Jewish births “Trending Upwards” in Israel

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With the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza showing no signs of abating, despite the best efforts of the UN Secretary-General, I thought that this piece from the Jerusalem Post dealing with Israeli demography was interesting and challenged many assumptions that I had.  The author is Barbara Sofer, a Jerusalem writer who serves as the Israel director of public relations for Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America. She makes some interesting personal observations in the course of explaining her interview with one Yoram Ettinger, a former Israeli ambassador.  Sofer explains that the conversation took a turn that she was not expecitng:

“I expect us to discuss Diaspora-Israel relations, but instead we talk mostly about babies – who is having them and why.

When it comes to Middle East demography, Ettinger maintains that most of us have our facts backwards. We’ve become so accustomed to thinking… click here to read whole article and make comments


MONDAY, 21 JULY 2014

New Zealand among most ethnically diverse countries

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New Zealand has a uniquely ethnically diverse society, according to a recently released New Zealand demographical report.  I was surprised to learn that as many as one in four people living in New Zealand in 2013 was born in another country. In fact, Auckland (New Zealand’s largest city) is one the most immigrant-dependent cities in the world, with 39 percent of Aucklanders born overseas.

The report, entitled Our Futures: Te Pae Tawhiti, was released by an expert panel of the Royal Society of New Zealand and analyses data from the 2013 Census along with other sources. 

In particular, it reports a rapid growth in the numbers of New Zealanders who are Asian.  Making up just under 12 percent of the population, these communities are now significantly larger than Pasifika communities (7.4 percent), despite the largest Pacific population in the world residing in Auckland. New Zealand is also increasingly turning its economic focus… click here to read whole article and make comments



Niue: A dying Island

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Niue is a tiny island in the South Pacific, lying to the south of Samoa, to the East of Tonga and about 2,400 km north of New Zealand. About 1400 people live on “The Rock”, an island about 2/3rds the size of the Isle of Wight, or three times larger than the Island of Manhattan. It is a small, thinly populated island, one of many throughout the Pacific. However, this is not the end of the story. While 1400 live on Niue, about 15 times that number live in New Zealand. According to Wikipedia, 90-95% of all Niuean people live in Aotearoa. Nieu is an extreme example of the incredible mobility of people in the late 20th century. It may also be an example of a people that has not died out, but has simply moved on (I will not say to greener pastures because I could conceivably be accused of bias…)

The click here to read whole article and make comments



Japan faces pilot shortage

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The latest demographic news from Japan is good news for pilots, but bad news for travellers. Thousands of flights in Japan could be cancelled this summer because the country’s rapidly aging population has led to a nationwide shortage of pilots. 

Is this the first of many such shortages to come in the nation’s future due to its rapidly aging population?   Worryingly, we have often described Japan’s demographic outlook as the ‘canary in the coal mine’ as a lot of the Western world is heading the same way – could this be a situation much of the world soon faces?

The New Zealand Herald reports that:

Peach Aviation, a Japan-based budget airline, has said that more than 2000 flights between May and October may be affected by pilot shortages. It has already cancelled 448 flights since last month.

Vanilla Air, another low-cost carrier, recently announced the cancellation of… click here to read whole article and make comments


SUNDAY, 13 JULY 2014

Human Trafficking to China

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We’ve mentioned before on this blog the horrific human trafficking that is going on into China at least in part due to that country’s one child policy. That blogpost discussed the women being abducted from North Korea, but a recent piece by the AFP shows that it is not limited to that country. Instead, women in all of the countries that neighbour China are in danger of being whisked away to the Middle Kingdom and sold into sexual slavery.  As the AFP notes, it is all about the gender imbalance haunting China due to its horrific one-child policy:

“Vulnerable women in countries close to China -- not only Vietnam but also North Korea, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar -- are being forced into marriages in the land of the one-child policy, experts say.

China suffers from one of the worst gender imbalances in the world as… click here to read whole article and make comments



Feminists vs population controllers

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When I think of a militant ‘feminist’ I tend to think of someone who sees too many children as getting in the way of a woman’s success in the workplace and generally in life.  While this might be true, even militant feminists do not think that women should be forced or encouraged not to have children if they should happen to want them. Interestingly, because international feminist groups naturally support the autonomy of women, they now find themselves in opposition to the population control advocates they have previously partnered with in support of widespread abortion and birth control rights.

The clash became apparent during the inaugural meeting of a new United Nations environmental body that met for the first time last month to discuss universal development goals and air pollution, among other agenda items.  For many, the solution to environmental woes is still the continued reduction of… click here to read whole article and make comments



Big News! Our #2 is on the way!

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Hello everyone! Winter has well and truly arrived here in New Zealand. It is blowing hard from the East this morning. So hard in fact that I needed to get up onto the carport roof in my pyjamas to screw down a sheet of roofing that was threatening to fly off! (Luckily it was polycarbonate and not sheet metal!) To be truthful, such an event was not entirely unexpected as I had personally put the carport roof up only a few months ago. I was surprised that it took this long to threaten to come off actually…

Anyway, we have a piece of good news to share with you all today: Shannon is pregnant. Yes, number two is with us and is due to be born in mid-November. (Just think of it as our contribution to the overpopulation of the planet, the depletion of natural resources. We’re just selfish that way I guess…)We are off to have a scan tomorrow… click here to read whole article and make comments


MONDAY, 30 JUNE 2014

World Cup 2014 Demography

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Who’s been enjoying the Football World Cup in Brazil? Perhaps you haven’t been enjoying it that much if you are an English supporter, or an Italian supporter or a Spanish supporter… but I’m pretty sure that the rest of us have all been enjoying it very much. The public broadcaster down here in NZ has even got the rights to air about a third of the games free-to-air which has been great to watch over breakfast (although I have to admit that I haven’t got up at 3am to watch the earlier fixtures yet!)  Anyway, I thought it was a good time to shoehorn the World Cup into a demography article.

We often hear about how popular football is, and looking at the nations that make up the last 16 (or did, sorry Uruguay, Mexico, Chile and Greece) we get an idea at why it is the most popular sport on Earth.  According… click here to read whole article and make comments



World’s Refugee Population Grows

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Last week it was World Refugee Day (does anyone know who authorises which cause gets which day? And are the same person who decides which cause of the week it is?). Unfortunately, this year the day is marked by a particularly sad statistic: for the first time since the World War II era, the world’s refugee population (including asylum seekers and internally-displaced persons) has passed the 50 million mark. (Of course that is, as a proportion of the global population much less than the level in the 1940s, but as a human tragedy it is quite as terrible.)

This is according to the global trends report released by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The press release states that:

“By the end of 2013, an estimated 51.2 million people worldwide were considered to be forcibly displaced due to persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or human rights violations. These included… click here to read whole article and make comments


FRIDAY, 20 JUNE 2014

American Dream merely a fantasy

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Are rags-to-riches stories really the birth-right of every American?  Maybe not.  New social mobility statistics certainly aren’t supporting the theory of the ‘American Dream’ – the long claimed ability to transcend one's circumstances and achieve greater success.  America is, in fact, less socially mobile than most developed countries. 

It is of concern to every country to try to understand the characteristics that we need to encourage in our societies to help the poor to rise and our children to do well. Social scientists are trying to discover just this to understand why America is not the ‘land of opportunity’ it should be.  Interestingly, an on-going Harvard study has found that

…some of the strongest predictors of upward mobility are correlates of social capital and family structure. For instance, high upward mobility areas tended to have higher fractions of religious individuals and fewer children raised by… 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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