Consequences of a universal European demographic transition on regional and global population distributions

Working paper n°: 68

Author(s): Vegard Skirbekk, Marcin Stonawski, Guido Alfani

Year: 2014

ABSTRACT During the demographic transition that in Europe tended to take place from the early 19th to the end of the 20th century, the population in European countries and its overseas offshoots increased by a factor of five or less, which is low compared to the increase now taking place in most other regions of the world. This study provides simulations showing what global and regional population sizes would be if the rest of the world experienced similar population growth patterns as were observed in Europe. European culture distinguished itself through choices that led to the European marriage pattern, characterized by late marriage, significant shares not marrying, low levels of extramarital childbearing, and comparatively low fertility. One important consequence was the relatively low population growth characterizing the cultures, religions, and ethno-linguistic groups where the European marriage pattern was dominant.

Vegard Skirbekk

Columbia University and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health


Marcin Stonawski

IIASA and Krakow University of Economics


Guido Alfani

Dondena Centre and IGIER, Università Bocconi


Keywords: Demographic transition; demographic simulations; European marriage pattern; Europe; fertility; transition multiplier; nineteenth century; twentieth century; historical demography


The paper may be downloaded here.
















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