stage D

stage type D

stage type D

The main theoretical reference to the works above, is Carroll Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope. Below is a part from his book describing different stage types of population growth. According to C. Quigley, stage type D is the last stage of population growth, where it no longer grows but rather declines.

Carroll Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope:

Most stable and primitive societies, such as the American Indians before 1492 or medieval Europe, have no great population problem because the birthrate is balanced by the death rate. In such societies both of these are high, the population is stable, and the major portion of that population is young (below eighteen years of age). This kind of society (frequently called Population Type A) is what existed in Europe in the medieval period (say about 1400) or even in part of the early modern period (say about 1700). As a result of the increased supply of food in Europe after 1725, and of men’s increased ability
to save lives because of advances in sanitation and medicine after 1775, the death rate began to fall, the birthrate remained high, the population began to increase, and the number of older persons in the society increased. This gave rise to what we have called the demographic explosion (or Population Type B). As a result of it, the population of Europe (beginning in western Europe) increased in the nineteenth century, and the major portion of that population was in the prime of life (ages eighteen to forty-five), the arms-bearing years for men and the childbearing years for women.

At this point the demographic cycle of an expanding population goes into a third stage (Population Type C) in which the birthrate also begins to fall. The reasons for this fall in the birthrate have never been explained in a satisfactory way, but, as a consequence of it, there appears a new demographic condition marked by a falling birthrate, a low death rate, and a stabilizing and aging population whose major part is in the mature years from thirty to sixty. As the population gets older because of the decrease in births and the increase in expectation of life, a larger and larger part of the population has passed the
years of hearing children or bearing arms. This causes the birthrate to decline even more rapidly, and eventually gives a population so old that the death rate begins to rise again because of the great increase in deaths from old age or from the casualties of inevitable senility. Accordingly, the society passes into a fourth stage of the demographic cycle (Population Type D). This stage is marked by a declining birthrate, a rising death rate, a decreasing population, and a population in which the major part is over fifty years of age.

It must be confessed that the nature of the fourth stage of this demographic cycle is based on theoretical considerations rather than on empirical observation, because even western Europe, where the cycle is most advanced, has not yet reached this fourth stage. However, it seems quite likely that it will pass into such a stage by the year 2000, and already the increasing number of older persons has given rise to new problems and to a new science called geriatrics both in western Europe and in the eastern United States.

As we have said, Europe has already experienced the first three stages of this
demographic cycle as a result of the Agricultural Revolution after 1725 and the
Sanitation-Medical Revolution after 1775. As these two revolutions have diffused outward from western Europe to more peripheral areas of the world (the lifesaving revolution passing the food-producing revolution in the process), these more remote areas have entered, one by one, upon the demographic cycle. This means that the demographic explosion (Population Type B) has moved outward from western Europe to Central Europe to eastern Europe and finally to Asia and Africa. By the middle of the twentieth
century, India was fully in the grasp of the demographic explosion, with its population shooting upward at a rate of about 5 million a year, while Japan’s population rose from 55 million in 1920 to 94 million in 1960. A fine example of the working of this process can be seen in Ceylon where in 1920 the birthrate was 40 per thousand and the death rate was 32 per thousand, but in 1950 the birthrate was still at 40 while the death rate had fallen to 12. Before we examine the impact of this development on world history in the twentieth
century let us look at two brief tables which will clarify this process.

The demographic cycle may be divided into four stages which we have designated by the first four letters of the alphabet. These four stages can be distinguished in respect to four traits: the birthrate, the death rate, the number of the population, and its age distribution. The nature of the four stages in these four respects can be seen in the following table:

The Demographic Cycle

Stage               A          B               C               D

Birthrate          High          High               Falling               Low

Death rate          High          Falling               Low               Rising

Numbers           Stable          Rising               Stable               Falling

Age                Many young     Many in prime          Many Middle-aged     Many old

Distribution          (Below 18)     (18-45)          (Over 30)          (Over 50)

The consequences of this demographic cycle (and the resulting demographic
explosion) as it diffuses outward from western Europe to more peripheral areas of the world may be gathered from the following table which sets out the chronology of this movement in the four areas of western Europe, central Europe, eastern Europe, and Asia:

Diffusion of the Demographic Cycle


Western          Central          Eastern

Dates          Europe          Europe          Europe          Asia

1700               A          A                    A               A

1800               B          A                    A               A


1850               B      |     B                    A               A


1900               C          B      |          B               A


1950               C          C                    B      |          B


2000               D          D                    C               B

In this table the line of greatest population pressure (the demographic explosion of Type B population) has been marked by a dotted line. This shows that there has been a sequence, at intervals of about fifty years, of four successive population pressures which might be designated with the following names:

Anglo-French pressure, about 1850

Germanic-Italian pressure, about 1900

Slavic pressure, about 1950

Asiatic pressure, about 2000

This diffusion of pressure outward from the western European core of Western Civilization can contribute a great deal toward a richer understanding of the period 1850-2000. It helps to explain the Anglo-French rivalry about 1850, the Anglo-French alliance based on fear of Germany after 1900, the free-world alliance based on fear of Soviet Russia after 1950, and the danger to both Western Civilization and Soviet Civilization from Asiatic pressure by 2000.