Well done!

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Having just had a baby in New Zealand, I think that welcoming new people to the world (when they are a wanted baby that is) is something that New Zealand does pretty well.  I am not someone who expects anything for nothing and I feel that during my pregnancy, labour and first few weeks of having my baby I have received a good service for my taxpayer dollar.  There were many checks and balances in place for the wellbeing of myself and my child. 

These started with free maternity care from my midwife (my husband and I happily deleted this expense from our budget – free?! we were surprised).   While I paid for my antenatal course because I wanted to join the Parents Centre, there are free antenatal classes offered by the hospital to prepare you for birth.  Then, when… click here to read whole article and make comments



Polish/Scottish Worries

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Two countries at opposite ends of Europe are struggling with fertility and demographic challenges.  In Poland, the government has announced a pilot program in the Opolskie region in the southwest of the country. This pilot is called a “special demographic zone” and is designed to boost the region’s dismal population outlook.  Opolskie’s total fertility rate is only 1.082 children per women and the region is predicted to lose 12% of its population by the year 2035.  In response:

“The special demographic zone is a project created by the self-government of the Opolskie province aimed at rebuilding the population potential by opening new jobs and creating good living conditions for families so as to encourage them to have more babies.”

The Polish Government will watch the outcome of this pilot program closely.  The Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, announced the project and is aware that with a fertility rate of… click here to read whole article and make comments



Mexico - Another Country Growing Old

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One of the great emerging demography stories is the dramatic decline of fertility in Mexico, a country which was, until a few years ago, “one of the world’s great producers of people” at least according to the Economist.  The change in the country’s population structure has been dramatic:

“Fifty years ago Mexico was one of the world’s great producers of people. In the 1960s Mexican women had an average of seven children each; now they have only 2.4, and before 2020 the number is expected to drop below two. That would give Mexico a lower fertility rate than the United States, which is expected to maintain its current rate of about 2.1.”

Just like the rest of the Western World (and China and Japan) Mexico has stopped having as many children and started living longer. The result has been a dramatic rise in the average age of Mexicans:

click here to read whole article and make comments



Friday Scold

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Paul Ehrlich is someone we’ve mentioned before on this blog. He was the author of a book in the late 1960s which predicted widespread famine and death because of overpopulation.  His predictions were wildly, incredibly wrong.  You can read some of them here. So, presumably after predicting the end of the world and recommending letting India die as too late to save forty years ago, he would have been put out to pasture somewhere, right? Perhaps somewhere he could rant and rave to his heart’s content, perhaps with a sympathetic doctor or nurse to visit him every couple of days to make sure he doesn’t hurt himself?

In fact that isn’t the case and actually he is still a professor of Stamford University and is still speaking to audiences at conferences. Recently he was in Israel giving the “Greetings” address to a Drylands, Deserts and Desertification conference.  Barbara Kay from the… click here to read whole article and make comments



Population increase ‘slowing to a crawl’ in New Zealand

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Like many countries, the New Zealand population increase has “slowed to a crawl” according to news provider ‘Stuff’.  Recently released population statistics for the year ended September 2012 show that live births decreased by 1799, while deaths increased by 249.

Despite both areas’ increasing house prices, the largest decreases in births were in Auckland (down 2%) and Canterbury (down 6%).  The reason for the decrease in Canterbury is thought to be partly explained by the traumatic earthquake which occurred there two years ago.  People are still getting back on their feet and, understandably, many do not feel that’s it’s been a great time for them to have a baby.

Not surprisingly, compared to previous decades deaths were increasingly concentrated in the older age groups.  The reason for this could be both better healthcare and the fact that there are simply more older people now. 

I hope that, with fewer babies and children… click here to read whole article and make comments



Japan’s Future Prospect

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We’ve talked about the demographic situation in Japan before on this blog (see here, here, here, here and here).  The country is facing a problem that is familiar to our readers - an ageing, declining population – but in Japan it is a problem that is much more serious and advanced than in other countries.  According to the 2010 Japan census, published by the Statistics Bureau of Japan, the proportion of Japanese aged 15 years old and under was 13.2% of the population, while those aged 65 years old and above was 23%. This latter figure is the highest proportion in the world; Italy and Germany both claim second spot on 20.4%.

In many respects Japan is the canary in the mine: where it leads demographically, many countries in the West will follow.  However, we should not downplay the real differences… click here to read whole article and make comments



Water, Food, Shelter, Condoms – All are Human Rights says UN

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According to the UN Population Fund’s annual report which was released in Geneva on Wednesday, access to contraception is a universal human right. This is apparently the first time that the report has explicitly stated that family planning is a human right.

Now, I’m not sure on what grounds you can describe contraception a human right. But then again, I’m not sure on what grounds you can say that anything is a human right these days. It seems that you just need someone with an important sounding title (preferably from the UN) saying something is a human right, and then it just needs to get repeated enough and then BOOM! Human right created.

Of course, if something is a human right, then someone needs to pay for it so that people who don’t have that thing can get it. And that is exactly what groups in Canada are urging. As part… click here to read whole article and make comments



What is MAVNI?

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Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is rightly considered a masterpiece. Even though we might deplore the animosity towards the Church which exudes from his volumes, we can only admire the scope of his work which is sustained across thousands of pages by his masterful prose. I was reminded of Gibbon’s classic work when reading this piece in the New York Times about the world’s current preeminent power, the USA:

“The Pentagon has just restarted a program to enlist skilled immigrants into the Army, giving recruits a swift path to citizenship in return for their special abilities in languages and medicine.”

This scheme was suspended three years ago after the Fort Hood massacre (whatever happened to that shooter? it seems to have gone all silent on that front) but will now accept 1500 people a year for the next two years.  It’s… click here to read whole article and make comments



Somewhere, yesterday, there was an election…

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Apparently there was an election somewhere yesterday...actually, I can't lie and pretend I wasn't glued to my monitor hitting the "refresh" button every couple of minutes. I'm just hoping that my pretence of not caring will translate into me actually not caring and then I'll feel better. I really thought that the polls were wrong and that Red would beat Blue. But that was not to be.

There is some interesting demographic analysis coming out at this early stage about the voting patterns. CNN has a great exit poll that breaks down voting by age, race, sex, income, religion etc

Go and check it out, but here are some interesting results:

Romney won 7% more male voters than Obama. But Obama won 11% more females than Romney. The age gap is just as acute - 23% more under 30s voted for Obama and the over 65s voted for Romeny by 12%.… click here to read whole article and make comments



Malaysia’s planned new eco-city

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Malaysia is planning a new green, energy efficient eco-city called “Iskandar Malaysia”.  The country expects the new development, which covers about 2500 square kilometres, to have 3 million residents by 2025.  All the development's energy will be provided from renewable sources, the only available transport will be public, and all waste will be utilised for other purposes.  

The Guardian reports Najib Razak, the prime minister of Malaysia, as commenting:

"Iskandar Malaysia [is] a smart city template – protecting the environment, promoting equitable development and addressing urban development challenges [through] the creation of smart, liveable urban communities that will yield an improved quality of life for thousands of citizens, with safer, cleaner, healthier, more affordable and more vibrant neighbourhoods, serviced by more efficient and… 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 humans 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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