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Population momentum for gradual demographic transitions

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Population momentum is the ratio of a population's ultimate size after a demographic transition to its initial size before the transition. For an instantaneous drop to replacement fertility, Nathan Keyfitz found a simple expression MK for the momentum. However, as Keyfitz pointed out, `no one thinks that any country will drop immediately to stationary reproduction patterns'. We present results concerning the momentum of a population whose demographic transition is completed within a finite time. First, we provide an exact analytical formula for such a population's momentum. Second, for rapid fertility transitions, we obtain a simple exact expression for momentum that reduces to Keyfitz's MK if the transition is instantaneous. We show, by example, that our simpler formulae are accurate approximations to population momentum for transitions that take as long as 100 years. Finally, we show that the speed of fertility decline makes a substantial difference to population momentum.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1999

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