Global poverty falls

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So you know how having more people in the world necessarily means more famine, disease and poverty? No, me neither. As we’ve argued before on this blog, the trouble with this view is that assumes that each new human on this planet is only a “mouth to feed” and not also a contributing member of society and the economy. This view is also historically illiterate: today the vast majority of humanity lives in conditions of unbelievable wealth and luxury compared to their predecessors of only 100 years ago.

As if further proof was needed that more people does not necessarily mean more poverty, then the World Bank has provided it. According to this article in the Guardian, for the first time ever the “number of people living in extreme poverty is likely to fall for the first time below 10% of the world’s population in 2015”.  (Extreme poverty was for a… click here to read whole article and make comments



Canadian seniors outnumber children for first time ever

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Senior citizens in Canada now outnumber children for the first time, according to a Statistics Canada report released on Tuesday.  The figures represent a fundamental and unprecendented shift from historic trends, and it remains to be seen whether Canada has done enough planning to deal with the challenges it will bring.  Many demographers are worried that people still don’t fully appreciate the toll such drastic societal change will have on health systems, public services and the tax-paying workforce, and are not planning for change as urgently as they should be.   

On July 1, 2015, people 65 and older made up 16.1 per cent of the Canadian population, for the first time surpassing the 16 per cent who under 15.  And the numbers of senior citizens is only going to grow according to projections.  By July 1, 2024, they are expected to account for one-fifth (20.1 per cent)… click here to read whole article and make comments



Germany: population growth by immigration

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Over the last few weeks (nay, months) we have seen the large number of North African, Middle Eastern and Asian migrants and refugees trying to reach Europe by land and sea. Fleeing persecution, war or simply seeking a better life for themselves or their families, these migrants/refugees have created problems for the European Union as its leaders try to decide what to do with them.

However, as we’ve talked about before, there are those who see large numbers of young migrants as a cure for many western European nations’ demographic outlook which, due to low birthrates and longer-lived citizens, is looking unsustainable. Many countries’ welfare systems (and pension and healthcare systems) require a much greater number of working taxpayers than beneficiaries to work. When countries start to have a larger proportion of elderly citizens and a drop in the number of working-age taxpayers, then the continued viability of the tax/beneficiary system… click here to read whole article and make comments



Denmark: Do it for Mum!

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Last year Shannon blogged about an innovative ad campaign by Danish travel company, Spies Travel. This campaign, entitled “Do It for Denmark”, tried to use Denmark’s falling birth and fertility rates to inspire couples to take a romantic holiday and conceive while overseas. The ad was quirky, fun and suggested that not only was overseas travel with your partner fun, but that it was also the patriotic thing to do.

Fast-forward 18 months and the Danish crude birth rate stands at 9.9 births per 1000 people and the total fertility rate is 1.69 births per woman – still lower than the 2.1 children per woman considered the population replacement rate. So, to help out Denmark’s demographic woes (and presumably to also help with its sales – but I’m sure that this is a secondary consideration…) Spies Travel has reprised its marketing campaign with a… click here to read whole article and make comments



Asian immigrants prop up US population

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The findings of a Pew Research Centre Report released on Monday provide a 100-year look at immigration’s impact on American population growth and on racial and ethnic change, showing that immigration will shape and change the future population of America.  Without immigration the population would begin to decline over the next 50 years, with immigrants and their descendants projected to account for 88 percent of population growth by 2065, as shown in the following chart: 

Many demographers consider the United States fortunate to have its work force propped up thus, as the population ages and fertility rates fall.  Pew Research demographer Jeff Passel comments that: "Without the immigrants, the U.S. population would start decreasing... The big picture is that immigration has been the major demographic factor driving growth and change in the U.S. population over the last 50 years."

Between 1965 and 2015, new immigrants, their children and their… click here to read whole article and make comments



Returning to an ageing global workforce

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There are a couple of interesting charts to see in this article over at Business Insider about the decline in the number of those in the “working age” bracket throughout the world. For the last 50-odd years, there was a sharp increase in the global workforce numbers and this lead to “a pretty easy and natural source of [economic] growth for decades”.  

But this demographic tailwind has come to an end and the growth in working-aged people has peaked. In 2005 there were over 70 million people entering into the working aged cohort. But now (as you can see in a great chart – go check it out) that number is less than 50 million and by the 2030s the growth in the number of workers will be less than half what it was in 2005 and the same as it was in the 1960s. As Business Insider notes:

click here to read whole article and make comments



Demographic greenshoots in Detroit?

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The City of Detroit has been the topic of a few blogposts on Demography is Destiny over the last few years (see here, here, here and here). Over the last few decades the city has seen an unprecedented population decline that has resulted in economic collapse as the city authorities can no longer afford basic services for many areas of the patchily-occupied city.

However, amongst this bleak picture, there seems to be some good news: the reversal of the “white flight” from Detroit for the first time in decades. In 1950 there were over 1.5million white people in Detroit representing around 84 percent of the population. By 2010, this number had dropped to 55,298, a drop of 97% in 60 years. Since the bottom in 2010, Detroit’s white population has increased to 69,588 in 2014 or around 10.2 percent… click here to read whole article and make comments



Thinking through parenthood

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The purpose of education, particularly higher education, is a much debated question.  On the one hand it widens our thinking and introduces us to a range of perspectives, philosophies and the great cultural works of our time and throughout history.  On the other it prepares us practically for a job; how to balance accounts, build a house, or prescribe the right medicine.  It also often involves many years of study, assignments and exams, and costs either the individual or the taxpayers who fund it a significant amount of money.

Over the last few generations, increasing  numbers of women have become highly educated and successful in all sorts of careers that their great-grandmothers simply did not work within. With two other now largely stay-at-home mothers I went to the zoo yesterday; our educations were as a lawyer, doctor and a corporate human resources advisor.  

However, this does bring with it a much-discussed… click here to read whole article and make comments



Demographic change in Darfur

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Do you know what is happening at the moment in the Sudan? Do you know that the region of Darfur is currently undergoing what seems to be ethnic cleansing? Well I certainly didn't, but that is the contention of Eric Reeves, a professor of Smith College who has been writing on Sudan for the last 16 years. According to his recent piece in the Sudan Tribune, there are ongoing atrocities being committed in the North Darfur region which are arguably genocide and which are almost completely unreported in the outside world which would explain why we don't know much about it...

According to Reeves, these crimes include the mass rape of women and girls, the destruction of thousands of villages (3,300 in 2014 alone according to UN estimates), hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced (the amount of displaced persons and refugees from the area is around 3 million). How… click here to read whole article and make comments



Dementia numbers growing

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As the world continues to get older, the prevalence of diseases that the elderly tend to suffer from will also increase. Thus, it should really be no surprise that the latest report by Alzheimer’s Disease International entitled World Alzheimer Report 2015 has projected a steady increase in the number of suffers of dementia worldwide in the coming decades. The report notes that there are currently 900 million people in the world aged 60 years and over. This number will greatly increase by 2050 due to rising life expectancy and there will be a concomitant rise both in the number of people living with dementia and in the cost of caring for such people.

It is estimated that there are slightly fewer than 47 million people living with dementia worldwide in 2015. By 2030 this number will increase to 74.7 million and by 2050 it is expected that there will be 131.5… click here to read whole article and make comments


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Welcome to Demography Is Destiny. We launched this to counter two media memes: that humans are a cancer which is destroying our planet and that world population is spiralling to unsustainable levels. The real story is that intelligent and inventive human will rise to the challenge of climate change and that our real problem is the coming demographic winter. The editors of Demography is Destiny are Marcus and Shannon Roberts, who live in Auckland, New Zealand. Send them your comments and suggestions. 

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