Teacher's Guide: Discussion Questions

Population Growth Through Natural Increase, 1775–2000

Source: Population Reference Bureau.

  1. What were the levels of birth and death rates in less developed countries and in more developed countries in 1775?
  2. Describe how the birth and death rates in the less developed and more developed countries changed from 1775 to 2000.


  1. What are the components of population change?
  2. How does the world population growth rate today compare with the growth rate at other times in history?
  3. What were the causes of the "mortality revolution" in Europe and North America?
  4. Compare and contrast the demographic transition in more developed and less developed countries.
  5. How are population projections made?


The rate of natural increase is the difference between birth and death rates. It measures the degree to which a population is growing. Since birth and death rates are measured as the number of births (or deaths) occurring per 1,000 population, the difference is divided by 10 to convert this rate into a percentage.

  1. Using the birth and death rates from the World Population Data Sheet, calculate the rate of natural increase for five countries or regions. (Due to rounding, answers may differ slightly from the rates of natural increase on the data sheet.)
  2. Find five countries that appear to have reached the fourth stage of the demographic transition (in which death rates are higher than birth rates).


  1. What technological, economic, and social factors might cause levels of mortality and fertility to change?
  2. What do you think the prospects are for the changes in birth and death rates in the United States?
  3. Examine the projections shown in "Future of World Population Growth: Three Scenarios, 2000 to 2050." Which projection do you think is most likely? Why?