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Changes in Demographic Behaviour: Possible Use of Its Findings in Didactic Practice

Abstract

Changes of demographic behaviour have received a lot of attention from several scientific disciplines, and they are also a strong focus of social practices. Since the 1970s of the twentieth century, the changes in demographic behaviour of population have been reflected in the countries of Western and Northern Europe; later they were identified in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe. These changes are associated with the second demographic transition and are principally reflected in three areas: (1) In the area of reproduction behaviour, we see a decrease of birth rate intensity, fertility and reproduction. (2) At the same time, the process of population ageing takes place, i.e. the number and proportion of seniors is growing. (3) Big changes take place in the area of family behaviour. The contribution contains an analysis of changes of demographic behaviour of European populations, with a special focus on the Czech, Slovak and other Central European population. This theme might be interesting and attractive already for children of primary schools. The contribution intends to help teachers to make the teaching of appropriate topics on geography lessons more attractive. It, namely, intends to guide pupils to actively participate in research and to guide them to investigate, recognise, evaluate and present demographic knowledge.

Keywords

  • Demographic behaviour
  • Second demographic transition
  • Reproduction behaviour
  • Population ageing
  • Family behaviour
  • European population
  • Theory of civilisation waves

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The terminology is not uniform. The terms cohabitation, de facto marriages and unmarried couples are used and can have certain methodological differences.

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Correspondence to Jozef Mládek .

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Annexes

Annexes

1.1 Annex 1: Educational Training – Practice, Exercise

1.1.1 Demographic Revolution

Dramatic changes in the development of world population are described by the term “demographic revolution”. The revolution concerns reproduction and population changes and the dynamics of population recovery arising from changes between the degree of natality and mortality. We speak about the first and second demographic revolutions. The time course of these demographic transitions is connected to the social-economic development of the society.

Demographic changes in developed countries started earlier. The first demographic revolution (FDR) ran parallel with industrialisation, i.e. at the end of the eighteenth century in some advanced countries. In Czechia it was most intense at the end of the nineteenth century, especially at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The second demographic transition (SDT) was identified in the 1970s in advanced countries. In the Czech population, it was recorded from the mid-1980s onwards and in the Slovak population as late as from the beginning of the twenty-first century. In addition to natality and mortality, other demographic characteristics also have an impact on population recovery, such as marriage, divorce, etc.

Fig. 14.14
figure 14

First (1) and second (2) demographic transition phases (Note: NI natural increase (number of persons per 1000 inhabitants))

Exercise

  • What are the reasons of the decrease in mortality during the FDR?

  • Which countries are currently going through the FDR?

  • When and in which countries did the SDT start?

  • What are the typical features of the SDT?

1.2 Annex 2: Educational Training – Practice, Exercise

1.2.1 Changes in Reproduction Behaviour of Population, Decrease of Natality

During the first demographic transition, the main demographic process is mortality. On the other hand, the decisive process of the second demographic transition is the birth rate and mainly the decrease in birth rates. This means that over a period of time, fewer children are born. The indicator of the evaluation of the decrease in birth rates is the crude birth rate. Monitor the decrease in birth rates based on the following indicators in the table below.

Table 14.3 Development of crude birth rate in selected European states

Exercise

  • Make a graph of the development of crude birth rates in selected countries in Europe in 19502010 (in Excel).

  • Characterise the overall trend of the development of birth rates in Europe.

  • What are the differences in the fall of birth rates in Western and Central Europe?

  • Compare the number of children in the families of your parents, grandparents and great grandparents or in the families of your close relatives.

  • Compare the development of birth rates in your country with the development of birth rates in selected European countries.

1.3 Annex 3: Educational Training – Practice, Exercise

1.3.1 Population Ageing

Each population is undergoing changes in the age structure. We are always interested in the age structure of a whole group of inhabitants, not only the individual age of an individual person. Whilst the population can age or get younger, individual age develops only towards ageing.

Globally, the European dimension of population ageing is the most dynamic one. It was here where the changes in behaviour during the SDT showed most radically in the second half of the twentieth century. These changes had a major impact on the age structure of Europe, which has changed from a progressive type (1950) to a regressive one (2015).

The changing shape of age pyramids of the European population shows several fundamental facts. It is evident that there is an enormous rise in the total number of the European population from 549 to 738 million. It is also evident that the base of the age pyramid is getting narrower and the top is getting wider.

Fig. 14.15
figure 15

Age structure of European population (1950 and 2015) (Source: UN 2015)

Exercise

  • The process of below-up ageing resulted in a drop in the percentage of children. By how many percent did the percentage of children in the population of Europe drop?

  • The growth of the productive age group of the European inhabitants is significant. How did the number and proportion of inhabitants of the age group 2064 change?

  • The increase in the number of inhabitants 65 years and over is extreme, which indicates a process of top-down ageing. By how many percent did the proportion of seniors grow, i.e. the share of the “old” population of 65 + ?

  • Evaluate the development of this age category also in terms of gender structure.

  • What are the reasons for bottom-up and top-down ageing of the population of Europe?

  • Try to prepare an age pyramid for Europe in Excel. When constructing a graph (two combined and rotated bar charts), use data in negative values in the last column.

1.4 Annex 4: Educational Training – Practice, Exercise

1.4.1 Family Behaviour, Extramarital Birth

Natality differentiates by legitimacy between marital and extramarital children. It is one of the significant indicators of family behaviour of the population. The number of extramarital children in Western Europe is one of the characteristic features of changes in family behaviour during the SDT which started appearing in the 1970s (Fig. 14.16). In this period, the ratio of extramarital children increased to 30–40 % and in the next years to 40–50 % (Finland, France, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom). The population of Central Europe recorded an increase in this indicator 40 years later.

Fig. 14.16
figure 16

Development of extramarital birth (Source: Ined (2015))

Exercise

  • What are the reasons for the higher extramarital birth rate in general?

  • Which countries have the highest extramarital birth rate?

  • What is the rate in your country?

  • Evaluate the development of the percentage of extramarital children in Central Europe compared to other European countries using the graph, first orally and then in writing.

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Mládek, J., Káčerová, M., Popjaková, D., Vančura, M. (2017). Changes in Demographic Behaviour: Possible Use of Its Findings in Didactic Practice. In: Karvánková, P., Popjaková, D., Vančura, M., Mládek, J. (eds) Current Topics in Czech and Central European Geography Education. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-43614-2_14

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