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Demographic Transitional Processes – Continuity or Discontinuity

Alica Wertheimer-Baletić ; Hrvatska akademija znanosti i umjetnosti, Zagreb, Hrvatska

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 700 Kb


str. 7-63

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The second demographic transition came about in European demographic literature as a topic in 1986. The authors thereof were Dutch demographers Dirk van de Kaa and Ron Lesthaeghe. Starting from the demographic-historical conceptualisation of the theory of demographic transition, it may be concluded that following the fi rst demographic transition, the stage the authors call the second demographic transition occured in the development of the population. This is however only another name for the post-transitional stage, whereby this term includes the continuity of demographic trends, while the term the second demographic transition explains the discontinuity between the periods of the fi rst and the second demographic transition. Van de Kaa (1987) emphasises that due to the impact of essential specifi c factors, essential diff erences emerged between these two transitions. During the second demographic transition, they were caused by secularisation and individualisation processes, and new factors linked with them (new value orientation; socio-psychological and other factors). They caused a decline of marriages; an increase in the number of cohabitations and other forms of life partnerships; an increase in the number of children born out of wedlock; an increase in the number of divorces; etc., which have become acceptable in the perception of the young generation. On the contrary, having children and the number of children have become a matt er of partners’ free choice, as their primary goal is to achieve self-fulfi lment at personal level. It has all exercised an impact on a further fertility reduction, which started in the middle phase, and became intensifi ed in the late phase of the fi rst transition. Essential diff erences between the fi rst and the second transition, which the authors mention in the paper, have however arisen from the understandable fact that each period bear their own specifi c historical context and specifi c features of social diff erentiation. The authors point out that essential diff erences between the two transitions have further arisen from the main postulates they are based upon. The fi nal stage of the fi rst transition was based on balance (zero level) between low birth and death rates, and on stationary population. In the second demographic transition, birth and fertility rates tended to be reduced to the sub-replacement level, or, according to Lesthaeghe, to the sustainable sub-replacement fertility level, which, along with life prolongation, intensifi ed population aging, which demanded the so-called replacement migration as a compensation for the decrease in workforce. Starting from the thesis that the second demographic transition was a new stage in European demographic history, separated from the fi rst transition, the authors emphasised that there was no continuity in fertility reduction between the two transitions, as in the second transition, this trend was oriented towards the permanent and sustainable sub-replacement fertility level. However, many other demographers, such as R. Cliquet and D. Coleman, hold that between the two transitions, there was a continuity in demographic trends, in particular fertility reduction, which leaned on the low fertility level already achieved in the fi nal stage of the fi rst demographic transition. Our research has led to the identical conclusion, as it commenced from the fact that fertility reduction started in the middle phase of the fi rst transition and became intensifi ed in the late phase thereof; hence, fertility reduction in the second demographic transition continued to the balance of low levels of these rates, already achieved in the fi rst transition. The turn that occurred in the fi rst decade of the 21st century indicated to the possibility of the emergence of new factors in new social circumstances, which might infl uence the growth of birth/fertility rates. According to the available data, the total fertility rate in most of Western European countries grew and approximated the replacement level, yet did not exceed it. A longer period of studying this complex phenomenon is hence rate decrease to the sub-replacement level was irreversible and permanently sustainable in highly-developed countries.

Ključne riječi

demographic transition; post-transitional stage; second demographic transition; zero natural change rate; sub-replacement fertility; stationary population; replacement migration

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