WEDNESDAY, 5 AUGUST 2015

What is the best environmental response to an expanding global population?

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Last week the United Nations released new global population projections for the upcoming century. As was reported in the Guardian newspaper in the UK, the continued growth of the world's population is expected to continue. By 2050, the UN predicts that it is “almost inevitable” that there will be 9.7 billion people on the planet. This is despite the global growth rate continuing to fall. Ten years ago the world population was expanding at 1.24% a year, it is now 1.18%. This population growth is becoming much more uneven however:

According to the study, nine countries will account for half the world’s population growth between now and 2050: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia,Tanzania, the US, Indonesia and Uganda.”

By 2050, there will be six very populous countries with over 300 million people:… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

MONDAY, 3 AUGUST 2015

How play is changing across generations

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Children's toys and play in general have changed dramatically over the last few generations. Being born in the mid 80's I just missed the digital explosion so had a largely 'device free' childhood. However, my brother who is just 7 years younger than me certainly spent a lot of time on his computer and gaming.  He also spends a lot more time than I do on apps and social media.

I remember being really excited to get up early before school to play 'solitaire' when we got our very first computer when I was about 9.  It didn't have the internet though - it was only for typing up assignments and we got that much later.  Showing my age perhaps - yet, I'm only in my early thirties.  The first iphone was only released in the United States 8 years ago!  The widespread availability of digital distractions, social media and phones is so new we hardly know what effect it… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

FRIDAY, 31 JULY 2015

Lower economic growth and lower interest rates for the 21st century?

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What does an ageing society mean economically? This question is becoming more pertinent as more developed countries become older, have fewer children and thus are likely to see a more top-heavy population pyramid in the years to come. The Market Realist website has recently published a series of papers analysing the likely economic trends of an ageing, industrialized country.

After discussing the phenomenon of an ageing world (something that regular readers of DID should be familiar with) the authors of the report predict that this will “keep global economic growth muted in the years to come”. By 2050 there are estimated to be 3.9 working age people for every person aged over 65. If this prediction proves to be true, then the ratio of workers to retirees will have plummeted over 100 years (the same ratio in 1950 was 11.75). This increasingly older global population will see low labour productivity levels and a lower propensity to spend (and a greater… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

WEDNESDAY, 29 JULY 2015

What can governments do to increase birthrates?

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In so many countries around the world today we see low birthrates, ageing populations and governments struggling to think up ways to ensure that there will be enough taxpayers to pay for future old age pension schemes and healthcare. As The Economist notes, there are many different ways that countries have sought to encourage their citizens to have more babies:

“In Singapore couples receive S$6,000 (US$4,450) for having one child, another S$6,000 for a second child and a further S$8,000 for a third. Families with babies go to the front of the queue for government housing, in which most Singaporeans live. In South Korea the state reminds lovers that they can marry cheaply, without throwing an expensive wedding. In Russia couples are encouraged to get it on for the sake of the motherland on an official "fertility day"; a patriotic woman who gives birth exactly nine months later might… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

MONDAY, 27 JULY 2015

China may soon move to ‘two child policy’

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It looks like China may further relax its one child policy, creating a ‘two child policy’ across the country.  The South China Morning Post last week reported that the changes may happen by the end of the year and mean that the majority of couples will be allowed to have two children.  Back in late 2013 we discussed the then relaxations to the one child policy, including changes to allow parents who were both only children to have a second child.  There have also been pilot schemes implemented which allow women in rural areas to have a second child under certain conditions, including when the first child is a girl. 

The impetus for now considering a two child policy across the country is increasing government concern about the impact of China’s ageing population and shrinking workforce on economic development.  The working-age population, being those aged 16 to 59, click here to read whole article and make comments


 

THURSDAY, 23 JULY 2015

Ageing populations, announcements and Happy Meals

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The current population projections for South Korea are pretty dire (as we've discussed before on this blog). With a fertility rate of about 1.2 children per woman, South Korea has one of the lowest birth rates in the world and is the fastest-aging country in the OECD. By 2026, one-fifth of the country is expected to be over theage of 65 years.

Not only will this radically change the make up of Korean society, it also will have an impact on the country's economy. This is of concern for all in the region as South Korea is the fourth largest economy in Asia. It is also of concern for the South Korean government. And so now the Government will announce “a new package of measures late this year to cope with the country's chronically low birthrate and aging population”. In a speech at an economic… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

MONDAY, 20 JULY 2015

Women have not always lived longer than men

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It turns out that women have not always lived longer than men.  A new study supported by the United States National Institute on Aging reveals that the trend only began during the turn of the 20th century.

For many, 1900 was a time of urbanisation and fast-moving technological change.  Access to electricity, automobiles, and indoor plumbing was not widespread, but they were just around the corner.  In the United States, life expectancy averages were just 46.3 for men and 48.3 for women, largely due to child mortality.

Today, across the European Union life expectancy is 75.3 years on average for men and 81.7 years on average for women. French women (85.0 years) and Swedish men (79.4 years) have the longest life spans, according to OECD data.  This fascinating chart also shows healthy life expectancy (as in how many years you can expect to function healthily in different countries).  Australia and New Zealand just scrape into… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

FRIDAY, 17 JULY 2015

What is going to happen to all those rest homes?

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Tauranga is one of New Zealand’s larger cities that has rapidly grown in the last few decades due to its wonderful climate (generally warm and fine), its fine beaches and the generally high quality of life that its residents enjoy. It has also become a city of choice for more elderly New Zealanders looking for somewhere to retire. It has therefore become a city with a large number of elderly residents and resthomes. This is causing some concern as social scientists warn of a future Tauranga full of “ghost suburbs and empty retirement villages”.

The rate of growth of elderly people in the Tauruanga area can be seen in the following figures:


 

WEDNESDAY, 15 JULY 2015

A sign of things to come…

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Is this perhaps what we have to look forward to as our population ages? The horror.

click here to read whole article and make comments

 

MONDAY, 13 JULY 2015

China’s forgotten children

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The purpose of preserving and protecting the family structure is largely to protect the vulnerable: children, the elderly and women (or men in some cases) who sacrifice present and future income to bring up their children and cultivate the ‘family life’ of the home. 

Last week I wrote about the horrifying numbers of elderly people dying alone undiscovered for weeks in Japan due to family structure and community breakdown.  

Another story has emerged out of China about staggering numbers of forgotten rural children.  It is again a story of family breakdown leading to society’s most vulnerable being forsaken – this time as a result of poverty and government imposed people flow rules.  

China was shocked last month by the suicide of four children abandoned by their parents. The children, aged 5 to 13, were found dead after drinking pesticide at… 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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