MCDB 150 - Global Problems of Population Growth

Lecture 11 - Low Fertility in Developed Countries. Concerns about low fertility have been present in many countries for at least 100 years. A large population was considered essential to national power. But the issue is never simply a shortage of warm bodies: overall the world population has increased dramatically over this period and untold numbers would immigrate, if allowed. The issue is the number of the 'right sort' of people, defined as those having preferred national, religious, racial, ethnic, or language characteristics. Fertility levels are below replacement in many economically advanced countries. As a result, these countries are aging; medical and retirement costs are increasing. Countries must either raise fertility, accept immigrants, or adapt to a smaller, older population. Policies to raise fertility have not been very effective, except in severe dictatorships. To keep the ratio of working age people to dependents constant, hundreds of millions of immigrants would be required such that 70-80% of the population of receiving countries would be immigrants and their children. Adaptation is probably best, but the required changes (raise retirement age, tax the pension benefits of the wealthy, etc.) are politically difficult. (from

Lecture 11 - Low Fertility in Developed Countries

Time Lecture Chapters
[00:00:00] 1. Introduction
[00:06:34] 2. Low Fertility
[00:14:43] 3. Demographers and Low Fertility
[00:24:05] 4. Errors in Demographic Interpretation
[00:32:56] 5. Policy Responses to Low Fertility
[00:41:40] 6. Immigration and Demography
[00:59:10] 7. Summary and Conclusions
[01:01:06] 8. Questions

Lecture 11 - Low Fertility in Developed Countries
Guest Lecture by Michael Teitelbaum. 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