SUNDAY, 27 MAY 2012

The “biggest best story in development”

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This month The Economist reports that Africa is currently experiencing significant falls in child mortality rates across the continent.  Fantastic demographic news.  In fact Michael Clemens of the Centre for Global Development names it “the biggest, best story in development”.  

16 of the 20 African countries which have had detailed surveys of living conditions since 2005 reported falls in their child-mortality rates (that is, the number of deaths of children under five per 1,000 live births).  Senegal, Rwanda and Kenya experienced falls of more than 8% a year.  If this rate continues it would halve child mortality in those countries in about a decade.

Interestingly decreasing birthrates, first in the minds of many when discussing poverty in Africa, appear to have only a weak co-relation with the decrease in child mortality.  That is because higher or lower birth rates are inconsistent across countries which have all experienced lower child mortality rates. … click here to read whole article and make comments


FRIDAY, 25 MAY 2012

The Rhema Project

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After last week’s post about female infanticide and foeticide in India I received some information via email ( about The Rhema Project. This NGO is on the ground in India and is seeking to change attitudes towards the Indian girl child.  In its own words:

“The mission of The Rhema Project is to eliminate female infanticide, sex determination feticide and other discriminations against the girl child in India by supporting and networking with organizations and indigenous groups. We strive to add value to female lives in India through the short-term rescue of unborn, newborn and the Indian girl child as well as long-term initiatives that include education, health and wellness, trade and micro-finance to help Indian women become truly valued by their culture.”

I suggest heading over to the website and having a look at the amazing work that The Rhema Project is doing. But for a brief taste, here… click here to read whole article and make comments



A more religious future?

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I’m reminded this morning of a comment that a Catholic friend of mine made to me in the past.  When discussing “culture wars” issues (abortion, gay marriage etc) this friend said (at least a couple of times) that “in the end, we will win. Catholics have bigger families. Those who have strong family values have bigger families. Those who don’t, don’t. In a couple of generations we’ll out breed them. If you don’t embrace a culture of life, don’t be surprised when your views don’t survive.”  These comments came back to me as I was reading this report from The American online magazine entitled “The Future Will be More Religious and Conservative Than You Think”.  What is the author basing this title/conclusion on? Demography my dear boy, demography!

The report starts off with the 2012 Presidential Election (2008 seems just like yesterday – whatever happened to John McCain?) and notes that switching… click here to read whole article and make comments


FRIDAY, 18 MAY 2012

Mexicans are no longer throwing themselves at the fence

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Well, my plans for a great post about US census figures and minorities were blown out of the water by a much better looking and smarter blogger who got in first. Luckily, I also had something else to talk about that is kind of related.

The news about the US majoirty population now being a minority of births should help to reframe the debate on immigration (illegal or otherwise) to the USA.  Two-thirds of the Hispanic growth in the US now comes from births rather than immigration.  Not only are there more Hispanic babies being born, but the level of immigration from Mexico is declining sharply.

RealClearPolitics recently reported on the Pew Hispanic Centre’s latest estimates about net migration to the USA from Mexico. 

“Pew's demographers have carefully combed through statistics compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Department of Homeland Security and the Mexican government, and have come… click here to read whole article and make comments


FRIDAY, 18 MAY 2012

A New American Dream?

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The United States is arguably still the world’s greatest super power.  Yet, just who makes up that superpower is changing.  White people, excluding Latinos, are expected to see their influence and numbers diminish from a 70% share of the population today to a bare majority by 2050.

Figures recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau show that 50.4 percent of births were from minority groups between July 2010 and July 2011.  William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution, comments in the The Guardian:

When you have more than half the births within minority groups, that sets the stage for huge change in this country...It means that before long young adults in America will look dramatically different from those who came before.

Minority groups… click here to read whole article and make comments



Bollywood and gendercide in India

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Today’s blogpost was suggested by an avid reader of Mercatornet. This reader suggested the topic and even sent in links, which makes my job that much easier. Thank you dear reader!

We have talked before on this blog about the terrible gender imbalance that exists in certain parts of India due to female foeticide and the wilful neglect of girl children (see, for example, here and here).  Many recognise the problem within India and are trying to do something about it.  A recent high profile example is the Bollywood actor Aamir Khan, who is using his reality TV show, Satyameve Jayate, to highlight the issue. 

According to the Hindustan Times, earlier this month Satyameve Jayate reviewed a story of:

“…a sting operation conducted seven years back by two journalists to expose increasing female foeticide cases in four states - Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

click here to read whole article and make comments


SUNDAY, 13 MAY 2012

Parents no longer destined for depression

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Two new studies presented at the Population Association of America’s annual meeting have found that parents are happier than their childless counterparts, making previous research to the contrary questionable.  Could the immeasurable love you feel for your children outweigh the sleepless nights, endless washing and nights in after all?

Mikko Myrskylä of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, co-author of one of the two studies based on longitudinal data from British and German parents reported that:

We find no evidence that parental well-being decreases after a child is born to levels preceding the children, but we find strong evidence that well-being is elevated when people are planning and waiting for the child, and in the year when the child is born.

The study found that prior research had not considered modifying sociodemographic factors and individual personality differences which made previous findings problematic.  This research was based on couples… click here to read whole article and make comments


FRIDAY, 11 MAY 2012

Satire, only funny if based upon truth

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Hi everyone, it's almost the weekend so I thought that I'd share with you another little treat from the Onion. For those of you who have never heard of the Onion before, the website is a satirical news site.  It is not the real news. But why is it funny? Because it takes something that is true, or resonates with us from the news and takes it to a new direction. Or in this case, takes it to a funny extreme. But really, is it so extreme? If we are serious about the dangers of overpopulation, why aren't we advocating something similar? After all, if we can sell and eat baby capsules (full of all your essential baby-nutrients!) then we are capable of asking one-third of the population to die. So laugh, and then ask yourself, why is it funny? Because we can see some UN NGO saying something frighteningly similar?

Have a great weekend, I'll… click here to read whole article and make comments



New Zealand’s new birth control plan for female beneficiaries labelled “intrusive”

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The New Zealand government hopes to reduce beneficiaries by offering those on benefits and their children free long acting contraception such as long term contraceptive injections, implants and intra-uterine devices.  Many consider this is tantamount to the government getting involved in women’s reproductive rights and worry that women will be bullied into short term sterilisation.  It certainly sends a strong message that New Zealand doesn’t want people on benefits having children. 

The policy suggests that contraception is an answer to what is in reality a much wider social problem.  It also ignores studies which suggest that mass contraceptive measures affirm a casual approach to sex and increase unwanted pregnancies as a result (for example, see a study into contraception in Spain reported last year which showed that when you reduce the perceived risks of a behavior, people often merely compensate by behaving… click here to read whole article and make comments



Baby Flesh - now available in capsule form!

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Good evening all, the weather here in Nu Zeld has turned – it is raining and windy and generally miserable outside.  So it is a perfect backdrop to the horror and revulsion that I felt when I read this article from the BBC.  The facts as reported need no embellishment:

“South Korea says it will increase customs inspections targeting capsules containing powdered human flesh.

The Korea Customs Service said it had found almost 17,500 of the capsules being smuggled into the country from China since August 2011.

The powdered flesh, which officials said came from dead babies and foetuses, is reportedly thought by some to cure disease and boost stamina.”

So, some people are eating the flesh of dead babies and foetuses to boost their stamina? Isn’t this the very apotheosis of treating human beings as a product that are valuable as long as they can… 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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