Licchavi Lyceum


Licchavi Lyceum

Population Theories

Population theories attempt to explain the trends and patterns of population growth, including fertility rates, mortality rates, and migration. These theories provide insights into the demographic changes in societies worldwide and help policymakers develop effective policies and strategies to manage population growth. In this article, we will explore some of the most prominent population theories.

Malthusian Theory

The Malthusian Theory, developed by Thomas Malthus in the 18th century, asserts that population growth will outpace food production and lead to poverty, famine, and social unrest. Malthus argued that population growth would increase geometrically, while food production would increase arithmetically, leading to a population crisis. Malthus advocated for population control through delayed marriage, abstinence, and contraception.

Demographic Transition Theory

The Demographic Transition Theory, developed in the 1920s, explains the changes in population growth as societies transition from agrarian to industrial economies. According to this theory, as societies develop economically, fertility rates decrease, and life expectancy increases. The Demographic Transition Theory posits that societies go through four stages of population growth: high stationary, early expanding, late expanding, and low stationary. Each stage is characterized by changes in fertility, mortality, and migration rates.

Dependency Ratio Theory

The Dependency Ratio Theory, developed in the 1950s, argues that population growth affects economic development by changing the proportion of dependents to working-age individuals. According to this theory, high fertility rates create a large number of dependents, which can lead to a strain on the economy. The Dependency Ratio Theory posits that reducing fertility rates can lead to a decrease in the proportion of dependents, which can stimulate economic growth.

World Systems Theory

The World Systems Theory, developed in the 1970s, explains population growth as a consequence of global economic development. According to this theory, population growth is linked to economic globalization, which has led to the growth of labor markets and the increase in migration. The World Systems Theory posits that population growth is a result of the interaction between global economic systems, political structures, and cultural norms.


Population theories offer valuable insights into the factors that influence population growth and demographic changes. These theories help policymakers develop effective policies and strategies to manage population growth, reduce poverty, and promote economic growth. By understanding these theories, we can better understand the complex relationships between population growth, economic development, and social change, and develop sustainable solutions to address these issues.