TUESDAY, 31 MARCH 2015

Iran’s push for more children

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Iran is worried about its birth rates. In the period 1980-1985, the country had a total fertility rate of about 6 and a half children per woman. By 2005-2010, this had dropped to 1.77 children per woman. An extremely sharp drop within one generation. This drop in the demographic outlook of the country has prompted the Iranian authorities to think about ways to increase its future population. (After all, if you're enriching uranium to use in nuclear power plants you need lots of future consumers to buy that nuclear power, right? Right??) In July 2012, the Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Syed Ali Khamenei said:

“The policy of population control and family planning should definitely be revised and the authorities should build the culture in order to abandon the current status of one child, two children [per family]…The figure of 150 or 200 million was once stated by Imam Khomeini. That is… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

THURSDAY, 26 MARCH 2015

The changing face of America

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The face of mainstream America continues to change, and by 2044 white people of European descent with be a minority in America.  They currently make up about two thirds of the population, but change is irreversible and happening fast.  America is an international force both politically and economically, so changes to its makeup will affect all of us. 

This story is about white decline, rather than increased immigration.  We acknowledged this phenomenon on this blog back in 2013 when demographer William Frey commented that the slow decline of the white population will “characterise this century” of American history.  In a similar article in 2012, I cited an article in the New Scientist that month which warned that the "wealthy, ageing white population of America must be prepared to invest in young Hispanics" to protect their own "golden future".

This month The Economist is again grappling with a future which involves the current population… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

WEDNESDAY, 25 MARCH 2015

What a night!!

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I am a little tired and hoarse today after last night. This wasn't because I was out until the early hours of the morning partying...oh wait, yes I was. I was with 42,000 other people screaming and yelling and crying and laughing and hugging strangers and high fiving other strangers at 11pm last night. At 10.45pm last night I was chewing my finger nails with 42,000 other people and you couldn't hear a pin drop. That's right: I was at the cricket semi-final last night between New Zealand and South Africa. (I mentioned my good fortune of receiving tickets for my birthday last week.) And what a semi-final it was. I have been a life-long cricketing tragic and have suffered a lot for supporting the New Zealand team, but last night's game made up for a lot of that suffering. Not all of it of course, but a lot. 

It came… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

MONDAY, 23 MARCH 2015

A society working for a rich elite?

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Debate stirred by International Women’s Day has been thought-provoking.  The media abounds with encouragement for women in CEO positions and strategies for how more could and should get there.  However, how many women are truly hankering after a CEO position to complete the greatest desires of their souls?  For the majority of us, our satisfaction with relationships, family life and the emotional well-being of our children is what most contributes to our day-to-day happiness and well-being. The editorial in the March edition of First Things put forward an insightful point:  It is a small rich elite that benefits from the cultural shift around work, marriage and family in recent years, and the poor that are forsaken by their destruction.  It comments:

Today’s progressivism has come a long way from Pete Seeger’s communism.  It’s now almost entirely pre-occupied with elite issues.  Organs of the liberal establishment … focus on the… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

THURSDAY, 19 MARCH 2015

Will low-birth-rate Turks become a minority in their own country?

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Turkey is emerging as a powerhouse in the Eastern Mediterranean: an economic power that has greater influence in the region and that promotes itself as a “model Muslim democracy”. However, the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is worried about a problem that many Western nations are used to: a declining fertility rate and demographic problems in the medium future.

As the International Business Times reports, rising household incomes, greater access to education for women and increased use of birth control has seen the Turkish fertility rate steadily decline since the 1990s.

“Indeed, Dr. Ismet Koç, a demographer at Hacettepe University in Ankara, warned that Turkey's fertility rate is now below 2.1, the replacement level, which suggests the population will eventually decline. The fertility level in more prosperous western Turkey is now about 1.5 -- roughly the same as in Western Europe.”

But that… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

TUESDAY, 17 MARCH 2015

The Cricket World Cup

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It was my 30th birthday yesterday. I am not too concerned however, since I am confidently told that 30 is the “new 21”. Unfortunately, despite such comforting thoughts, I cannot escape the cold hard truth that I am now firmly in the older half of the world's population: the global median age is 28.4 years old. Luckily I was treated to a lovely birthday to take my mind off impending dotage: I went out to dinner while my sister babysat the boys and she and my brother-in-law gave me tickets to next week's Cricket World Cup semi-final in Auckland.

Now, for those of you too uncultured to appreciate the finer points of cricket, I feel sorry for you, I really do. You are missing out on one of the wonders of the world. Further, you probably have not been following the progress of the magnificent New Zealand team who have gone undefeated in their… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

MONDAY, 16 MARCH 2015

Let’s be neighbourly

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Last week I watched a tragic news article about a block of Christchurch flats where, on two separate occasions within the last couple of years, a resident has died in their apartment and not been discovered for over a month.  What does this say about interaction between neighbours and family support structures? 

With steeply rising numbers of elderly people, support structures around the world will need strengthening in the coming years, especially if a greater number than ever before are childless or only have one or two children to rely on for family support.

Good neighbours do not only affect our happiness.  Leading new research published mid last year has also discovered that they may make us healthier. The small things we do for each other really do make a difference.

The University of Michigan team who undertook the study used data from 5276 people aged over 50 with no history of… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

FRIDAY, 13 MARCH 2015

Australia’s population future

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Last week we saw on this blog a glimpse into the population future of the United States. By 2060 the USA is going to be older, more diverse and much larger than it is today. Something similar is being predicted for Australia we learned last week as the Aussie government released its fourth intergenerational report. This is a report that is produced by the Federal Government which must be released every five years. It looks at the long range impacts of population and government policy on the federal budget.

This year's report was billed by Australian Treasurer, Joe Hockey as quite exciting: indeed he predicted that it would make people “fall off their chairs” which is quite dramatic. Now, I did fall off my chair when I heard about the findings in the report, but I can be forgiven since I write a blog on… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

FRIDAY, 13 MARCH 2015

Demographic change spells trouble across Middle East

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Syrian Kurdish refugees fleeing into Turkey / European Commission / flickr   

As Islamic State (IS) and Shi’a militias backed by Iraq and Iran continue their missions to create “pure” sectarian enclaves, changing demographics throughout the region could be a harbinger of more conflict to come. Large flows of refugees and disparate birth rates not only have the propensity to prolong violence in Iraq and Syria, but could drastically reconfigure the make-up of strong states like Turkey and Israel. Lebanon’s perennially fragile sectarian balance is also at risk.

As the civil war in Syria intensified, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s claim to be fighting al-Qaeda became a self-fulfilling prophecy with the rise of the al-Nusra Front and IS. Their atrocities resulted in many Syrian minorities coalescing around the ostensibly secular Assad regime.

In Iraq, minority Christians and click here to read whole article and make comments


 

WEDNESDAY, 11 MARCH 2015

Things to make you go “ohhhhh”

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At around 7pm we usually get the two boys into bed (not necessarily asleep of course...). At this time there is a light magazine style show called Seven Sharp (because it's on at 7pm sharp..get it? Get it?) that has stories that range between the interesting, the “ohhhh, that's cute”, the banal and the bizarre. We don't watch it all the time, but some nights we have it on in the background. The other night was one such night and Shannon noticed that there was an interesting story on it about an adventurous family outside of Feilding (a town with population of about 15,000 in the Manawatu region of the North Island of New Zealand). The family have some room on their property and have used it in a unique way to have fun. In fact, they've been having so much fun that the guys from Nitro Circus (stunt riders and daredevils) turned up to check it out. The story… 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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