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



South Koreans to become extinct by 2750

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South Koreans will be extinct by 2750 if nothing is done to stop the nation's falling fertility rate, according to a recently released study by The National Assembly Research Service in Seoul.  The study found that the Korean fertility rate declined to a new low of 1.19 children per woman in 2013, well below the rate required to replace the current population of 50 million.  

According to the study projections, Korea's population will fall to 40 million in 2056 and to 20 million in 2100. By 2200, the population is projected to have decreased to three million and to only one million by 2256, gradually becoming extinct over the next 500 years.  Of course, such predictions assume that current Korean policy and practice remains the same which it likely wouldn't once these projections started to become apparent.  Before then, South Korea could make changes to its immigration policy, support the family… click here to read whole article and make comments



No more people please: Beijing

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Beijing’s population is growing. Quickly.  Beijing has doubled in population within 25 years. From 2000 to December 2013 the population grew by 53 percent.  It is now home to 21.1 million people and to the problems that so many people together can bring: roads clogged with traffic; smog making the air hard to breath; poor quality housing.  So what do the local Communist authorities want to do to remedy this situation and to prevent Beijing from expanding any further? According to Bloomberg, they want to turn people away:

“What would Beijing be like with more than twice as many people?

It’s a dystopian scenario tormenting Mayor Wang Anshun and local Communist Party chief Guo Jinlong as they plow ahead with a mission impossible: turning people away…Instead, Mayor Wang, 56, who was acting mayor from July 2012 and officially took the role in January 2013, has banned the sub-division of apartments,… click here to read whole article and make comments



What you can tell about a country’s future by looking at its gender balance

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The human sex ratio, which is usually defined in terms of the number of males per 100 females, varies greatly between countries and regions. The biological norm is for the sex ratio at birth to be about 105 more or less everywhere – meaning just over 51% of births are boys and just under 49% are girls.

But with equal care and feeding, females die less quickly. It is therefore not surprising that the sex ratio of the population as a whole in the West and in many other regions leans in favour of women. In the UK this ratio is 99; in the US, 97; and in the EU, 96. In sub-Saharan Africa, where life expectancy at birth for is relatively low for both sexes, the ratio is 99. In Russia, Ukraine and some former Eastern bloc countries, it is among the lowest in the world: 86 for both Russia and Ukraine.

click here to read whole article and make comments



Millennials: the “nice” generation?

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Have you heard of the generation called the “millennials”? This the generation that I am a part of, apparently – those born after 1980 and before 2000 (that is, between 15 and 34 years old).  If you have heard of this generation, then perhaps what you’ve heard is that we are: 

“Coddled and helicoptered, catered to by 24-hour TV cable networks, fussed over by marketers and college recruiters, dissected by psychologists, demographers and trend-spotters...”

 Since I write on a demography blog, it’s about time that I dissected this generation too – or, actually, dissect this NYTimes article about the millennials. What is it that millenials are known for? What sets them apart from other generations? 

“The usual answer seems to be ‘narcissism’ — self-absorption indulged to comical extremes. We all can recite the evidence:… click here to read whole article and make comments



Who knows what the future of healthcare will bring?

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We’ve often talked on this blog about the costs that a greying population will bring to many western nations, and how these costs are going to have to borne by a smaller tax base (as a proportion of the population). This cost is partly due to pension schemes (in New Zealand your pension is not means tested and kicks in at 65 years old – the current Government is refusing to even discuss raising the age at which it starts) but the cost is also due to the cost of healthcare. However, this article from John Lechleiter at Forbes magazine argues that we should not see health costs as a static figure to be projected into the future. Instead, we have been able in the last 100 years to develop cures for diseases that were considered incurable and the cost of these cures and treatments have decreased dramatically over time.

click here to read whole article and make comments



China’s (pet) population rising fast

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While human babies might not be increasing much in number in China despite the relaxation of the one child policy, pets are becoming much more prevalent.  The Chinese have a reputation for eating more types of meat than most Westerners have the stomach for, so to be a cat or dog lover is a relatively new cultural concept.  However, pet owning is on the rise.  

Interestingly, up until the 1980s having a pet dog was actually illegal in Beijing because they were considered to be a “bourgeois affectation” and an imitation of Western lifestyle.  After restrictions were loosened in the 1990s and early 2000s pet ownership grew.  By 2012 Beijing had more than 1 million registered pet dogs, which are now served by more than 300 pet hospitals, according to the Beijing Small Animal Veterinary Association.   

The government isn’t particularly happy about the situation.  Late last month the party’s national newspaper, the People’s… click here to read whole article and make comments



Will we all be African one day soon?

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Will we all be African again one day soon?  It's not as far-fetched as it sounds.  There has been an unprecedented demographic shift this century towards an increasingly African world. 

A report released this week by the UN children’s agency (UNICEF) found that by the end of this century about 40 per cent of all humans (and nearly half of all children) will be African - one of the fastest and most radical demographic changes in history.  In 1950 Africa accounted for only 9 per cent of the world’s population.  The population explosion will be biggest in West Africa. By 2050, Nigeria alone will account for an astounding one-tenth of all births in the world. It is currently the largest economy in Africa.

Fertility rates are actually declining in Africa as they are in much of the world.  However, they remain higher than anywhere else and,… 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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