Lecture DescriptionIn addition to cultural controls acting to maximize fertility, there are important, and often competing, interests of individual families to limit fertility. Unwanted births are dealt with by infanticide in many cultures. Additionally, fertility is regularly controlled by limiting marriage within a culture. Another very important factor in population growth, especially in the tropics, is food availability. Heavy rains in the tropics wash nutrients away, leaving deficient soils. Much of Africa is either too dry or too wet. Africa was, until recently, not densely populated. Since land was available and because more children meant more security and power, a culture evolved that emphasized high fertility, justified by the need for descendants to pacify ancestors. Sub-Saharan (tropical) Africa has the highest birth rates in the world. As an example, Niger, just south of the Sahara desert has a fertility rate of almost eight children per woman while, in the Mediterranean zone, Morocco, just north of the Sahara, but also a Sunni Muslim country, has a rate of only 3.3 children per woman.
Course DescriptionThis survey course introduces students to the important and basic material on human fertility, population growth, the demographic transition and population policy. Topics include: the human and environmental dimensions of population pressure, demographic history, economic and cultural causes of demographic change, environmental carrying capacity and sustainability. Political, religious and ethical issues surrounding fertility are also addressed. The lectures and readings attempt to balance theoretical and demographic scale analyzes with studies of individual humans and communities. The perspective is global with both developed and developing countries included.
- Evolution of Sex and Reproductive Strategies
- Sex and Violence Among the Apes
- From Ape to Human
- When Humans Were Scarce
- Why Is Africa Different?
- Malthusian Times
- Demographic Transition in Europe; Mortality Decline
- Demographic Transition in Europe; Fertility Decline
- Demographic Transition in Europe
- Quantitative Aspects
- Low Fertility in Developed Countries (Guest Lecture by Michael Teitelbaum)
- Human and Environmental Impacts
- Fertility Attitudes and Practices
- Demographic Transition in Developing Countries
- Female Disadvantage
- Population in Traditional China
- Population in Modern China
- Economic Impact of Population Growth
- Economic Motivations for Fertility
- Teen Sexuality and Teen Pregnancy
- Global Demography of Abortion
- Media and the Fertility Transition in Developing Countries (Guest Lecture by William Ryerson)
- Biology and History of Abortion
- Population and the Environment
Source: Yale Open Courses
Filmed: Spring 2009
Why should I sign up?
- Follow popular educators and their latest work
- Get updates and notification from educators
- Interact with educators even comment on their work