Natural Decrease in Semi-peripheral Nations: County-Level Analyses of Mexico and Turkey

  • Guadalupe Marquez-Velarde
  • Ceylan Engin
  • Dudley L. PostonJr.


Natural decrease is the demographic phenomenon in which more deaths than births occur in a population in a given period. In many countries, developed and developing, natural increase, i.e., the excess of births over deaths, typically accounts for most of the population increase, and often is large enough to offset population losses due to outmigration. However, if the excess births are replaced by excess deaths, i.e., natural decrease, then it is unlikely there will be any population growth. Demographic research has shown that it is at the subnational (county) level where the excess of deaths over births first begins to appear. In this chapter, we analyse the birth:death ratios of the 2457 municipios (counties) of Mexico in the 2005–2013 period, and the 81 subnational units (counties) of Turkey in the 2007–2014 period. We analyse the two countries as two individual case studies. We do so separately and do not compare the data and empirical patterns of the two countries. In this sense, the country-specific spatial characteristics of one country will not affect the analysis of the other country. This is not a perfect answer to the issue of the differences in the size of their respective subnational units. Nonetheless, it is the best we can do given the strategies the two governments have chosen with respect to the spatial configurations of their respective counties. In our chapter, we show that natural decrease is indeed occurring at the subnational level in Mexico in over 16% of all the counties. In Turkey, we did not find evidence of natural decrease in any of its counties, although some of its counties are moving toward having more deaths than births; in other words, they are “near natural decrease.” We then used two demographic independent variables, one focusing on fertility, the other on the presence of elderly, and modelled the birth:death ratio among the counties in the two countries. We conclude our chapter by drawing out some of the social and economic implications of our findings for the two countries.


Mexico Turkey Natural decrease Fertility Elderly 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guadalupe Marquez-Velarde
    • 1
  • Ceylan Engin
    • 2
  • Dudley L. PostonJr.
    • 3
  1. 1.Utah State UniversityLoganUSA
  2. 2.Universita degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly
  3. 3.Texas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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