Social, Economic & Political Effects

The video and text below look at the social, economic and political effects of population in LEDC and MEDC countries.

Social Effects

LEDC's - Pressure on land as more people move in. Conflicts of cultures from migrants can lead to civil wars. Pressure on medical systems and schools.

MEDC's - Lack of skilled workers due to ageing populations. Pressure on medical system.

Economic Effects

LEDC's - Lack of money for services due to strain on government

MEDC's - Fewer people to work so higher taxes need to be paid to cover costs of pensions and medical care.

Political Effects

LEDC's - Government are not able to finance growing population or provide work for them so informal sector becomes dominant

MEDC's - Government forced to charge people more taxes to cover growing costs of an elderly population

Contract between MEDC's and LEDC's

The table shows the contrasts between MEDC’’s and LEDC’s in terms of population pyramids, population growth and stage in the Demographic Transition Model (DTM)

Population Growth In many MEDC’s natural increase is low due to low birth rates and low death rates In LEDC’s there has been a massive population explosion due to high birth rates and lower death rates
Stage of the DTM Stage 4/5 Stage 2/3
Population Pyramids The population pyramid of an MEDC would have  a small bottom third, a larger middle and small top third The population pyramid of an LEDC would have a large bottom third which gradually decreases in size towards the top

Strategies for coping

Examples can be found below of what strategies have been used to cope with population change


  • Advertising for workers from other countries to come and work in sparsely populated areas such as the Shetlands (UK example)
  • Tax incentives for large families to increase birth rates in France
  • Banning contraceptives
  • Extending urban areas to encourage people to move away from densely populated cities in the Netherlands


  • Indonesian transmigration policy whereby people are offered incentives to move to one of the sparsely populated islands
  • China’s one child policy whereby each couple are only allowed to have one child per household
  • Settlements being built away from over populated areas in Brazil

Managing rapid population growth

A large population has many effects. It’s not always “the more the merrier”.


  • Services like healthcare and education can’t cope with the rapid increase
  • Children have to work to help support their large families
  • There aren’t enough houses for everyone, so people are forced to live in makeshift houses
  • There are food shortages if the country can’t grow or import enough food


  • There aren’t enough jobs for the number of people in the country so unemployment rises
  • There’s increased poverty because more people are born into families that are already poor and have no jobs
  • More young people working means staff with short hours


  • Most of the population is made up of young people so the government focuses on policies important to the young.
  • There are fewer older people so pensions become less important to the government
  • The government has to make policies to bring population growth under control

Population (Growth) Management

Countries need to control rapid population growth and they also need to develop in a way that’s sustainable. This means developing in a way that allows people today to get the things that they need but without stopping people in the future from getting what they need. Here are examples of population policies.

Birth Control Programmes

  • Birth control programmes aim to reduce the birth rate.
  • Some governments do this by having laws about how many children couple are allowed to have (china). They can also help couple plan (and limit) how many children they have by offering free sexual education and free contraception.
  • This helps towards sustainable development because it means the population won’t get much bigger. There won’t be many more people using up resources today, so there will be some left for the future generations.

Immigration Laws

  • Immigration laws aim to control immigration (people moving to a country and living there permanently)
  • Governments can limit the number of people that are allowed to immigrate. They can also be selective about who they let in. E.g. they can let in fewer people of child bearing age, and few women. This means fewer children and therefore a slower growth.
  • This helps towards sustainable development because it slows down population growth rate.

Ageing Populations

The population structure of an ageing population has more older people than younger because few people are being born, and more people are surviving to old age. Countries with an aging population are usually the richer countries in Stage 5 of the DTM (demographic transition model). Older people (over 65) are supported by working population they’re dependent on them. So in a country with an aging population there are a higher proportion of people of people who are dependent. This has economic and social impacts, which can affect a country’s future development.

Economic Impacts

  • Taxes would go up because there are more pensions to pay for
  • The economy would grow more slowly, as less money is being spent on things to help the economy grow; instead it’s being spent on retirement homes

Social Impacts

  • Health care services are stretched
  • Demand for unpaid family carers
  • Less children as there’s less money as they spend it on their older relatives
  • Pensions are lowered

Strategies to cope with an ageing population

  • Encouraging larger families, e.g. in Italy, women are offered cash rewards to have more children. This increases the number of younger people to support the older ones.
  • Encouraging the immigration of young people from other countries. This increase the working population so there are more people paying taxes to support the ageing population
  • Raising the retirement age – people will stay in work longer and have a shorter pension, and will keep contributing to state pensions
  • Raising taxes for the working population – this would increase the amount of money available to support the ageing population.

These strategies help towards a sustainable development as the help reduce the impacts of ageing.

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