How did the invention of agriculture affect human birth and death rates? How did it affect human population growth?

(2) Answers

Major changes in the human population first began during the 1700s in Europe and North America. First death rates fell, followed somewhat later by birth rates. Death Rates Fall Several advances in science and technology led to lower death rates in 18th century Europe and North America: New scientific knowledge of the causes of disease led to improved water supplies, sewers, and personal hygiene. Better farming techniques and machines increased the food supply. The Industrial Revolution of the 1800s led to new sources of energy, such as coal and electricity. This increased the efficiency of the new agricultural machines. It also led to train transport, which improved the distribution of food. For all these reasons, death rates fell, especially in children. This allowed many more children to survive to adulthood, so birth rates increased. As the gap between birth and death rates widened, the human population grew faster. Birth Rates Fall It wasn’t long before birth rates started to fall as well in Europe and North America. People started having fewer children because large families were no longer beneficial for several reasons. As child death rates fell and machines did more work, farming families no longer needed to have as many children to work in the fields. Laws were passed that required children to go to school. Therefore, they could no longer work and contribute to their own support. They became a drain on the family’s income. Eventually, birth rates fell to match death rates. As a result, population growth slowed to nearly zero.


SHORT ANSWER It allowed families provide for more children so birth rates went up as food production rates went up and lowered death rates greatly reducing starvation.

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