More Hip Op-erations to come?

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It is not news that older people are quickly becoming a proportionately larger group in most countries around the world.  So is this making their quality of life better or worse than in years gone by?  The newly released Global AgeWatch Index ranks 96 nations on the basis of the quality of life and social and economic wellbeing of older people (over 60s).

Those who worked on the study warn that the unprecedented rate and speed of population ageing presents policy-makers with a challenge that they must act on quickly if they want to meet the needs of their citizens.  They suggest understanding the resource available in older people, appreciating what they can offer to society, as well as making sure infrastructure supports older people.

Professor Asghar Zaidi, from the Centre for Research on Ageing at the University of Southampton, led the development of the Index, working alongside HelpAge International.  He comments that "societies… click here to read whole article and make comments



The emptying of a nation

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If you have any wondered what a sharply decreasing population looks like in map form then you need look no further! I’ve found these maps on the rocketnews24 website which were taken in turn from the Nihon Keizai Shimbun website.  Among other things, the website displays a map which depicts the expected changes in the female (child bearing aged) population by 2040 by municipality (see above). As the rocketnews24 authors state:

“ doesn’t bode well for the country. In fact, it’s causing some analysts to predict the ‘annihilation’ of 895 municipalities (a little over half of them) by 2040 due to depopulation.”

The map shows the population change in women ages 20 to 39 years old. These are the women expected to bear the majority of Japan’s future children, so fewer women means fewer babies. Which in turn means fewer women which in turn means fewer babies and so… click here to read whole article and make comments



Chinese advice on how to control population growth

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Shannon’s last post on the new population predictions scaring the world and generating many headlines is an excellent read. One of the scariest things I think about these predictions is how they might be used by policy makers and politicians to agitate for population control measures. Especially if those policy makers come from a country that has the most brutal population control measures in the world: China. Well, right away China is jumping in and pointing to its “stellar” population control measures as an example to us all. According to the People Daily Online:

“A Chinese representative on Monday called on the international community to work together to include the issue of population in the post-2015 development agenda. Li Bin, minister in charge of the National Health and Family Planning Commission of China, made the appeal here at a special session of the… click here to read whole article and make comments



New United Nations population predictions alarm the West

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In the last couple of weeks you have probably read numerous alarmist articles discussing the United Nation’s new population predictions – headlines like “Climate change isn’t the problem. A population bomb is killing us”. “World population to hit 11bn in 2100 – with 70% chance of continuous rise” and “As World’s Population Booms, Will Its Resources Be Enough for Us?”.  It’s all sounding very much like the constant warnings of a population bomb back in the 90’s and early 2000’s – warnings that have since almost completely quietly faded away.

The reason behind the headlines is the new United Nations and University of Washington study published in the journal Science which finds that it is highly likely there will be 9.6 billion people on Earth by 2050, and up to 11 billion or more by 2100. The research used a new "probabalistic" statistical method, and is a reversal from United Nations… click here to read whole article and make comments



NZ Election Results 2014

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You might not have realised it, but on Saturday night New Zealand went to the polls to elect a new Parliament for 2014-2017. After what was described as one the most extraordinary campaigns in New Zealand’s history it was expected to be go down to the wire.  It was expected to be a tight between the governing National Party going for a third term in government on the centre-right, with its support partners of ACT, United Future and the Maori Party and on the other hand the centre-left pairing of Labour and the Greens with perhaps the new Internet/Mana Party and the mercurial Winston Peter’s NZ First Party. According to New Zealand’s proportional voting system, coalition deals are necessary to form a government as it is very hard to secure a majority of votes and therefore seats in the House of Representatives. In the end, it was thought that there would be a… click here to read whole article and make comments



How to pay for an ageing Japan?

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If the population structure of many western societies is changing then the existing economic and welfare supports in place may need to also change. As we get further into the twenty-first century and as many nation’s populations get more top heavy, can these nations still afford the same public health and pension schemes? After all, there will be a greater demand for these services and a smaller pool of taxpayers to pay for it.

In many respects, the world is looking at Japan for answers to cope with ageing populations as Japan is considered a forerunner in having to deal with such matters. As Nathan Lewis at Forbes notes:

“In 1989, 11.6% of the population of Japan was over 65. In 2006, it hit 20%. In 2055, it is expected to reach 38%.”

The trouble is that the programs put in place to take care of the elderly in… click here to read whole article and make comments



Singles majority of adult population in USA

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Are you in the USA and looking for love? Well according to Bloomberg, the next person you meet in the USA over the age of 16 is more likely than not to be single. This is the first time that the proportion of the US population over the age of 16 is single since such records have been kept (beginning in 1976).

“Some 124.6 million Americans were single in August, 50.2 percent of those who were 16 years or older, according to data used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in its monthly job-market report. That percentage had been hovering just below 50 percent since about the beginning of 2013 before edging above it in July and August. In 1976, it was 37.4 percent and has been trending upward since.”

How is this majority of the adult population who are single broken down? Well, about 3 out of 10… click here to read whole article and make comments



An aging prison population poses problems

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Prisons around the world are fast finding that they need to learn to deal with older inmates – one more societal institution to be affected by the aging population.  A recently released study undertaken by the Urban Institute found that the number of prisoners aged 50 or older in prison in America increased by 330% from 1994 to 2011.  An even steeper growth curve is expected in the coming years.  By 2019 the report estimates that the proportion of older prisoners will have risen to 28%.

Exacerbating the problem, prisoners are particularly at risk of accelerated aging and deterioration of health due to the impact of living in a prison environment, along with other demographical factors, which means that their physiological age may be up to 15 years greater than their actual age.

This is of concern not only because it is much more expensive for society to ‘keep’ older inmates (double… click here to read whole article and make comments



Burma’s Census Results

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The numbers from Burma’s first census in more than 30 years are coming out and the result is a drastic revision of that country’s population.  For many years, according to Foreign Policy, the country’s military dictatorship had estimated that the population was about 60 million people. Well it turns out that that was an overly generous estimation: by 9 million people.  Instead of 60 million, it turns out that there are only 51 million people living in Burma.  So why was the estimate so wrong? For one, it has been hard to get accurate data out of the country:

“Between independence in 1948 and this year's census, the country formerly known as Burma had only tried counting its entire population twice: in 1973 and 1983. In general, accurate demographic information has been hard to come by in a country that was largely closed off under military dictatorship until 2011.”

click here to read whole article and make comments



The highest abortion rate in Asia

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Vietnam has one of the highest abortion rates in the world.  According to Aljazeera, the proportion of pregnancies that end in the deliberate killing of the foetus is close to half in the South East Asian nation:

“Today, despite having greater access to contraception and reproductive health services, abortion rates in Vietnam are the highest in Asia and among the highest in the world.

According to doctors from Hanoi's Central Obstetrics Hospital, who presented a report last May at the Franco-Vietnam Gynaecology and Obstetrics Conference, 40 percent of all pregnancies in Vietnam are terminated each year.

Abortions in the first 22 weeks are still legal, affordable and available upon request at public hospitals and private health facilities across the country. According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Compendium of Research on Reproductive Health in Vietnam, two-thirds of terminations in Vietnam today are a result of unwanted… 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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