not uniform throughout the rest of the developing countries. When observing Afghanistan’s population growth rate of 4.21%, and Canada’s rate of 1.09%, the drastic difference in the figures can be seen. This comparison would lead to the assumption that population growth rates are generally higher in developing countries (figure 1. and 2.).


In an overall comparison of figures relating to crude birth rates, developing countries are by far supporting the greater numbers in births in comparison to that of developed countries (figure 3.). For example, Uganda and Afghanistan have considerable higher crude birth rates (49.21 and 42.37 respectively), when compared to that of a developed country like New Zealand which has the highest birth rate of 14.89 among the chosen developed countries or even that of Ireland with a rate of 13.49. There are many factors that appear to be closely related to crude birth rate figures. For example, the majority religion in Uganda is Roman Catholicism, whereas in Afghanistan it is Islam (ODCI,1998). Unwin (1994, p.100) writes that some governments are resistant to reductions in birth, notable those countries being Islamic and Catholic. As suggested in Fellmann (1995, p.95) these religions forbid the use of artificial birth control, and or abortions. Findlay (1987, p.35) also points out that Islamic countries continue to favour large families to this day. These cultural, religious and societal factors inadvertently lead to higher birth rates among countries. However, low birth rates that are characteristic of developed countries may also be attributed to certain factors, like financial/economic stability, or restrictions in family sizes (fellmann, 1995, p.95).


When figures of death rates are compared between developed and developing countries, numbers are surprisingly similar. A majority of undeveloped countries appear to have the same numbers of those of developed countries. Death rates for developing and developed countries range from 6.19 in Iran to 18.95 in Uganda, and 6.89 in Australia to 10.78 in Sweden (figure 4.). As Caldwell (1990, p.45) suggests, death rates in developed countries started declining after the industrial revolution. Being economically more stable allowed countries like the United Kingdom to improve hospital facilities. It also allowed for treatment of drinking water and sewage. The industrial revolution occurred in a time when there was also a scientific revolution, which allowed for safer medical procedures, this era also saw an influx of safer drugs, antibiotics and new vaccines. As Caldwell (1990, p.45) points out, material and scientific improvements seemed to be the main factors for bringing death rates to lower numbers. The reason for a majority of developing countries now seeing lower death rates, is most definitely attributed to the introduction of western medical practices, better health services, improvements in diets, cleaner drinking water and an overall better standard of living (Findlay, 1987, p.15). However when the figures are thoroughly examined, it is noticeable that Afghanistan, Uganda and Kenya have the highest death rates out of any of the other chosen countries. Reasons for this may be because for example, Afghanistan is incessantly in a civil war (Baker and Chapman, 1992, p.50), and Africa is plagued with the AIDS virus (Kennedy, 1993, p.27). Perhaps there is just simply a continuation of diseases linked to malnutrition, sewage and polluted water supplies (Findlay, 1987, p.16). It has also been suggested by some demographers, that certain infectious diseases are endemic in some tropical climates, therefore the always being higher death rates in some parts of the world (Findlay, 1987, p.15).


Life expectancies at birth between developed and undeveloped countries are quite different from each other. From the chosen countries, the life expectancy at birth ranges from


42.6 in Uganda to the highest figure of 69.59 in china, whereas developed countries range from the lowest figure being 76.13 in the USA to 80 in Japan (figure 5.). As opposed to crude death rates Unwin (1994, p.102) indicates that life expectancies at birth are better indicators of the true-life chances of a countries population. Clean water, good food supplies, availability of medical treatments, and environmental pollution influence a country’s life expectancy rate. Some undeveloped countries suffer from periodic catastrophes, famines and wars. Better standards of economic living all play a major role in life expectancy rates. Countries with better economies can afford vaccination programs, better housing facilities, education, and better food supplies (Unwin, 1994, p.102). These factors have a major role in delaying early deaths. All developed countries enjoy longer life expectancies, the Japanese population being the longest-lived people on earth (Baker and Chapman, 1992, p.195). From the correlation of this data, it is evident that populations of developed countries enjoy longer life spans attributed to overall better standards of living.


When infant mortality rates of developed and less-developed countries is examined, the differences are frighteningly opposite. The rate ranges from 45.46 in China to a shocking 143.63 in Afghanistan, whereas for developed countries, infant mortality ranges from 3,93 in Sweden to 6.04 in Ireland. Figure 6. shows under 5 years child survival rates. There are positively no similarities in this area. Reasons for such high numbers in infant mortality greatly vary. Wilson (1981, p.44) states that factors such as maternal nutrition levels, pre-natal, post-natal medical care, water and food quality, hygiene, and living standards all effect infant mortality rates.(figure 7.). As agreed by Findlay (1987, p.18), importance given to maternal education is critical, as improvements in medical technology is not enough. Caldwell (1990, p.47) points out that child mortality declines with each additional year of a mother’s education. Therefore even a couple of years of schooling has an impact on mortality rates. Caldwell (1990, p.49) also points out that cultural attitudes and practices effect child mortality rates. By this statement, it is meant that there is a preference in some countries of sons over daughters. This preference is estimated to almost certainly keep child mortality higher than what it might normally be. It has however been argues by Simpson (1994, p.28), that the decreasing infant mortality rates are effecting the increasing numbers of children. Simpson (1994, p.28) suggests that this might imbalance social systems of countries, where the wider society might be unable to handle a huge influx of this younger dependant section of the society. It is also suggested that systems might start to fail from the pressures of enlarging younger populations.


In conclusion, developed countries overall showed similar numbers, whereas developing countries were quite varied. Ranges in figures for developed countries were smaller than that of less-developed places. Crude birth rates between the two types of countries were quite dissimilar, figures being comparatively lower in industrialised countries. Crude death rates were however surprisingly similar, and leads to the assumption that modern advances contribute greatly for death rates to decline. Life expectancies at birth were again different from each other, showing that developed countries overall enjoyed longer life spans in present day conditions. Likewise, infant mortality rates were extremely different, and showed no similarities whatsoever. From the correlation of all the data, it is obvious as to why growth rates are higher in most developing countries as opposed to more established countries. These differences in population characteristics between developed and developing countries have been occurring for many years, and although figures correlated over the years are showing a slow evening out of numbers, it is not likely to be for many more years to come until great similarities are noticed between the two types of countries.


BIBLIOGRAPHY



Baker, K.M. and Chapman, G.P., The Changing Geography of Asia. London, England, Routledge, 1992


Bernard, J.R.L.(ed), The Macquarie Dictionary. 3rd edition, Australia, Macquarie Library Pty Ltd., 1997


Caldwell, J.C., ‘Cultural and Social Factors Influencing Mortality Levels in Developing Countries’, in Preston, S.H.(ed), World Population: Approaching the year 2000. California, USA, Sage Publications Inc., 1990, pp.44-59


Canon, T. and Jenkins, A., The Geography of Contemporary China. London, England, Routledge, 1990


CIA, 1999. World Factbook 1998: Notes and Definitions. Can be accessed on line at: http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/notes.html, date accessed 15/03/99.


Fellmann, J., et al., Human Geography. Landscapes of Human Activities. 4th edition, Dubuque, USA, Wm. C. Brown Communications, 1995


Findlay, A.M. and Findlay, A.M., Population and Development in the Third World. New York, USA, Metheun and Co Ltd., 1987


Jacobsen, J.E., Population Growth. Sausalito, USA, University Science Books, 1996


Kennedy, P., Preparing for the 21st Century. London, England, Harper Collins, 1993


McKenzie, F. and Williams, L.S., Understanding Australia’s Population. Canberra, Australia, Australian Government Publishing Services, 1996


ODCI, 1998. World Factbook 1998. Country Listings. Can be accessed on line at: http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html, date accessed 15/03/99.


PRB, 1998. Population Reference Bureau: Glossary of Population Terms. Can be accessed on line at: http://www.prb.org/news/glossary, date accessed 15/03/99.


Simpson, E., The Developing World. 2nd edition, Essex, England, Longman Group UK, 1994


UNDP, 1997. United Nations Urban and Rural Areas. Can be accessed on line at: http://www.undp.org/popin/wdtrends/ura/hurapwld.htm, date accessed 6/03/99.


UNFPA, 1997. State of World Population 1997: Box 1. Can be accessed on line at:

http://web.unfpa.org/swp97e/box1.html, date accessed 6/03/99.


Unwin, T., Atlas of World Development. West Sussex, England, John Wiley and Sons Ltd., 1994


Wilson, M.G.A., Population and Change. Australia, Sorrett Publishing, 1981


TABLE 1.

WORLD POPULATION DATA 1998




Developing Countries




Crude Birth Rate per 1000

Crude Death Rate per 1000


Note: 1. Afghanistan’s population growth rate of 4.21% reflects the return of refugees.


2. 607,252 of Iran’s population numbers are non-nationals.




Source: ODCI, 1998. World Factbook 1998. Can be accessed on line at: http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html, date accessed 15/03/99


TABLE 2.

WORLD POPULATION DATA 1998




Developed Countries


Crude Birth Rate per 1000

Crude Death Rate per 1000


Source: ODCI, 1998. World Factbook 1998. Country Listings. Can be accessed on line at: http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html, date accessed 15/03/99.


FIGURE 1.

WORLD POPULATION NUMBERS AND PROJECTIONS




Source: Fellmann, J., et al., Human Geography. Landscapes of Human Activities. 4th edition, Dubuque, USA, Wm. C. Brown Communications, 1995, p.93


FIGURE 2.

WORLD POPULATION NUMBERS AND PROJECTIONS




Source: Fellmann, J., et al., Human Geography. Landscapes of Human Activities. 4th edition, Dubuque, USA, Wm. C. Brown Communications, 1995, p.93


FIGURE 3.

CRUDE BIRTH RATES 1994




Source: Fellmann, J., et al., Human Geography. Landscapes of Human Activities. 4th edition, Dubuque, USA, Wm. C. Brown Communications, 1995, p.95


FIGURE 4.

CRUDE DEATH RATES 1994




Source: Fellmann, J., et al., Human Geography. Landscapes of Human Activities. 4th edition, Dubuque, USA, Wm. C. Brown Communications, 1995, p.99


FIGURE 5.

LIFE EXPECTANCY AT BIRTH 1990




Source: Unwin, T., Atlas of World Development. West Sussex, England, John Wiley and Sons Ltd., 1994, p.103.


FIGURE 6.

UNDER 5 SURVIVAL RATE 1990




Source: Unwin, T., Atlas of World Development. West Sussex, England, John Wiley and Sons Ltd., 1994, p.107.


FIGURE 7.

INFANT MORTALITY RATES FOR SELECTED COUNTRIES




Source: Fellmann, J., et al., Human Geography. Landscapes of Human Activities. 4th edition, Dubuque, USA, Wm. C. Brown Communications, 1995, p99.

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