MONDAY, 31 AUGUST 2015

The huge economic contribution of family caregivers

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I have often opined that the economic contribution of parents should be better recognised, not least by mothers and fathers themselves.  Likewise, a recent report has found that the contribution of family members that look after elderly family members is huge and an essential part of our social, health, and economic systems. The economic contributions of these invisible workforces often go unnoticed when provided by family members, as opposed to employed nannies or caregivers.

In its ‘Valuing the Invaluable: 2015 Update’, the AARP Public Policy Institute studied the economic value of family caregiving and the crucial economic service those who provide unpaid care and support provide. The institute focuses on a wide range of issues of concern to older Americans, and found that in 2013 about 40 million family caregivers in the United States provided an estimated 37 billion hours of care to an adult with some sort… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

WEDNESDAY, 26 AUGUST 2015

Quads born at the age of 65!

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Here is a news story I saw the other night on one of New Zealand's news channels. I leave it here for you to watch with only a couple of questions:

  • Why would you get IVF when you are 65 years old?
  • Why would any doctor agree to give IVF when the patient is 65 years old and already has 13 children?
  • Is she mad?
  • How do you look that remarkeably well when you are 65 and have 17 children???? 
  • Is this woman single-handedly trying to reverse Germany's desperately low birth rate?
click here to read whole article and make comments

 

MONDAY, 24 AUGUST 2015

The joys of parenting

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Apparently parenthood makes a person more unhappy than divorce, unemployment and even the death of a partner, according to a study published this month in the journal Demography.  If this is what journals and papers around the world are headlining, it doesn’t bode well for future birth rates.

The aim of the study was to better understand widespread low birth rates and why so many couples stop at one child, even when they have previously said that they want more.  For example, Germany’s current birth rate has remained at only 1.5 children per woman over the last 40 years, even though in surveys a majority of people say that they would like more than that. 

Researchers Rachel Margolis, a sociology researcher at the University of Western Ontario, and Mikko Myrskylä, director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, followed 2,016 Germans from childlessness until… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

FRIDAY, 21 AUGUST 2015

Population growth in California?

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Although demography sometimes seems as if it is a dry, perhaps somewhat boring, discipline it is always good to keep in mind that the counting of populations is also deeply political. As such, there is always the possibility that the figures that we take for granted as being accurate have been manipulated for political ends. This is not just a simple case of corrupt, third-world countries lying about the statistics (like perhaps in Nigeria). It is also perhaps seen in first world European countries publishing misleading emigration numbers (like Spain?) or in a global superpower hiding its true decline (like China?)

Misleading demographic numbers can also be used in different ways by politicians from across the political divide, as Joe Mathews argues is happening in California. Although… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

THURSDAY, 20 AUGUST 2015

UN report shows population increase does not spell disaster

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School feeding programme in India. Fflglobalpics via Wikimedia 

 

Contrary to the fear mongering of population alarmists, the world isn’t heading for a demographic catastrophe. The latest data on world population from the UN Population Division reveal a number of trends that indicate otherwise. The following is PRI’s brief overview of some of the findings from the recently released 2015 Revision of theWorld Population Prospects.

According to the UN Population Division’s medium variant projection, world population is estimated to be 7.3 billion today. That number is expected to rise to 9.7 billion by 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100. In the past two and a half decades, world population has increased by 2 billion people. Yet despite the rapid rise in world population, the percentage of people living with hunger in developing countries has actually dropped from 24% to 14% over the… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

WEDNESDAY, 19 AUGUST 2015

The demographic “crossover” from China to India

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Within a decade or so we will see a momentous shift in the global balance of power; China will cease to be the most populous nation on Earth. It will be overtaken by its southern neighbour, India. This is not only symbolically important (although it is that) but also has important economic implications. But do we really realise what a shift we will live through in the next decade? As Gordon Chang writes in the National Interest, China has been the world’s most populous states “for at least three centuries and perhaps for all recorded history”. But by 2022, according to the UN’s World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision, China’s population will be overtaken by India’s. This prediction is actually six years’ earlier than the UN’s previous predicted crossover point, released only two years ago. In short, the country’s demographic (relative) decline is… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

MONDAY, 17 AUGUST 2015

Are nuns dying out?

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Movies such as The Sound of Music, The Blues Brothers and Sister Act evidence the intrigue surrounding the life of a nun.  Nuns in their 30s aren’t as common as they once were so the average person isn't as likely to come into contact with one. In fact, according to Pew Research Centre data the numbers of religious in America has declined dramatically since the 1960’s. However, they are on the increase again in some places such as the United Kingdom, with the most attractive institutes interestingly being the more traditional orders, such as those who follow traditional prayer routines and still wear habits.

This week The Wall Street Journal published insights into the life of 30 year old Sister Bethany Madonna together with seven other Sisters of Life also in their 30s. Based in New York, the Sisters of… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

FRIDAY, 14 AUGUST 2015

A new Israeli demographic order

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In many countries around the world, there is a concern that falling fertility rates, fewer workers and an ageing population will bring problems: who will pay for the social services that many liberal democracies rely on? Who will man the armies in the future? In Israel, there seems to be another demographic problem that is causing similar concerns. (Of course, for Israel the question of recruits for its armed forces is of more pressing concern than for many other nations.) But what is Israel's demographic problem? Doesn't Israel have a thriving, growing population? Well, according to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, speaking during Israel's prestigious Herzliya Conference, the changing internal demographics of the country are resulting in a “New Israeli Order”. This internal demographic change is aside from any real or apparent external demographic changes (such as an external Palestinian demographic threat, a topic… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

WEDNESDAY, 12 AUGUST 2015

Abandoned villages for sale!

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Are you interested in buying a charming Spanish village? Well, you might be in luck as there are at least 400 such villages in Galicia (North-West Spain) that Mark Adkinson, founder of the Galician Country Homes real estate firm, has identified that “could possibly be on the market if the ownership rights were determined”. In fact Adkinson is probably under counting – Spain's National Statistics Institute estimated that there were around 3,000 abandoned villages in Spain and that over half of them were within Galicia.

Why is there such a concentration in this one area of Spain? According to the Christian Science Monitor, there are so many abandoned villages in Galicia simply because the area “is dying”. The Galician statistics institute warned recently that the region could lose a third of its population (1 million residents) by 2050: there are not large numbers of immigrants coming… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

TUESDAY, 11 AUGUST 2015

How our ageing population influences the economy

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Our time of life affects they way we use our money - whether we are looking to borrow or whether we are looking to save, whether we want a safe investment with a guaranteed return, or whether we want to take a risk.  As we all know, there are currently a lot more elderly people in the world than ever before.  

When elderly people save more money without investing it in businesses or infrastructure it affects our economy.  Spending falls and interest rates also fall because banks don’t need high interest rates to attract savers, but do want to encourage lending.  When more people save, more money is available to lend, so the ‘price’ of money drops.

 The 'global savings glut theory’ works like this:

- Ageing savers become more conservative as they get closer to retirement. That means they're more likely to put their savings into a bank than… 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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