The Habitable PlanetHabitable Planet home page

Interactive Labs

Demographics Lab

Lessons > Population Momentum > Step 2

Now let's look at Italy, a country with a population structure almost the opposite to that of Nigeria. Make a prediction about how this difference in population structure might affect the growth of the population, given what you know about the ages at which people are able to bear children and the ages at which people are likely to die.

Apply the process laid out in Step 1 to Italy. Select Italy from the Country pull down menu, run the simulator with the default settings to 2050, and record the results in your Data Table. Predict what will happen when the average age of childbearing women is increased by 5 years (fewer teenage pregnancies) and record your prediction. Run the simulator, increasing the childbearing age by 5 and 15 years, and then decreasing it by 5 years, and record your results.

Return to the simulator and change the birth and death rates to those of the USA. Again, run the simulator for 150 years, observing what happens to Italy's population pyramid.

  1. Did the pattern of population change match your prediction? If not, why not? Compare the final population pyramid for Italy to the one you sketched of Nigeria. How do they compare, and why are they similar or different?
  2. How are Italy's numbers different from Nigeria's? What do you think accounts for the difference?
  3. Many Western European countries are giving monetary incentives to employees who have multiple children. Why would they do this? How would a baby boom change Italy's demographics?

© Annenberg Foundation 2014. All rights reserved. Legal Policy