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What if fertility decline isn’t permanent? The need for an evolutionarily-informed approach to understanding low fertility

Burger, Oskar F., DeLong, John P. (2016) What if fertility decline isn’t permanent? The need for an evolutionarily-informed approach to understanding low fertility. Philosophical Transactions B: Biological Sciences, 371 (1692). ISSN 0962-8436. E-ISSN 1471-2970. (doi:10.1098/rstb.2015.0157) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2015.0157

Abstract

Demographic Transition Theory” assumes that fertility decline is irreversible. This commonly held assumption is based on observations of recent and historical reductions in fertility that accompany modernization and declining mortality. The irreversibility assumption, however, is highly suspect from an evolutionary point of view, because demographic traits are at least partially influenced by genetics and are responsive to social and ecological conditions. Nonetheless, an inevitable shift from high mortality and fertility to low mortality and fertility is used as a guiding framework for projecting human population sizes into the future. This paper reviews some theoretical and empirical evidence suggesting that the assumption of irreversibility is ill-founded, at least without considerable development in theory that incorporates evolutionary and ecologically processes. We offer general propositions for how fertility could increase in the future, including natural selection on high fertility variants, the difficulty of maintaining universal norms and preferences in a large, diverse, and economically differentiated population, and the escalating resource demands of modernization.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1098/rstb.2015.0157
Uncontrolled keywords: Evolutionary demography; Resource constraints; Demographic transition; Fertility transition
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Biological Anthropology
Depositing User: Oskar Burger
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2016 10:00 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 16:55 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/53897 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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