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  1:03:44 PM

Russian Duma welcomes delegates

The Moscow Demographic Summit organised by the World Congress of Families begins Wednesday and this blog will be updating you regularly with posts direct from the event. To kick off, here is today's press release from Larry Jacobs, ECF's Managing Director:

The Russian Duma has officially welcomed delegates to the “Moscow Demographic Summit: The Family and the Future of Humankind,” which opens on June 29 at the Russian State Social University.

The letter of support is dated June 22, 2011 and signed by Ye. B. Mizulina (Elena Mizulina, pictured), chairwoman of the Duma’s Committee on Family, Women and Children Affairs.  It reads:

“Dear Participants of the Moscow Demographic Summit,

We welcome you with all our hearts, we wish success to the work of the Moscow Demographic Summit: Family and the Future of Humankind,… click here to read whole article and make comments

  7:48:06 PM

Gerontocracies everywhere in Italy

Are too many old people in Italy causing discrimination against young people? It seems the young can't even get a foot in the door to the Italian mafia because all the top spots are taken by men going strong at 80. Not surprisingly, they are also finding it increasingly difficult to climb the corporate ladder.  The Economist reports:

Politics is the most visible one. The average age on taking office of Italy's 11 prime ministers since 1990 was 62. Mr Berlusconi, the current incumbent, is 74. Cesare Geronzi, one of the great power-brokers in Italian business, was 76 when he was forced out as chairman of Generali, Italy’s biggest insurer, in April. His predecessor, Antoine Bernheim, left at 85. Journalism is little better: the same ageing columnists keep filling the op-ed pages in Italy’s… click here to read whole article and make comments

  1:36:19 PM

What do Bulgaria and Canna have in common?

Apparently in the 1980s, Bulgaria was expecting its 9 millionth citizen (actually “9 millionth comrade” may be the more accurate terminology for back then…) That 9 millionth Bulgarian didn’t come. Since then, there has been the emigration of around 300,000 Turkish Bulgarians in the mid-1980s as well as the emigration of up to 1 million Bulgarians following the fall of communism in 1989.  In 2001, there were 7,932,984 Bulgarians.  According to the latest census figures, that number is now only 7,351,234, a drop of about 7% in a decade. This has led to the country becoming obsessed with its demographic future, with some fearing that the country will continue to decline until it disappears sometime in the near future.

Another population decline in Europe is even more severe. Over the past 180 years the population has declined… click here to read whole article and make comments

  8:56:53 AM

Babies as another commodity


Are babies becoming just another commodity?  Laurie Penny argues yes.  Contradictorily we spend most of our lives trying not to have babies – just about the only medication we regularly take to change a healthy condition – and apparently the latter part of our fertile lives trying desperately to have one, at almost any cost in some cases.  And some are exploiting this situation.

Penny reports that:

In rural Nepal, where the going rate for a healthy orphan is US$6000 ($7449), about 600 children are missing... Between 2001 and 2007, hundreds of Nepali children with living parents were falsely listed as orphans and adopted by high-paying Western couples a world away... Nepal is not the only country where international conventions on the rights of children have been breached as unscrupulous middlemen trade toddlers like livestock… click here to read whole article and make comments

  4:34:29 PM

New Zealand Marriages; US Births


Late last week the future of marriage in this country was questioned in parts of the media as the general marriage rate fell to an all-time low.  In 2010, there were 12.5 marriages for every 1000 people who weren’t married, the lowest rate since records began in the early 1960s.  (The Statistics New Zealand report can be found here.) The absolute number marriages last year was 20,940, less than 2009, but not the lowest number ever recorded, contrary to what the media breathlessly reported. (By my count there were eleven years since 1992 which recorded fewer marriages than in 2010.)

However, the fact remains that marriages have become less common in NZ over the past forty years; that the median age at which people are getting married has increased over the same period (by about nine years);… click here to read whole article and make comments

  3:19:50 PM

Gendercide Recognition

At the beginning of this month, Members of the US Congress, demographers and representatives from human rights organisations got together in Washington DC to  “launch an effort to end the gendercide of girls”.  The humanitarian organisation All Girls Allowed (its website is here) hosted a film showing and press conference, demographers presented research to Member of Congress showing the link between war and a “male youth bulge” (something we've covered on this blog here), while the economic, trade and currency valuation implications of such a gender imbalance in India and China were discussed.

The point of all of this was to “proclaim one truth that everyone agrees on: Gendercide – the systemic elimination of a particular gender – is wrong.”

I would hope that everyone agrees with that statement, especially when one… click here to read whole article and make comments

  2:48:57 PM

Palestinian Demography – A Lesson in Caution?


We’ve mentioned before some concerns that have been raised by demographers as to the accuracy and methodology of the UN’s world population forecasts and how dangerous these forecasts can be when used to promote certain policies

Now here is another example of the politics of demography and how the numbers can be massaged to ensure that the “right” answer is reached.  This example comes from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the recent visit of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the United States. During this visit, the demographics of the Middle East were bandied about a crucial factor in determining the region’s political future.  In particular, much was made of the population growth of the Palestinian people and how this was creating pressure on Israel to try to solve the long-running conflict.

However,… click here to read whole article and make comments

  11:38:04 AM

Healthier women have twins

Recent research finds that women that are healthier than the average mother are more likely to naturally conceive twins.  It makes sense that nature would work this way, given that twins are generally more a burden on their mother than one baby.  The research, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society and undertaken by Shannen Robson and Ken Smith of the University of Utah, shows that mothers of twins are healthier than other mothers, have more children at shorter intervals over a longer period of time, and are older at their last birth.  Demographer Ken. R. Smith, senior author of the study and a professor of family and consumer studies states that:

"The findings do not mean having twins is healthy for women, but instead that healthier women have an increased… click here to read whole article and make comments

  2:07:53 PM

World Report on Disabilities


After four years of work by 360 researches from around the globe, the World Bank and the World Health Organisation have released a “World Report on Disability”.

According to the Report, and to the headlines, 15% of humanity, or around one billion people, has a disability.

These numbers are frankly staggering, but less so when one considers what is counted as a disability. The report, which can be viewed here, describes a disability as an interaction between the person and their environment, rather than an attribute of the individual herself. A disability refers to the negative interaction between a person with a health condition and his environment (which includes both personal and environmental factors). Thus, those with disabilities aren’t just those in a wheelchair (the photo used to illustrate this post… click here to read whole article and make comments

  10:21:36 AM

Moscow Demographic Summit Update


Moscow must be counting down! (No, not to the Rugby World Cup, although there are only 93 days to go until the opening ceremony, and Russia’s first game is on 15 September against the USA…)  There are only three short weeks to go until the opening of the Moscow Demographic Summit: The Family and the Future of Humankind. On June 29-30, the Russian State Social University will host the Summit which will focus on the worldwide phenomenon of declining birth rates and is being sponsored by the World Congress of Families.

With the start of the Summit fast approaching, the list of speakers at the Summit has been announced.  Additionally, Patriach Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, has sent an official message of greeting to those attending it. His Holiness cited with approval the aim… click here to read whole article and make comments


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