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



Dubai: a city over-run by males?

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Dubai’s gender imbalance is ‘unnatural’ according to a report released last week by the Dubai Statistics Centre.  The statistics show that 75.77% of Dubai’s population of approximately 2.2 million are men, and just 24.23% are women - second only to Qatar who has a higher gender imbalance still. 

Fortunately this isn’t a result of sex selection, but a huge transient expatriate-based workforce – one of the largest in the world. Statistics also show that two-thirds of the population is between the ages of 20-39. This makes a nice change from much of the rest of the world where the percentage of people in the young workforce is falling dramatically.  However, it still makes one wonder what family life - or the lack of it - is like in a country so dominated by working age men who are not accompanied by family members. 

The unique qualities women bring to society must be in… click here to read whole article and make comments



Does UK Labour have a UKIP problem?

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Matthew Goodwin, an associate professor at the University of Nottingham, has published a very interesting piece in the Financial Times about the rise of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) as a fourth national party in the UK.  The article draws heavily from his book entitled Revolt on the Right and argues that UKIP may not only split the right vote with the Conservatives but may also be appealing to traditional Labour voters.

“The events in Clacton [where the Conservative MP Douglas Carswell defected to UKIP] will be seen by many as validating one of the oldest myths about Ukip; that it is nothing more than a second home for disgruntled Conservatives. Mr Carswell’s defection will be especially welcomed on the left, where many argue Ukip is dividing the right and clearing the path for Labour’s return to power in 2015. This is… 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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