Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring

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A couple of articles today about China’s one-child policy.  RT News has reported the staggering figures and cost of the communist regime’s policy over the last 40 years:

“More than 330 million abortions and almost 200 million sterilizations have been performed in China since family-planning policies to limit the population were introduced 40 years ago, the country’s Health Ministry has revealed…Data also revealed that the government has done more than a half-billion birth control procedures, including the mandatory insertion of some 403 million of intra-uterine devices – a practice considered a regular birth control procedure in the West, if chosen voluntarily – the Financial Times reported.”

This is just staggering. But it doesn’t seem as if the one-child policy as a whole is unpopular (after all there are very many exceptions to it!):

“The country has generally supported the one-child policy in the past. Three in four… click here to read whole article and make comments



Back to School for Aging Swedes

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Sweden, grappling with increasing longevity, is considering both raising the retirement age to 75 and a state education plan for people in their 50s.  Will the future see us leaving school at 18 to return for re-training when we’re 50?  No matter what the solution, current welfare expectations can no longer be met if the retirement age (and mindset) remains as it is.

If Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has his way, Swedes will be encouraged to re-train in later life so that they have the skills to change to work in a career more suitable to their age (should this be necessary given their former career obviously).  One practical way to achieve this is to make student loans more accessible to this age group.  Such steps would mean that Swedes would be equipped to work longer and will no longer be able to expect benefits at the tender age of 65.

The… click here to read whole article and make comments



Pope Francis and the Church he Must Shepherd

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On a momentous day for the Catholic Church (and the whole world I would argue, but that might be more contentious) in which we have seen the election of the first successor of St Peter from the Americas, I thought it appropriate to bring some demographic news from the Catholic world. This piece from Northern Voices Online was written before today’s news so is a little dated. However, what is clear from the article is that the heartland of Catholicism in terms of practising members is no longer Europe, but is Africa and Latin America:

“When weekly Mass attendance is at an all-time low in Western Europe and the population of Catholics declined in the continent, in Africa their number grew from 55 million to 146 million between 1978 and 2007. Now the number has reached 176 million. Though the population increased in the natural process yet it is… click here to read whole article and make comments



More Internet News (Gleaned From the Internet)

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Today I’m providing a bit of an update on the penetration of internet usage around the world. Six months ago I blogged about the internet and how the UN predicted that around one-third of the world has access to the internet. The same UN agency that predicted this six months ago, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), has released a study that shows that next year there will be as many mobile phone subscriptions in the world as there are people (seven billion). As the Dubai Chronicle reports:

“It is predicted that towards the end of this year, the mobile penetration will hit 96% on a worldwide level. This rate will be equal to 89% in the developing world and to nearly 130% in the developed one.”

Added to the spread of mobile phones, many of which are internet capable (not mine though, it barely texts and receives… click here to read whole article and make comments



Increasing Longevity impacts the Papacy

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In today's guest post, Denyse O'Leary ponders what our increased longevity means for the Papacy, along with the reasons behind it.

Due to medical advances, popes (like other people) live much longer than they used to—and might easily outlive their cognitive abilities, a fact that Benedict clearly recognized and had begun to plan for years ago.

One problem with John Paul II’s death in office was that the Vatican was paralyzed for months during his final illness. His conduct was inspiring, to be sure, but the situation was not administratively helpful. Good things that John Paul II wanted to do just could not get done.

Benedict relied on canons put in by a predecessor to whom he had a special devotion, 12th century Pope St. Celestine V, which allow a Pope to resign and allow the Cardinals to choose a successor. Sorry, scandal mongers.  Go somewhere else for your prey. So let’s talk about what we can learn from all… click here to read whole article and make comments



How exciting can a census be?

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Last night I got home from work full of enthusiasm and excitement. Why? Because it was Census night! The night on which everyone in New Zealand sits down at a desk and completes their forms. One census form for every person in the dwelling and one for the dwelling itself. This is an event to make statisticians and demographers weak at the knees. We were actually participating in a collation of demographic data! What was more, for the first time New Zealand’s census was also available online. That is, we could sit down at our computers and type in a secret code and then fill in all the details that we otherwise would have to laboriously write out by hand. So you can see why I was excited.

So, did it live up to my excitement and anticipation? Well, like most things in life, it didn’t. Although I had three forms… click here to read whole article and make comments



Christianity in the Middle East

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At First Things, Peter J Leithart has made some interesting observations about the state of Christianity in the Middle East. Once the heartland of the Christian faith, this area of the globe has been a hard place for a Christian to live in the last 50 years or so.  Just read the list provided by Leithart:

“According to Walter Russell Mead, more than half of the Christians in Iraq have fled the country since 2003. Today it’s happening in Syria. Swedish journalist Nuri Kino reports on a ‘silent exodus of Christians from Syria’ in the face of ‘kidnappings and rapes.’ It’s a regional trend. Two years ago Caroline Glick reported that ‘at the time of Lebanese independence from France in 1946 the majority of Lebanese were Christians. Today less than 30 percent of Lebanese are Christians. In Turkey, the Christian population has dwindled from 2 million at the end… click here to read whole article and make comments



Japanese politician suggests banning abortion to increase birthrates

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It is common knowledge that Japan is in more economic trouble than most as a result of its low birth rate, and it seems that Japanese politicians are taking the situation increasingly seriously.  One Japanese politician has come up with a fairly commonsensible plan to increase the country’s ailing birth rate – ban abortions. 

It is true that without the effect of so many abortions many countries’ birth rates would increase to at least replacement level.  However it is surprising that the suggestion should surface first in Japan –a non-Christian, largely secular minded country.  Blog “Japan Crush” reports Seiko Noda, a legislator in Japan’s House of Representatives who has worked on the birthrate issue for many years and served in several cabinet positions, as saying:

With 200,000 pregnancies being terminated per year, if we are to counteract the falling birthrate, then we must begin there. I intend to have this… click here to read whole article and make comments



Is Japan’s Population Decline Worse than Previously Thought?

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Is Japan’s Population Decline Worse than Previously Thought? That was my first question when I saw this semi-amusing story from the Daily Yomiuri Online.  The former Deputy Mayor of the town of Higashiura, in the Aichi Prefecture in Honshu, Japan has been arrested “on suspicion he deliberately padded the town's population data in the 2010 census.”  The town was aiming to be upgraded to the administrative status of a city, a goal which requires a population of at least 50,000 citizens.  According to the Daily Yomiuri Online:

“The Aichi prefectural police department arrested Hideo Ogisu, 63, on Friday for his alleged violation of the Statistics Act. Ogisu has denied the charge, saying he never instructed or approved any misconduct, according to sources familiar with the investigation. But town officials who were in charge of the census said in voluntary questioning by the police that they were instructed by Ogisu to overstate the… click here to read whole article and make comments



I Won’t Mention the “E-Word” Again! Promise!

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I promise that it will be the last time that I mention Paul Ehrlich on this blog, but I couldn’t help it when I saw his latest doom-projections in the Scotsman:

“But our guess is that the most serious threat to global sustainability in the next few decades will be one on which there is widespread agreement: the growing difficulty of avoiding large-scale famines... In fact, virtually all such warnings, in our view, underestimate the food problem. For example, micronutrient deficiencies may afflict as many as two billion additional people... Perhaps most important, virtually all analyses assume that the human population will grow by 2.5 billion people by 2050, rather than seeking ways to reduce that number. The optimism of many analysts concerning our ability to feed these additional billions is quite disturbing. ”

Of course, considering Paul Ehrlich was predicting wide spread famine that… 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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