Population growth in California?

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Although demography sometimes seems as if it is a dry, perhaps somewhat boring, discipline it is always good to keep in mind that the counting of populations is also deeply political. As such, there is always the possibility that the figures that we take for granted as being accurate have been manipulated for political ends. This is not just a simple case of corrupt, third-world countries lying about the statistics (like perhaps in Nigeria). It is also perhaps seen in first world European countries publishing misleading emigration numbers (like Spain?) or in a global superpower hiding its true decline (like China?)

Misleading demographic numbers can also be used in different ways by politicians from across the political divide, as Joe Mathews argues is happening in California. Although… click here to read whole article and make comments



UN report shows population increase does not spell disaster

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School feeding programme in India. Fflglobalpics via Wikimedia 


Contrary to the fear mongering of population alarmists, the world isn’t heading for a demographic catastrophe. The latest data on world population from the UN Population Division reveal a number of trends that indicate otherwise. The following is PRI’s brief overview of some of the findings from the recently released 2015 Revision of theWorld Population Prospects.

According to the UN Population Division’s medium variant projection, world population is estimated to be 7.3 billion today. That number is expected to rise to 9.7 billion by 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100. In the past two and a half decades, world population has increased by 2 billion people. Yet despite the rapid rise in world population, the percentage of people living with hunger in developing countries has actually dropped from 24% to 14% over the… click here to read whole article and make comments



The demographic “crossover” from China to India

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Within a decade or so we will see a momentous shift in the global balance of power; China will cease to be the most populous nation on Earth. It will be overtaken by its southern neighbour, India. This is not only symbolically important (although it is that) but also has important economic implications. But do we really realise what a shift we will live through in the next decade? As Gordon Chang writes in the National Interest, China has been the world’s most populous states “for at least three centuries and perhaps for all recorded history”. But by 2022, according to the UN’s World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision, China’s population will be overtaken by India’s. This prediction is actually six years’ earlier than the UN’s previous predicted crossover point, released only two years ago. In short, the country’s demographic (relative) decline is… click here to read whole article and make comments



Are nuns dying out?

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Movies such as The Sound of Music, The Blues Brothers and Sister Act evidence the intrigue surrounding the life of a nun.  Nuns in their 30s aren’t as common as they once were so the average person isn't as likely to come into contact with one. In fact, according to Pew Research Centre data the numbers of religious in America has declined dramatically since the 1960’s. However, they are on the increase again in some places such as the United Kingdom, with the most attractive institutes interestingly being the more traditional orders, such as those who follow traditional prayer routines and still wear habits.

This week The Wall Street Journal published insights into the life of 30 year old Sister Bethany Madonna together with seven other Sisters of Life also in their 30s. Based in New York, the Sisters of… click here to read whole article and make comments



A new Israeli demographic order

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In many countries around the world, there is a concern that falling fertility rates, fewer workers and an ageing population will bring problems: who will pay for the social services that many liberal democracies rely on? Who will man the armies in the future? In Israel, there seems to be another demographic problem that is causing similar concerns. (Of course, for Israel the question of recruits for its armed forces is of more pressing concern than for many other nations.) But what is Israel's demographic problem? Doesn't Israel have a thriving, growing population? Well, according to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, speaking during Israel's prestigious Herzliya Conference, the changing internal demographics of the country are resulting in a “New Israeli Order”. This internal demographic change is aside from any real or apparent external demographic changes (such as an external Palestinian demographic threat, a topic… click here to read whole article and make comments



Abandoned villages for sale!

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Are you interested in buying a charming Spanish village? Well, you might be in luck as there are at least 400 such villages in Galicia (North-West Spain) that Mark Adkinson, founder of the Galician Country Homes real estate firm, has identified that “could possibly be on the market if the ownership rights were determined”. In fact Adkinson is probably under counting – Spain's National Statistics Institute estimated that there were around 3,000 abandoned villages in Spain and that over half of them were within Galicia.

Why is there such a concentration in this one area of Spain? According to the Christian Science Monitor, there are so many abandoned villages in Galicia simply because the area “is dying”. The Galician statistics institute warned recently that the region could lose a third of its population (1 million residents) by 2050: there are not large numbers of immigrants coming… click here to read whole article and make comments



How our ageing population influences the economy

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Our time of life affects they way we use our money - whether we are looking to borrow or whether we are looking to save, whether we want a safe investment with a guaranteed return, or whether we want to take a risk.  As we all know, there are currently a lot more elderly people in the world than ever before.  

When elderly people save more money without investing it in businesses or infrastructure it affects our economy.  Spending falls and interest rates also fall because banks don’t need high interest rates to attract savers, but do want to encourage lending.  When more people save, more money is available to lend, so the ‘price’ of money drops.

 The 'global savings glut theory’ works like this:

- Ageing savers become more conservative as they get closer to retirement. That means they're more likely to put their savings into a bank than… click here to read whole article and make comments



Only in China…

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Sometimes the sheer power of the state in China surprises and overwhelms. You read of some initiative that the state is proposing and your mind can’t grasp it – its scale, its enormousness and, unfortunately all too frequently, its enormity. One example of this was recently discussed in the Australian Business Insider. Over the next five years, the Chinese Government is hoping to move 100 million people from the countryside into urban areas. That’s right: by 2020 China is looking to urbanise the equivalent of the population of the Philippines!

“The plan was first unveiled in March of last year as the “National New-type Urbanisation Plan (2014-2020).”At 30 chapters long, the plan is a staggeringly complex vision involving the mass uprooting of Chinese citizens and the destruction, and reconstruction, of homes, office buildings, and infrastructure. It imagines a China that can compete with the world leaders, both financially and… click here to read whole article and make comments



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



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


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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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