Spain is still shrinking

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A couple of years ago we wondered on this blog whether Spain’s unprecedented population decline would continue. Today we can report that yes, it has continued, but at a much slower rate. According to The Local news:

“There were 46.4 million residents in the country as of the first of January, a drop of 72,335, or 0.16 percent, from the same time last year, according to figures from the National Statistics Institute released on Thursday.”

This is not because of a falling birth rate; in fact births were up 0.1 percent last year (the first time this figure has risen in five years), but because more people are leaving Spain than are entering the country. 102,000 more people left the country than arrived last year and not all of them are foreigners returning home; many Spainiards are… click here to read whole article and make comments


MONDAY, 29 JUNE 2015

Surprise slowdown in Australian births

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Data released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics highlights the continuing slowing of Australia's population growth.  The quarterly increase is now lower than that recorded during the global financial crisis.  Caused by an increase in deaths and a slowdown in births and immigration, the unexpected slowdown affects official growth forecasts and came as a surprise to many economists.

John Daley, chief executive of the think tank the Grattan Institute, comments that it could place the budget under pressure by reducing economic growth and revenue.  Gross domestic product has been slowing and is set to slow further.  It could also make interest cuts more likely.  In the long term, many also question how the decrease in population growth will affect house prices.  Any slowdown in population growth increases the risk of a surplus of housing.  Like Auckland, Australia is in the midst of a housing boom, and many people invest in property expecting a… click here to read whole article and make comments



Is Nigeria really as populous as we think?

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Nigeria is a globally important country. It is larger in area than France and Germany combined. Its GDP has recently overtaken South Africa’s to become the largest in Africa. It has the largest population in Africa and some predictions have it reaching nearly 1 billion people by the end of this century. We’ve talked before on this blog about western worries due to Nigeria’s population growth and looked at a couple of views from Nigerians themselves (here and here).  

However, today I want to highlight an issue that the Economist has highlighted that is good to keep in mind when discussing population numbers, and, even more importantly, when discussing population growth predictions. That issue is that we rely on official censuses and figures at our peril. Especially when those numbers have important economic and political implications.

The current estimates of Nigeria’s population stand at a… click here to read whole article and make comments


MONDAY, 22 JUNE 2015

The rise of the ‘elder orphan’

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There are unprecedented numbers of childless and unmarried individuals among the aging Baby Boomer population, leading researchers to coin the new phrase ‘elder orphans’.  According to U.S. Census data, about one-third of Americans aged 45 to 63 are single, a 50% increase from 1980, and nearly 19% of women aged 40 to 44 have no children, compared to 10% in 1980. The trend is causing concern among geriatricians and palliative care physicians who say that many are at risk of becoming ‘elder orphans’ with little support available to them as they age.  Sadly, many will have no known family member or designated person to act on their behalf.

New research led by Maria Torroella Carney, chief of geriatric and palliative medicine at the North Shore-LIJ Health System, finds that there needs to be a greater awareness of this group.  To give a sense of the scale of the issue, the oldest Baby… click here to read whole article and make comments


FRIDAY, 19 JUNE 2015

Laudato si’ rejects population control

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Laudato Si' is the first encyclical written wholly by Pope Francis and is making headlines around the world. This is largely because in it the Pope accepts that climate change is happening, that it is largely down to humanity's actions and that it requires urgent steps to combat it. Of course, for many climate change activists this is a God('s vicar on Earth) send.
However, what is probably not going to be as popular (or as widely reported) is what the Pope has to say about efforts to combat climate change through population control. Population control is often touted as one way to reduce carbon emissions: fewer people = less pollution. This logic however has often seemed to me to be the easy way out. Parts of the world consume far too much and pollute far too much, therefore the answer is for… click here to read whole article and make comments


FRIDAY, 19 JUNE 2015

Europe’s population change in glorious technicolour!

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I love maps. Ever since I was a little boy I have loved looking at maps of the world, at historical maps, at typographical maps. In short, it is fitting that I write for a website entitled "Mercatornet". That is why I am so excited to present the above map to you, dear readers. (Go here for a larger, expanable version of it.)

As I do not read German, I had some help in interpreting it from CityMetric. Apparently, this map was prepared by BBSR (the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development) and it depicts the population changes in each European municipality in the decade 2001-2011. The parts of the map marked pink and red show population growth: light pink shows population growth of up to 1%, darker pink 1-2% and dark red over 2%. Conversely, the blue… click here to read whole article and make comments



Ukraine’s demographic collapse continues

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We've discussed on this blog recently the demographic outlooks of Germany, Italy and Russia. There is also another European country to keep an eye on as it continues its demographic decline: Ukraine. Now, you might not be surprised that Ukraine's population is dropping, there is, after all, ongoing fighting in the east of the country and wafare tends to kill people and drive others from their homeland. As Forbes reports: 

“According to the latest data from Ukraine’s committee on state statistics and Rosstat, which has taken over responsibility for monitoring Crimea’s population in the aftermath of its annexation by Russia, Ukraine’s population including Crimea and Sevastopol declined by more than 250,000 between 2014 and 2015.”

But contrary to what appears to be common sense, this population decline is after taking into account a supposed net inflow of migrants to Ukraine. That is, even accepting the scarcely believable finding that more people have… click here to read whole article and make comments


MONDAY, 15 JUNE 2015

Our world is dramatically transforming

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2015 is roughly the half way point to one of the most astounding transformations in history.  By 2060, for the first time in history, children will be no more numerous than any other age group, and the number of elderly will have increased significantly. This easy to understand, clear summary from The Economist is well-worth the four minutes it takes to watch.  


click here to read whole article and make comments



Egypt worries about its population growth

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The increasing number of births will rob Egypt of some of its imminent demographic dividend—the economic advantage of having few old people and children relative to the number of working adults. “Meeting the demands of this population will require strong, sustained economic growth and redistributive policies,” says Jaime Nadal Roig, who heads Egypt’s branch of the UN’s population fund. Sadly for Egypt, making the economic indicators tick up fast enough is as hard as making the fertility rate go back down.

While this blog has recently focussed on countries such as Germany and Japan that are facing imminent population and economic decline, today we will look at another country that is struggling with the consequences of population growth: Egypt.  A current population of over 88 million, a fertility rate of 3.5 children per woman, a falling infant mortality rate, rising life expectancy for Egyptians, and the prospect of faster population growth have various… click here to read whole article and make comments



Germany’s impending economic decline

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Last month we discussed Germany’s forecast demographic slump in the coming decades. I noted that if this demographic decline turns into economic decline, then Europe and the rest of the World will be in for a bumpy ride in the 21st century. Well, according to the World Economy Institute in Hamburg (HWWI), this demographic decline will seriously threaten the long-term viability of Europe’s leading economy. The Telegraph quotes the Institute as stating that:

“No other industrial country is deteriorating at this speed despite the strong influx of young migrant workers. Germany cannot continue to be a dynamic business hub in the long-run without a strong jobs market[.]”

Interestingly, in the five years 2008-2013, Germany managed 8.2 births per 1,000 people, a figure lower even than Japan’s of 8.4 births per 1,000 people. Such continuously low birth rate means that the… 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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