MCDB 150 - Global Problems of Population Growth

Lecture 07 - Demographic Transition in Europe; Mortality Decline. European populations grew only slowly during the period 1200-1700; factors include disease and wars. Human feces and rotting animal remains were not sequestered and often contaminated drinking water. Cities were so filthy that more people died in them than were born. About a third of children died in infancy, many from abandonment and lack of care during wet-nursing. Children that survived were subjected to harsh discipline to control their tendency to sin. Ineffective and even harmful treatments, like blood-letting, were all that medicine could offer. Starting with Newton's Principia(1687) and the Enlightenment (eighteenth century), scientific attitudes began replacing religious ones: the biological and physical world became objects of study. Sanitation, hygiene and public health improved. Inoculation and vaccination were developed. The Industrial Revolution began. As death rates fell, population rose. While most believe that an increasing population is good, Malthus worries that population can grow faster than the food supply, trapping people in subsistence misery. (from

Lecture 07 - Demographic Transition in Europe; Mortality Decline

Time Lecture Chapters
[00:00:00] 1. Introduction: Stories about Bride Price
[00:03:27] 2. Review of Previous Session: Early Europe
[00:17:30] 3. Population Factors: Personal Cleanliness, Infanticide
[00:27:19] 4. Historic Misery, Disease, and Medicine
[00:36:55] 5. Further Aspects of 'Pre-Scientific' Life
[00:44:38] 6. Demographic Transition
[01:02:24] 7. Malthus

Lecture 7 - Demographic Transition in Europe; Mortality Decline
Instructor: Robert Wyman. Resources: Notes - Lecture 7 [pdf]. Transcript [html]. Audio [mp3]. Download Video [mov].

Go to the Course Home or watch other lectures:

Lecture 01 - Evolution of Sex and Reproductive Strategies
Lecture 02 - Sex and Violence Among the Apes
Lecture 03 - From Ape to Human
Lecture 04 - When Humans Were Scarce
Lecture 05 - Why Is Africa Different?
Lecture 06 - Malthusian Times
Lecture 07 - Demographic Transition in Europe; Mortality Decline
Lecture 08 - Demographic Transition in Europe; Fertility Decline
Lecture 09 - Demographic Transition in Europe
Lecture 10 - Quantitative Aspects
Lecture 11 - Low Fertility in Developed Countries
Lecture 12 - Human and Environmental Impacts
Lecture 13 - Fertility Attitudes and Practices
Lecture 14 - Demographic Transition in Developing Countries
Lecture 15 - Female Disadvantage
Lecture 16 - Population in Traditional China
Lecture 17 - Population in Modern China
Lecture 18 - Economic Impact of Population Growth
Lecture 19 - Economic Motivations for Fertility
Lecture 20 - Teen Sexuality and Teen Pregnancy
Lecture 21 - Global Demography of Abortion
Lecture 22 - Media and the Fertility Transition in Developing Countries
Lecture 23 - Biology and History of Abortion
Lecture 24 - Population and the Environment