Where are our young people?

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Young adults represent the future of our economies and are our current and future parents.  Data shows that they are increasingly to be found working in cities in many countries around the world. Countries such as China are trying to deter more young people from moving to urban areas because they are needed in farming communities.  In Sussex, England they are also taking steps to reverse an exodus of young people. Strategies include considering better tourism, transportation, housing, industrial and commercial development, reducing the regulatory burden, and agricultural development.

Here in New Zealand, a country built on farming, there has been discussion in recent months about the future of rural communities and ways to attract young people to rural areas and smaller towns.  Businesses and the farming sector need them if they are not to close down altogether.  Those who do choose to live in such areas have plenty of space for their children, a significantly more affordable house,… click here to read whole article and make comments



Germany - a haven for migrants?

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Hello again everyone. I’m catching up and writing this blogpost in the early afternoon while the rest of the family is sleeping. Hopefully that state of affairs will last for another hour or so – Shannon, Henry and Thomas certainly need the rest! So in the meantime how about we look at immigration to Germany?  As you are probably aware, Germany has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world at around 1.4 children per woman. Counteracting this however is the fact that Germany is now the “world’s second most popular destination – after the US – for immigrants”.  The BBC takes up the story:

“Net migration to Germany has not been this high for 20 years, and even the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) describes it as a boom. In 2012, 400,000 so-called "permanent migrants" arrived here.

They are people who have the right… click here to read whole article and make comments



Another Boy!

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Hi everyone,

So we’ve had a busy weekend! Our second son decided to arrive on Friday evening after very little notice – four hours from go to “whoa”. We made it to hospital (just) and 15mins later Henry John Francis Roberts was born. He was a little shocked by the change in scenery and took a little bit of time to get his breath. But after a bit of help he was crying like a champ. He was 9lbs 1oz at birth, so is a big boy and has a great appetite. He and his Mum are doing well and resting up. Henry's older brother Thomas is a bit concerned that there is now competition for food! We’ll be aiming to be back to normal blogging later on in the week. In the meantime, make sure you’ve read Carolyn’s latest excellent article

click here to read whole article and make comments



Population affects national security - and some are starting to worry

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How might a decreased youth and working age population affect our ability to deal with an international or domestic crisis? Some countries around the world are starting to worry about this question.  It is largely the youth and working age population that provides the manpower to deal with major national crises, if not necessarily the wisdom. 

One South East Asian news source this week questioned Singapore’s ability to be ‘resilient’ in the face of crisis, given its ageing population, low total fertility rates and the decreasing growth of what remains a large foreign population.  Examples of historical incidents include the discovery of the Jemaah Islamiyah plot to bomb several key areas in Singapore in December 2001 or the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) outbreak in 2003.  The latest Singapore Population in Brief (PIB) 2014 report issued by the National Population and Talent Division reports that currently there are 5.2 citizens in the… click here to read whole article and make comments



Should they be driven off the road?

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I have to admit that I am not the most patient driver.  I like to drive in the most efficient way possible, prefer those around me to drive to the speed limit and not below it, and like it when as many cars as possible get through each set of lights - which is sometimes hindered by those who seem to amble along.  I shouldn’t always be in a rush, but somehow when I'm driving I always feel like time is of the essence. 

I have found quite a few times in the last week that people that I consider to be ‘bad drivers’ are very elderly men.  When I see they are very elderly I feel a niggle of guilt at my frustration and lack of patience, but nevertheless such drivers do sometimes cause quite dangerous situations for me, my two year old and my now ‘9 month old’ unborn baby. 

It… click here to read whole article and make comments



The third child: why bother?

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The birth of our second son is drawing ever nearer (there have been many half scares in the last week, but don’t worry the bags are packed and the route to the hospital is ingrained upon my memory so I can do it in the middle of the night when part of me might still be in bed…Shan is also bearing up very well).  As our family is about to change in a massive way I was interested to read in the Irish Times that apparently I will get an “increase of happiness” only one-half of that which I experienced when Thomas (our first son) was born.  Furthermore, apparently by now my happiness that increased after Thomas was born has subsided to “pre-child” levels. Of even more concern is that if we have a third child “the increase in parental happiness” will be “negligible”. 

These are all findings from a new study… click here to read whole article and make comments



Theoretical Population Ethics

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Have you heard of “theoretical population ethics”? No? I hadn’t either before I came across this interesting post from Theron Pummer at the University of Oxford about a new project entitled: Population Ethics: Theory and Practice.  Essentially population ethics is about determining public policy that will have an effect on large populations and that seeks to weigh the identity, size and quality of life of that population in answering knotty theoretical questions.  Since we only have a limited amount of public money, should we spend a sum of money on a “short-term” health intervention that will have a large beneficial effect on a smallish number of people or should we spend that same amount on averting a longer term problem that may not occur but will have catastrophic consequences for most of the human population?

For examples Pummer puts forward three cases: malaria or nukes; malaria or bioterrorism; and worms or… click here to read whole article and make comments



Will demography put an end to Islamic radicalism?

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The radical ‘protestor’ archetype is a university student in their early twenties with plenty of changes in mind that they would like to make to the status quo, and plenty of strength and drive should force or demonstration be needed to enforce a revolutionary view.  One struggles more to imagine large groups of married middle aged ‘radicals’.  It makes sense that as society moves towards a higher proportion of older people that it becomes less radical both socially and politically.

History makes clear that ‘youth bulges’ can set the stage for revolution. Iran was in the midst of a youth bulge before its 1979 revolution, when young people took to the streets and helped to bring down the monarchy in favour of a violently anti-American theocracy.  Iran is a country which has pushed against the Western world and internal revolutionary groups have struggled for control. 

A recent… click here to read whole article and make comments



World population predictions: are we ignoring education?

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There seems to have been a resurgence of doom and gloom population predictions in the last couple of months in the media (see here and here for our treatment of these predictions). So, as an antidote, I present for your consideration a new alternative hypothesis: that the world’s population will peak and then decline from about 2070. According to the researchers from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis who wrote the new book World Population and Human Capital in the 21st Century:

“World population will likely peak at 9.4 billion around 2070 and then decline to around 9 billion by 2100… Alternative scenarios included in the projections range from 7 billion to almost 13 billion by 2100.”

The research was very detailed judging by this description:

“The book involved over 550 experts in a series of surveys and expert workshops held on… click here to read whole article and make comments



Not even WWIII can save us now

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According to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (and reported here by the BBC) there is nothing that we can do about the world’s burgeoning population.  What about starting a global conflict? Surely that will halt population growth I hear you say.  What about if we implement a strict one-child policy like China has? That will surely help, won’t it?  Well, the authors of this study who used data from the World Health Organisation and the US Census Bureau’s international database, even a “catastrophic event” that killed “billions of people” would “have little effect” on the number of people in 2100 dropping below current levels.  Even if China’s one-child policy was to be implemented worldwide, the world’s population would be anything from between five and 10 billion people.  The study concludes that attempts to curb our population as a short-term fix “will not work”. 

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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