On the Scale of Global Demographic Convergence 1950–2000



The second half of the twentieth century saw global demographic change of unprecedented magnitude, with pronounced falls in both mortality and fertility in many developing countries. This article assesses the extent to which these changes have led to the convergence of demographic patterns around the world. It considers not just the levels of fertility and mortality in each country at different points in time, but also the size of each population. It also disaggregates China and India into their constituent provinces and states in order to provide estimates for units more typical of the size of the populations of other countries. The note presents proportions of the world's population according to the levels of life expectancy and total fertility they experienced in the early 1950s, the late 1970s, and around 2000. The graphs and tables thus produced give a convenient and novel way to view the scale and nature of demographic convergence over the last 50 years.