Why aren’t Chinese couples keen to have more children?

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In late 2013 we brought you the news that the Chinese Government was bringing in a new relaxation of its abominable one-child policy, allowing parents to have a second child if either one of them are single children themselves. This would allow tens of millions of couples to legally have another child if they so wanted. The aim was to reverse China's shrinking labour pool and to do something about the top-heavy Chinese demographic pyramid – too many older people supported by too few workers. Unfortunately, almost immediately I commented on demographers who thought that the relaxation of the rules will have little effect, a theme that was expanded upon by Shannon about six months ago. Dermont Grenham also wrote an excellent piece linking Chinese and Japanese social attitudes to family sizes which suggested that Chinese families weren't limiting their families to one child just… click here to read whole article and make comments



Catholic family size confusion

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On this blog we often talk about family size and the low - below replacement - fertility rate many countries are experiencing.  Pope Francis has recently made comments about family size which have made headlines around the world. Many things he says seem to do so, which is no surprise given his status as the leader of the Catholic Church and the respect that the world, including the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, give to that position. However, the media spin on his comments and the sentences that are 'cherry picked' out do often cause his meaning to be distorted, as does a lack of background in Catholic theological teachings on the part of readers.

As a 30 year old Catholic in the midst of having a family, I can say that I have never considered that Church teaching compels me to have a large family.  Yes, marriage must be open to life and… click here to read whole article and make comments



The best way to respond to the holocaust?

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Hello again everyone! Shannon and I took a couple of weeks break from blogging to concentrate on two boys, our respective jobs and enjoying a weekend at the beach at Pauanui in the Coromandel Peninsular (about 90mins drive from Auckland). It has been incredibly fine weather here in New Zealand since just before Christmas day and everyone has been enjoying the sun and heat. Well, everyone except the poor farmers, who will probably go straight from drought to flooding, and our children who have decided that sleeping in the heat and the light are not for them. So yes, it has been a tiring few weeks in our household. Such is life with young ones however.

Anyway, we are back on deck now and back into the swing of writing this blog, we hope you haven't missed your regular demography fix!

For today, I thought I'd share… click here to read whole article and make comments



Japanese Village of the Dolls

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From the weird, creepy and yet true file (a very bulky file) comes today’s blogpost story. Japan, as we have talked about many times before (you can search these blogposts for yourself, they are all there in the archives) has a demographic problem. In short, its people are not having enough babies to sustain the current population. Further, the country is not prepared to allow large-scale migration and so the population succour that this approach brings other nations with low brithrates – mainly in Western Europe – is missed in Japan.  As people are also living longer, the country is faced with a shrinking population and an ageing population.  As the Guardian notes the Japanese population decline is getting worse:

“The country’s skewed demographics were highlighted again recently in data showing that the number of newborn babies sank to a record low last year.

click here to read whole article and make comments



Retirement a distant dream for some

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In many cultures children have traditionally been expected to look after their elderly parents. I think it is lovely tradition that it would be a shame to lose. However, more and more elderly people are finding themselves working long past traditional retirement ages, largely because there are fewer and fewer children to support them.

Now the Singaporean government has actually actively legislated to encourage people to work longer.  It has just made it mandatory for companies to offer three more years of work to those turning 62, the official retirement age, and plans to extend that to five years by 2017.  It is the latest attempt to try to address the country's labour shortfall.  

Last year a committee for the employability of older workers also created an advertising campaign starring a 65-year-old lifeguard (see the image above), a 76-year-old assistant inventory manager and a 60-year-old salmon filleter.  The campaign… click here to read whole article and make comments



Where to now for European Immigration?

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Last week’s attacks in Paris have demonstrated again the potential dangers that many see in large scale immigration into Europe.  Even before the attacks took place, we have seen in Germany the rise of the “Pegida” movement which has been campaigning against what they claim is the ongoing Islamisation of Europe.  Tensions between native populations and immigrants are one of the downsides of large scale immigration, and yet Germany is one country which needs immigration to keep its population from falling due to its very low fertility rate. As we reported last year, immigration to Germany is going through what some describe as a “boom” and is now the second most popular destination for immigrants (after the US).  Yet many in Germany, and elsewhere in Europe, are worried about the large numbers of Muslim immigrants in their countries. Worries heightened by the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

As Caroline Wyatt of… click here to read whole article and make comments



London’s population milestone

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The biggest pressure is expected to be on housing, with an estimated 42,000 new homes needed every year to keep pace with population growth.

Just before the start of the Second World War London had the largest population in its history: just over 8.6 million people.  This peak was reached after two decades of extremely fast growth.  However, with the onset of war in September 1939 its population dropped with evacuations from the threat of bombing and men leaving to join the colours.  After the war, planners encouraged Londoners to move to new towns throughout England. By the late 1970s and early 1980s, London’s population had declined by two million people to 6.6 million.  Now, however London has rebounded in the last 30 years or so and is set to overtake the 1939 population peak according to the London Evening Standard. And according to Barney Stringer, director of planning consultancy Quod:

click here to read whole article and make comments



What does the rest of the century hold?

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To start the New Year, let’s have a look at the difficulty of predicting global population growth deep into the 21st century. This is important to remember when we consider what policies should be adopted based upon population predictions for decades away.  In short, trying to figure out what population a country or the world will have and which countries will grow and which will shrink is a tricky business. And this is not surprising when we consider the intensely personal nature of a couple’s decision to have a child and the myriad of factors that go into that decision: financial, religious, chance.  And of course that is just thinking about children that are planned by their parents.  Thus, we must be careful when we think and talk about population predictions and the policies crafted to deal with these predictions. (Particularly when those policies involve enforced sterilisation or abortion – as we see… click here to read whole article and make comments



Happy 2015!

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Dear readers, can you believe that it is 2015 already? We at Demography is Destiny hope that you have all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year break. Down here in New Zealand it is the summer break and most people take 2 - 3 weeks off at this time (many offices close which means that their employees have to take their annual leave now). We've had some fantastic weather over the last week or so which has been great for the various holiday festivities.

We had a lovely Chirstmas day with Shannon's family here in Auckland. Thomas enjoyed his first Christmas where he kind of knew what was going on ("Jesus' birthday!" which means "presents!") Henry is only six weeks old and so the relaxing break has not really materialised for us this year (babies don't seem to take a holiday from waking up in the night...who would've thought...) However, we are… click here to read whole article and make comments



Happiness is an elusive goal

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As we approach a new year, and you spend time with family and friends for the holidays, you might be considering some new goals for your children.  It is beneficial to have some consistent strategies for the diverse little personalities in your life.  However, parenting strategies can be highly confusing.  It wasn't until I had my first baby that I realised that there is practically a war on the internet between those who advocate 'demand feeding' and those who advocate aiming to create feeding routines - and that's just the advice for the first year of your child's life.  People get highly defensive, I think, because everyone wants to believe they are doing the very best for their child.  

The one mantra all parents can agree on is "I just want my child to be happy". Yet, ironically maybe the reason parenting has become so needlessly… 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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