TUESDAY, 8 JULY 2014

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


 

TUESDAY, 8 JULY 2014

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


 

TUESDAY, 24 JUNE 2014

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


 

WEDNESDAY, 18 JUNE 2014

EU elections and demography

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You have heard about the “seismic”, “shocking” and “bombshell” results from last month’s vote in Europe for the EU parliament. Many traditional, centrist parties lost ground and in France and in the UK, anti-EU parties (the Front National and UKIP respectively) received the most votes (around 25% in each case).

There have been different analyses of these election results, and it should be noted that the voter turnout was fairly low: 42% across Europe as a whole and less than 35% in the UK. However, one analysis caught my eye the other day, that of Reuven Brenner in the Asia Times Online. Mr Brenner draws in the demographic outlook of Europe to help explain what the election results mean. So, not surprisingly, I thought that it would be perfect to discuss here at Demography is Destiny!

Brenner begins by discussing the history of France’s obsession with its population and its fertility… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

SUNDAY, 15 JUNE 2014

A fascinating map of an ageing world

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The map above, produced by the Bank of America, shows in bright pink the sections of the world where more than 20% of the population are over 65.  In 2010 only Italy, Germany and Japan are shaded bright pink.  But, as you can see, the pink sections of the map grow dramatically by 2100 to include much of the world.  

The number of people over the age of 60 is expected to double from 841 million in 2013, to over 2 billion by 2050, according to UN figures.  Unfortunately this is accompanied by falling global birth rates to below even replacement level in many countries.  Incredibly, the number of people over the age of 60 is set to exceed the number of children for the first time, by 2047.

The Business Insider Australia published the map, showing an increasing awareness among financial and business communities of this issue.  It does mention… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

TUESDAY, 10 JUNE 2014

A limit to Chinese “supercities”

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In 2012 the number of city dwellers in China passed the number of Chinese living in the countryside for the first time in history.  By 2020, the Chinese Government is planning on the urban population to be 60% of the total Chinese population. (By way of contrast, according to the World Bank, urbanisation in the USA is about 82%, the UK is about 80% urbanised and India is about 31% urbanised.)

This increased urbanisation has of course led to the growth of cities, and certain Chinese cities are becoming very large indeed.  Beijing passed 21 million people last year and Shanghai is now home to about 24 million people.  These “Supercities” are now being viewed as problematic by the Chinese government and are being targeted by new regulation. According to the AFP, the Chinese President Xi Jingping has promised to impose strict limits on population growth in the country’s “largest cities”. 

click here to read whole article and make comments

 

THURSDAY, 5 JUNE 2014

Education: the economic solution for a dying society?

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Hello everyone! Go and take a look at this Economist article! If you love interactive maps of the world (I certainly do!) then you will love the map that they have prepared there for us. The map shows the total fertility rate (births per woman) of each country in the world. Blue countries are those with a fertility rate below the replacement rate (2.1 children per woman) beige countries are those with a “medium” fertility rate (2.1-2.49 children per woman) and red countries are those with a “high” fertility rate (above 2.5 children per woman). The blue countries are found mainly in Eurasia, North America and Australasia. The red countries are mainly found in Africa and the Middle East. The interactive nature of the map means that you can isolate countries according to fertility rate or zoom in on a continent or area. But don’t take my word for it, go… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

TUESDAY, 3 JUNE 2014

Have financial models changed forever?

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The above chart shows the fast dropping working age population of Europe.  Paul Krugman of The New York Times recently suggested that these demographics - hugely different from the what the world has seen in the last few hundred years - mean we cannot expect our financial system to continue to behave in the same way it has before.  

Interest rates have been very low in New Zealand, where I live, for some time.  This was bad news when my husband and I were saving for our house deposit, but very good news when we bought a house.  There have been suggestions here that interest rates will soon rise sharply as the New Zealand economy recovers and they have a little bit already.  I am no financial analyst, but Krugman suggests that in fact lower interest rates might simply be a new normal because of a slower economy in the low… 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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