Responses to high and low fertility


Dependency ratio

A measure of the proportion of people in a population that are unable to provide for themselves (i.e. children aged 0-14 & older people aged 65+) compared to those in the working population (those aged 15-64).

Note this is a crude measure as many young people are still dependent on their parents in their twenties, and many older people still work into their seventies.

Impacts of youthful and ageing populations:

  • Examine [consider an argument or concept in a way that uncovers the assumptions and interrelationships of the issue] the impacts of youthful and ageing populations.

Youthful populations are represented by population pyramids with a wide base of young children and a narrow peak of older people, while older populations often show more uniform numbers of people in the age categories.


Workforce – see THIS LINK  which includes a discussion of both China and India.

Medical – see THIS LINK which discusses health care costs in the USA

Investment – see THIS LINK which discusses investment in Turkey

Market – see THIS LINK which looks at Nigeria as an emerging market


Education – THIS LINK discusses the issues facing Malawi

Unemployment – THIS LINK discusses Egypt and Britain

Housing – THIS LINK looks generally at urban growth and housing issues

Population growth – THIS LINK deals with Niger’s massive growth rate

Crime – THIS LINK discusses crime in Honduras resulting from a large youthful population.


Features of ageing populations

Japan’s demographic collapse – Nikkai Asian Review

The benefits of an ageing population – The Australia Institute – Discussion paper by Judith Healy

For a review of the advantages and disadvantages from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) see this link

Take notes from this video about China’s ageing population:

and from this BBC article:

Are growing elderly populations really main cause of rising healthcare costs? This article from the Toronto Star says no. Also, are all elderly people actually dependent? Read this from the BBC about an active 91yr old!

Ultimately, you should be able to respond to this exam question:

Examine the impacts of either youthful or ageing populations. [15 Marks]

What do we do about changing fertility?

Here’s an infographic looking at Brazil’s falling fertility:

Pro-natalist policies (those seeking higher fertility rates)

This population simulator lets you play with country populations – have a go with France.

This article from the San Diego Tribune highlights France’s plight. Take notes.



France has employed various policies to try to reconcile family life with women working. It has some of the most extensive state-funded child care in Europe.

Mothers can take 16 weeks paid maternity leave for the first child, rising to 26 weeks for the third child. There is also a total of 26 months parental leave.

Last year, the government pledged more money for families with three children in an effort to encourage working women to have more babies.

Child care facilities are subsidised by the government. Younger children are entitled to full-day childcare (crèches). For children aged two to three there are pre-school programmes for which families pay on a sliding scale.

Birth rates: 1.9 – the second highest fertility rate in Europe.Taken from: BBC Parenthood Policies in Europe

Here, we see the French government getting hopeful about a Baby Boom

Watch this video about French fertility rates –


Anti-natalist policies (those seeking lower fertility rates)


China’s One-Child Policy

This video reflects on the effectiveness of the policy and some of the unintended consequences.

This video looks at the minority groups in China who were given special treatment with regards to the one child policy.


Impact of the policy – BBC News

Some unforeseen effects – BBC 2013

Calls for the policy to end – BBC 2013

China’s dilemma – BBC 2013

China’s one child policy impact analysed – BBC Nov 2013

The Telegraph in March 2013 ran an article about the social implications of being an only child more generally:

October 2015 – An article in The Guardian look at the ending of the policy and how it has affected China.

In 2016 the policy was relaxed and parents can now have up to two children. This BBC article looks at how the role of China’s family planning officers is changing.

Here is an exam style question: pro-natalist-question
“Government attempts to control population growth are ineffective.” Discuss this statement. [15 Marks]

Use the graphic organiser below to help write your response:

Graphic organiser for DP Geog extended answers

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