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Kingsley Davis

[1908 - 1997]

Kingsley Davis
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Kingsley Davis was one of the pioneers in social demography. He was internationally recognized for his expertise in world population growth and resources, the history and theory of international migration, world urbanization, demographic transition and population policy. And he was especially famous for his theory of the demographic transition. This holds that the process of industrialization first causes mortality to decline, leading to a substantial rate of population growth and only later causes fertility to fall, leading eventually to the cessation of population growth. He coined the terms »population explosion« and »zero population growth«. Davis is especially remembered for his forceful critique of family-planning programs intended to achieve zero population growth. He was a principal exponent of the use of incentives in fertility control policies. He served as a consultant on population policies and demographic information in India, Nepal, Bahrain and Latin American countries.

Davis wrote influential articles on the structure of family and kinship, including the topics of jealousy and sexual property, the sociology of prostitution, and illegitimacy. He had an early interest in structural-functional analysis, which resulted in his famous and controversial article on stratification, co-authored with Wilbert Moore, and his equally famous presidential address to the American Sociological Association in 1959.


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Editor dr. Albert Benschop
Social & Behavioral Studies
University of Amsterdam
Created June, 1996
Last modified 03rd April, 2017