With the spread of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, dramatic changes began to occur in the populations of industrializing countries. But do the changes that occurred in Western Europe and the United States have relevance for modern countries just entering the industrial age? Students should be able to evaluate and apply models to explain changes in global demographic patterns, and use their assessments to predict future needs.


  • To understand the classic demographic transition (DT) model
  • To explain assumptions and limitations of the classic DT model
  • To construct graphs of contemporary demographic change
  • To explain contemporary demographic patterns in the context of the classic DT model

Content Standards

AP Human Geography*: Unit II—Population Unit
B. Population growth and decline over time and space
4. Regional variations of demographic transitions

Student Activities

Lesson Resources

Transitions in World Population, p. 6 and pp. 7-11 (PDF: 320KB)

Population: A Lively Introduction, 4th edition (PDF: 260KB) [Note: The page numbers provided refer to the pages of the publication, not the pdf file.]

Central Concepts: Demographic transition model; birth rate; death rate; natural increase

Case Locations: Selected locations

This lesson plan is part of a teaching package, Making Population Real: New Lesson Plans and Classroom Activities.

* AP and the Advanced Placement Program are registered trademarks of the College Entrance Examination Board, which was not involved in the production of these lesson plans.