Population Decline


Niue: A dying Island

Marcus Roberts | 17 July 2014
Is there any future for this remote Pacific paradise?

Japan’s Shrinking Role in the World

Marcus Roberts | 08 April 2014
2013 saw a record annual decline in the population of Japan during peacetime.

Ukraine: another problem for the beleaguered nation

Marcus Roberts | 04 March 2014
Aside from Russia, Ukraine has to worry about its demographic outlook.

Tokyo’s 2020 peak

Marcus Roberts | 12 November 2013
The 2020 Summer Olympics will mark the start of Tokyo's rapid population decline.

Migrants in Russia: a love-hate relationship

Marcus Roberts | 08 November 2013
The Russian economy needs migrant workers, but some of its citizens aren't so sure.

How can Germany arrest its population decline?

Marcus Roberts | 06 September 2013
Germany is waking up to its population crisis, but will any governmental policies work?

Detroit: Bankrupt and Empty

Marcus Roberts | 26 July 2013
Is Detroit's impending bankruptcy a glimpse into a future for other declining cities and countries?

Ukraine suffering population decline

Marcus Roberts | 22 July 2013
Let's add Ukraine to the list of European countries in population decline.

Spain is Shrinking

Marcus Roberts | 02 May 2013
Spain's population has declined in 2012. Is this the start of a longterm trend?

Family friendly policies the answer to demographic woes?

Shannon Roberts | 11 February 2013
This week I recommend you to an interesting interview conducted by John Rosen on the Wall Street Journal website with the author of a new book called “What to expect when no one’s expecting”. You can find it here. The author, Jonathan Last, succinctly summarises many of the challenges facing the world as a result of low birth rates. We only have to look like countries like Greece to see that we can’t afford entitlements, for example, without a young working population paying taxes.

Waitangi Day and Japan

Marcus Roberts | 06 February 2013
Happy Waitangi Day! And what does the future hold for Japan?

Is Rural New Zealand Dying Out?

Marcus Roberts | 18 June 2012
New Zealand's rural population is set to decline and get older.

Putin Wants More Babies

Marcus Roberts | 15 February 2012
Putin has set out his policy platform on demography in his presidential re-election bid.

Bulgaria: Another Demographic Timebomb

Marcus Roberts | 27 January 2012
Bulgaria's future is looking bleak as its population is declining and growing older.

Ageing Europe’s future as a “cultural theme park”

Marcus Roberts | 09 January 2012
A new book points to the demographic implosion behind the eurozone crisis.

Eberstadt on Russia’s Demographic Decline

Marcus Roberts | 18 November 2011
An article by Nicholas Eberstadt in the latest Foreign Affairs magazine sheds some light on Russia's worsening demographic crisis.

Detroit’s Population Problems

Marcus Roberts | 28 October 2011
Detroit is grappling with the problems of losing 25% of its population in the last 10 years.

Russia and the Belt of the Mother of God

Marcus Roberts | 21 October 2011
A venerated Orthodox relic is starting a month-long tour of Russia to boost fertility.

Germany’s demographic gloom

Carolyn Moynihan | 27 May 2010
Germany is struggling to solve its population and demographic crisis, reporting that last year births dropped by 30,000 and there was a net loss of 13,000 people through migration.

Russia’s brief burst of optimism

Michael Cook | 13 January 2010
With a population of 141.9 million, Russia is registering a growth for the first time since 1995, says Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. For the past five years the number of Russian deaths had declined, while births had risen. Life-expectancy is about to reach the age of 69.
 
Welcome to Demography Is Destiny, MercatorNet’s blog about human dignity and population. We launched this after seeing two themes crop up constantly in the media: that humans are a cancer which is destroying our planet and that world population is spiralling up to unsustainable levels. 

Although many people dress up these concerns in global warming T-shirts, the underlying issue is the Population Bomb. Back in the 1960s the Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich proclaimed that Malthus was right: the world faced mass starvation because there was too little food and too many people. Well, Ehrlich was proved wrong over and over again, and over and over again the fear comes back, like a vampire sucking optimism and hope out of modern society. I hope that this blog helps to put a stake through the heart of this dangerous and indefensible idea.

Dangerous, because the unsupported notion that the world cannot support its population is being used to promote human rights abuses, including coercive population programs. And indefensible, because world population, is actually on track to a steep decline. You could call it catastrophic, except that we are trying to avoid fostering apocalyptic fears on MercatorNet. We prefer to leave that to climate-change scaremongers. But it will certainly bring about enormous problems. At the moment, world population is about 6.8 billion. By the year 2050, it will rise to 9 billion, according to a United Nations scenario for mid-range fertility rates. But this global statistic conceals the fact that populations in many developed countries will actually decline. The number of elderly will increase enormously. Russia’s population will decline by one-fifth by 2050, for instance.

Huge problems are looming because of this “demographic winter” – social, financial, human rights, geo-political, cultural, and religious. We hope to track these changes, puncture illusions, and foster hope with Demography Is Destiny. And there is plenty of room for hope. After all, in the oft-quoted words of economist Julian Simon, people are the “ultimate resource”. We may not be over-populated, but we do have plenty of intelligent, inventive, adaptive people.

Where did we get the name? The catchphrase “Demography is Destiny” has almost become a cliché. It seems that it was coined by the French philosopher and sociologist August Comte in the 19th Century. But it still rings true.


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