Scotland - we have not forgotten you!

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When we looked at the UK’s census results last month, there were boos from the audience that the numbers didn’t include Scotland. Well, we still can’t bring the census results for Alba as they aren’t out until towards the end of the year, but we can bring you the next best thing (are you ready for it?):  the latest “Annual Review of Demographic Trends” published by the Scottish Registrar General! And it is totally worth the wait.

For those of you thinking that recently the world has seemed a bit more tartan and perhaps a bit more incomprehensible (my friend got into trouble in Glasgow once for telling a native completely innocently that he was sorry, he didn’t understand as he only spoke English. Said friend was lucky to escape unscathed…) then you’d be right. There are now more Scots (Scotch? Scottish people? people living in Scotland?) in the world… click here to read whole article and make comments



China: This One Child Policy’s Not for Turning

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I was going to write today about how population is very important when it comes to measuring success in the Olympics. It should not be a straight “who has the most gold medals?” analysis.  Instead, we can only meaningfully measure success by weighting the medal tally of each country by the population of each country. After all, larger countries have a larger pool of potentially good runners, shooters, throwers, cyclists, swimmers etc and this should be taken into account.  However, after Jamaica’s success at the blue riband sprinting events this morning, I’ve suddenly decided that this isn’t so important... Oh well, at least New Zealand is still beating our traditional sporting rivals – Slovenia and Hungary…

So instead I’ve decided to look at an issue that we’ve covered before on this blog: China. Particularly, China’s human-rights abusive One Child Policy. With more women coming forward with their stories of forced abortions –… click here to read whole article and make comments



A more urban future for devastated Japan

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The March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in north-eastern Japan has had a dramatic demographic effect on the country.  Firstly, the disaster knocked Japanese women from their perch as the world’s longest living.  Their average life expectancy fell to 85.9 years, almost a year less than the women of Hong Kong (although strictly speaking is Hong Kong not part of China?).  This was largely due to the fact that of the almost 18,800 reported dead and missing in the disaster, 56% were over 65.

Secondly, it has brought to light very differing opinions between the numerous and often strong-minded Japanese elderly and the diminishing young people about how to re-build destroyed communities.  Understandably, the elderly want their communities to go back to the way they were, complete with their younger family members close-by.  However, the young are keen to build new, larger and revitalized communities with more shops, hospitals and people, rather than replace… click here to read whole article and make comments



No food today, but plenty of condoms

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I opened the newspaper a couple of weeks ago to read the headline that Australia will be doubling an aspect of its foreign aid to $50 million to assist the poor women of the world. What a wonderful idea. Perhaps the aid will be going towards vital medication to women in Sub-Saharan Africa; perhaps food and vitamins to women in South Asia; or perhaps it will pay for education and training in more effective farming methods? No. The money will go completely towards ‘family planning’. And not just our $50 million, add to that half a billion dollars from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with a total amount from worldwide governments and the private sector of $2.6 billion. This amount was committed during the recently held family planning summit in London. So that is $2.6 billion for condoms, contraceptive pills and IUDs (small devices placed in the uterus which release a chemical… click here to read whole article and make comments



The Muslim World and Contraception

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Yesterday I discussed the recent article in the Policy Review which brings to light the fertility decline that has occurred in all Muslim-majority countries (bar Kosovo for which there was insufficient data) in the last three decades. 

The article, which can be read here, is fascinating not just for what it reports but the reasons it gives for the change in fertility rates.  According to the authors, fertility rates have fallen throughout the Muslim world but we should not rush out to lay the thanks (or blame) at the door of increased contraceptive use or increases in national wealth. (Melinda Gates should probably read this report – she could add it to her bedside table, along with Evangelium Vitae).

First, the authors acknowledge that analysis of 48 different countries is necessarily going to be broad-brushed:

“We know, of course, that the 48 Muslim-majority countries… click here to read whole article and make comments



Dramatic Fertility Decline in Muslim World

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In the June 1 issue of Policy Review (Stanford University) Nicholas Eberstadt and Apoorva Shah have revealed the truly remarkable (and indeed historically unprecedented) decline in the fertility rate of the Muslim community worldwide (the Ummah). 

The report (which can be seen here) is interesting for what it reports – the idea that the world’s Muslim population is undergoing a fertility collapse is not in line with popular perception.  As the authors observe:

“There remains a widely perceived notion — still commonly held within intellectual, academic, and policy circles in the West and elsewhere — that “Muslim” societies are especially resistant to embarking upon the path of demographic and familial change that has transformed population profiles in Europe, North America, and other “more developed” areas (UN terminology).”

But this view is no longer tenable if the evidence is considered.  Of the 49 countries in the world that have a majority Muslim population… click here to read whole article and make comments



Russia: Sick and Dying (Reboot)

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Like a movie franchise in search of more money but not wanting to think up a new idea, I thought I’d return to the topic of Monday’s post and “reboot” it. Not because I’m after more money (but feel free to send me some – my wife is having a baby and they aren’t cheap apparently) but because the blogpost suggesting that Russia was in demographic doodoo and going the way of the Dodo received some fairly vigorous comments in response. Now, vigorous comments are what we hope to achieve at Mercatornet and so my reply to those comments in this post should not be taken as an attack on anyone. In fact, a lot of what was said in response to the last post was helpful and so once again I take this opportunity to thank all of our dear readers (not “Dear Leaders”, ronery or otherwise).

Monday’s post is click here to read whole article and make comments


MONDAY, 23 JULY 2012

Russia: Sick and Dying

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For those of you who regularly read this blog: congratulations! Aside from the warm glow inside that comes from the satisfaction of a job well done, you’ll also know that we have in the past mentioned that Russia’s demographic future is not particularly rosy. (For those of you who aren’t regular readers, there is still time to change your ways…)

Today I want to share with you a review article by a Master of International Affairs Candidate at Columbia University, Alina Smyslova, who also happens to be Russian. The anguish felt by the writer as she surveys Russia’s demographic malaise is almost palpable. “Our dear Mother Russia is sick and dying” is how the article begins and there is little that follows that doesn’t back up that startling statement.  While I knew that Russia was suffering from a lack of births and even a surfeit of deaths to births in… click here to read whole article and make comments


SUNDAY, 22 JULY 2012

Unemployment causes demographic shifts in Europe

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unemployedYouth unemployment in Europe is causing significant demographic shifts as qualified, university educated young people look overseas for meaningful work.  In particular, large numbers of Spanish and Portuguese youth are finding better opportunities abroad, with former colonies being among the more popular destinations. reports that twice as many Spaniards left the country in the first half of 2012 than in the same period last year (40,000), and 229,000 foreign nationals also went elsewhere.  Portugal has witnessed a similar trend, with an estimated 120,000 nationals moving abroad in 2011.

It is shocking that more than half of all young people in Spain and a third in Portugal are out of work at the moment.  Some reports say the real situation is even worse because half of those who have jobs are in fact on uncertain short-term contracts and others are on unpaid or poorly… click here to read whole article and make comments



UK Census 2011

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Thank you everyone for the congratulations and suggested names after yesterday’s post.  I am quite taken by another Latin name (after Marcus) maybe Gaius? Or perhaps Caracalla? I think that we are at the moment leaning towards Thomas, but there is time enough for a change of mind.  As for a photo of us in Rome, we’ll see if we can find a good one – we haven’t gone through and sorted out our photos yet. It’s incredible how many you can take in a two week period – it’s so easy on digital I suppose!

Anyway, on to a more demographical topic (at least, a less personal one!)  A couple of days ago the results of the 2011 census in the UK were released. The results cover England, Wales and Northern Ireland but not, for some reason, Scotland.  The… 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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