Bring Out Your Dead!

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Since many societies (esp in the West) are ageing, someday soon we are going to start noticing that a great proportion of our populations is on the verge of shuffling off this mortal coil.  And then we are going to ask the question which I am sure that is burning in all of our minds: how are we ever going to deal with all those bodies in a way that is environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and zombie-apocalypse proof?

Burial is the traditional form of body disposal – but apparently it is not a good “green” option according to this Reuters article.  This is because your body takes up space underground, while the decaying process releases methane and caskets use steel, copper, bronze and wood.  And so if you have your grave plot already sorted out, shame on you! Don’t you know that we have to be environmentally conscious even when all consciousness… click here to read whole article and make comments



A Return to Lagos

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Today I thought that I would return to Nigeria and its growing population.  The issue is important because of Nigeria’s current size (around 170 million people, making it the seventh largest population in the world) and its growth rate which will see it hitting 700 million by the end of the century.  Although this last figure is from the UN and should be treated with a large shaker of salt as it is so far in the future, it is clear that Nigeria will be growing for a long time yet.  I shared with you all a couple of weeks ago a letter from a reader of the Nigerian Guardian. In it, the author was critical of the Gates Foundation’s emphasis on providing money for birth control rather than trying to deal with Nigeria’s other, more pressing, issues.

The editor of the same newspaper prepared an editorial over the… click here to read whole article and make comments



The Falklands: An underutilised paradise?

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Are the Falklands being used to their best advantage?  In a recession, they could be an underutilised paradise with their jobs, white sandy beaches, wildlife, mountain ranges – and lack of people.  Census results released this month show that the islands have a less than 1% unemployment rate, and that the average annual income of $32,213 is much higher than Argentina's $9,620 as of last year, or that of any of the Falklands' other Latin American neighbours.

Offshore oil and gas development could also potentially bring much more wealth to the islands. There has always been talk of such development but there doesn’t seem to have ever been a concerted effort on the part of the British or anyone else to do much with it.  The Associated Press reports that the industry currently employs only 26 islanders, and that there simply aren't enough people around to… click here to read whole article and make comments



The Challenge Against Immigration

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We have often mentioned here on Demography is Destiny countries that are growing, but are relying for that growth substantially (eg Switzerland; Scotland; Canada) or wholly (eg Russia – not that Russia is actually growing) upon immigration.  That is, many countries are relying to a large extent on immigration to make up for their declining birth rates and ultimately, declining work forces and greying populations. 

This is not a risk-free option of course. It is hard to integrate migrants into a host country, especially when there are large numbers of such migrants and they are from a very different culture and speak a different language.  And then, of course, there is the impact upon the “native” population of the host nation.  This has been highlighted in the UK, where 100,000 people signed a petition on the Downing Street website on the level of immigration and… click here to read whole article and make comments



Human Trafficking - The Progeny of the One Child Policy

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I was speaking with a colleague the other day about the gender inequality in parts of Asia, particularly in China and how it came about through abortion and infanticide.  Shannon blogged about this topic the other day.  My colleague said something along the lines of “at least women are now appreciated and more valued”.  I told him how wrong I thought he was and wish I had had this story on hand to show him. 

It is from the Hudson Institute and is by Melanie Kirkpatrick.  She is the author of a book “Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia’s Underground Railroad”.  In this article, Kirkpatrick tells us about Steven Kim, an American businessman from Long Island, New York, a practising Christian and the angel of mercy for many North Korean men and women who he has helped escape from the Stalinist hell of a country.  He… click here to read whole article and make comments



United Nations addresses falling Asian fertility and sex imbalance

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Even the United Nations, with its dire statistics about the number of babies overpopulating the earth, is now becoming worried about falling fertility rates, gender imbalance, and the projected sharp increase in the proportion of older people in many Asian countries by 2050.  The head of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) called for countries to urgently tackle population concerns with “foresight and justice” at the Asian Population Association conference held late last month. The question will be just what the well recognised virtue, ‘justice’, means in practice.

In particular, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA Executive Director, discussed the newly published analysis by UNFPA which finds that sex selection at birth due to a preference for boys has drastically skewed sex ratios in Asia. The study indicates that if marriage patterns by age and sex remain as they are today, there could be 50 per cent more single men than women trying… click here to read whole article and make comments



We’re all heading to…Switzerland!

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The lures of Switzerland are obvious. It is neutral, it is central (the French Riveria to the West, the Italian peninsular to the South, the Rhineland to the North and the Alps to the East) it has great chocolate, it has an interesting system of direct democracy.  I’m not alone in this view – it seems that quite a few people agree with me because nearly 50,000 people moved to live in Switzerland in 2011.  That immigration has taken the foreign born population of that nation to over 1.8million – nearly a quarter of the total population! This is a huge amount, it must be one of the highest in the world…actually I’ve just checked, and it’s only ninth in the world and New Zealand is number 10! Huh, adding that to the pub quiz trivia memory bank.

Most of these foreign born Swiss come from within the Eurozone:… click here to read whole article and make comments



Letter From Nigeria

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Recently I came across this letter to the editor of the Guardian Nigeria newspaper from Beenzu Nwosu of Lagos.  I thought that I would share it with you all as an example of the thoughts of one person (obviously thought worthy of publication) on the efforts to reduce Nigeria’s population growth. If you remember, we’ve talked about Melinda Gates’ efforts to reduce the fertility rates of the poor of the world before. We’ve also discussed the fascination that some in the US have with Nigeria – there almost is a palpable fear of swarms of people from the third world in some of the reports. Anyway, with that in mind, to the letter:

“While the bombs keep going off in northern Nigeria, our government is focused on reducing the birth rate... a perceived panacea for all our national woes. To quote our President,… click here to read whole article and make comments



“Brainy” mums not having kids

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Debate about the demograph of those who are having all the babies has once again reared its head in the New Zealand Herald.  Dr Jim Flynn of Otago University has warned that we need 'brainier' mums to have children if we are to maintain the intelligence of our population.  He is commenting on New Zealand's census figures which found that women without tertiary qualifications who had reached their early 40s had produced 2.57 babies each, while women with a higher education were producing just 1.85 babies each.  He comments:

  "Everyone knows if we only allowed short people to reproduce there would be a tendency in terms of genes for height to diminish. Intelligence is no different from other human traits," he told the Sunday Star-Times.

"A persistent genetic trend which lowered the genetic quality for brain physiology would have some effect eventually."

While I'm not sure tertiary… click here to read whole article and make comments



Raising the IQ of Both Countries

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Sir Robert Muldoon, Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1975-1984, once famously said that New Zealanders moving to Australia “raised the IQ of both countries”.  If this wisecrack is true, then soon both of the Antipodean countries will be moving up the Mensa league table.  This is because, as Australia continues to have a mining boom and New Zealand continues to have wages about 20% lower on average than the lucky country, Kiwis are flocking across the Tasman Sea. 

Last year, according to Statistics New Zealand, 87,500 New Zealanders moved overseas in the year to July 2012.  Of these, nearly 54,000 moved to Australia.  In return, about 14,000 came from Australia to live in New Zealand (almost all of these were returning New Zealanders).  This means that New Zealand is losing about 30,000 people net to the “West Island”.  Overall, the picture is a bit more balanced, with the net migration loss… 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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