THURSDAY, 25 OCTOBER 2012

Singapore: Not As Bad As We Think?

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You may have read Michael Cook’s article about the concern in Singapore about the Island Nation’s future. Why is there this concern? Because the country’s fertility rate is officially the lowest in the world at 0.78 babies for every woman [UPDATE: the Singaporean government's own figures are significantly higher than this figure from the CIA factbook for 2012. The 2011 figure from the Singapore Government was 1.2. H/T David Munro].  Singapore is slowly (or not so slowly) dying out and is relying on immigration to keep its population afloat.

With this background in mind, it is perhaps not surprising that a seminar was recently held by Singapore’s Institute of Policy Studies entitled “Vision 2050: Life and Family in Singapore”. You may be thinking that the title of the seminar was wishful thinking since perhaps you’d be hard pressed to find either by the year 2050. However, two speakers at… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

TUESDAY, 23 OCTOBER 2012

Thank You, Everyone!

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Hi again everyone! Thomas (above) is now a week old (I can’t believe how quickly the time goes…) and is still a beautiful little man. Shannon and Thomas are home now and the whole family is settling into the routine of a 3 hourly cycle. He is still feeding well which is a great help - although the length of feeding is quite incredible! Good man! :) Thank you everyone for your kind thoughts, prayers and best wishes, we have been extremely lucky with the amount of support that we have received since he was born.

Aside from our own little family, others in Israel are having similar ideas about the desirability of having children. In this piece originally published in the Israel Hayom, it seems as if Israeli Jewish births are on the increase. This, combined with the decrease in fertility of its Arab neighbours and a decresase in Israeli… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

THURSDAY, 18 OCTOBER 2012

A Very Special Addition to the World’s Population

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Hi everyone, just a quick blogpost for now. Thomas Anthony Arthur Roberts was born on Tuesday afternoon NZ time. He came after a relatively quick labour and weighed 8lbs, 3oz and measured 55cm in length (22 inches). A healthy little baby boy, 2 weeks early, but completely ready to come and greet his parents! Baby and mother are doing very well: I left them sleeping only twenty minutes ago in Birthcare. Very happy Dad here. Somewhat overwhelmed, but taking it one feed at a time!

click here to read whole article and make comments

 

TUESDAY, 16 OCTOBER 2012

Nobel Prize and One Child Policy

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The latest winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Mo Yan, is a Chinese author whose “popular, sprawling, bawdy tales bring to life rural China”. As the Malta Independent Online describes:

“Mo writes of visceral pleasures and existential quandaries and tends to create vivid, mouthy characters. While his early work sticks to a straightforward narrative structure enlivened by vivid descriptions, raunchy humour and farce, his style has evolved, toying with different narrators and embracing a freewheeling style often described as ‘Chinese magical realism’... His output has been prolific, which has contributed to his popularity and his impact. His works have been translated into English, Russian, French, German and many other languages, giving him an audience well beyond the Chinese-speaking world...Mo is probably best known to English-language readers for ‘Red Sorghum,’ thanks in part to Zhang Yimou's acclaimed film… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

FRIDAY, 12 OCTOBER 2012

Less Hunger in the World

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One of the arguments for a reduced human population, or against population growth, or for more intrusive governmental policies into population control is that there are too many mouths to feed. (I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but the metonymy of that phrase: “mouths to feed” is quite instructive. We are so much more than merely consuming “mouths”, just as the factory workers in Dickens’ Hard Times were so much more than just “Hands”.) We’ve discussed this argument before on this blog: see here and here and here and here

Well, it turns out that that argument should not be uncritically accepted anymore.  The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) claimed that one billion people were hungry back in 2009.  As you can imagine, that figure grabbed headlines. One billion is a big number – you could fund a war for a day… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

WEDNESDAY, 10 OCTOBER 2012

Latin Americans increasing force in U.S.

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Will Latin American voters soon have a significant say in how one the world’s most powerful countries is run?  The changing demography of many American states suggests that the answer could be yes and that Latin American voters are a growing force to contend with.  A record 23.7 million Latinos are eligible to vote in the 2012 presidential election, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Research Center.   

The Guardian reports that the country's growing Latino population is projected to be almost a third of the US population by 2050, having already tripled since 1986.  However, at least at the moment, they appear not to be using their potential for greater power.  Less than a third of Latino eligible voters actually voted in 2010 compared with almost half… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

WEDNESDAY, 10 OCTOBER 2012

UN: The World is Ageing

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It seems that the UN is starting to seriously consider the impacts of an ageing world population.  Last week the UN released a report entitled: Ageing in the 21st century: a celebration and a challenge

According to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, this is important:

“‘The social and economic implications of this phenomenon are profound, extending far beyond the individual older person and the immediate family, touching broader society and the global community in unprecedented ways,’ [he wrote] in the report's preface.”

This report comes after the population of the world’s over-60s surpassed the world’s under 5 year olds (in 2000) and is expected to surpass the world’s under 15 year olds by 2050.  In ten years’ time there will be over 1 billion older people in the world (over 60 years old – hey, don’t blame me, I’m just the messenger – the UN came up with… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

FRIDAY, 5 OCTOBER 2012

The UK is a Crowded Kingdom

BY
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Last month I mentioned the “pushback” against large scale immigration in the UK. Just to be clear, I wasn’t necessarily endorsing the views of those who are concerned about too many immigrants to the Mother Country.  Instead I was noting that there are serious political and social issues that come with relying on immigration to bolster a flagging or stagnant population. Even if they are ultimately wrong as to the threat posed, the fact that people in the home country feel threatened by immigration can be a large problem.  For one, assimilation will be presumably much more difficult when the native population is in part sullen and resentful. 

Along these lines, there are more reports in the UK papers of population growth that will do little to calm the fears of those like Sir Andrew Green.  According to the Office for National Statistics, the population of England and Wales grew… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

WEDNESDAY, 3 OCTOBER 2012

Lucky Germany?

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With the number of people dying with no children or relatives on the rise, Germany is facing a potentially lucrative conundrum.  The State is proving the only heir for a growing number of deceased persons.

DW reports that in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous state of Germany, the ‘fiscal legacies department’ dealt with 96 inheritances in 2001.  That had increased to 246 by 2011 and the department expects that the figure could rise to 300 for the first time ever this year.

The court is responsible for overseeing a person's estate when there is noone else appointed to do so.  If the court determines that it is satisfied that there are no heirs, then the state is legally obliged to take responsibility for whatever inheritance there is.  This is not always beneficial to the state – ultimately taxpayers – because sometimes inheritances include only dilapidated property which must be dealt with somehow… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

TUESDAY, 2 OCTOBER 2012

What Happens When You Lose Your One Child in China?

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One aspect of China’s One Child Policy that I had not considered was the tragedy of parents who outlive their single child and cannot have another.  This is not uncommon in China, where an estimated one million families nationwide have lost their sole child since the policy was introduced in 1980, and another 4 – 7 million are expected to do so in the next 20 to 30 years.  Some 4.63% of China’s 218 million one-child families are expected to lose their child before he or she reached the age of 25, meaning a total of around 10 million couples outliving their children.  Aside from the obvious tragedy for the family involved in losing their only child, there are also material concerns; often the child is depended upon to provide security and support in their parents’ old age.

The problem has even been acknowledged at the national level.  Since 2001, national law has required local governments to provide… 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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