This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at:

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Hispanic Fertility is Dropping in the U.S.

I have not blogged for a while because I am working very hard to finish up the 13th edition of POPULATION, which should be available this Fall. However, I had to say something today because so many of you sent me a link to the New York Times story on the fertility decline among Hispanics in the U.S. The NYT story is based largely on a report just out from the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families in Bethesda, Maryland, and their report is based on data compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Here's the bottom line:
Between 2006 and 2017, the Hispanic fertility rate fell by 31 percent, compared with just 5 percent for white women and 11 percent for black women. The especially large decline among Hispanic women is likely driven, in part, by recent changes in the composition of the U.S. Hispanic population. The share of U.S. Latinos who are foreign-born is getting smaller, and foreign-born Hispanic women generally have higher fertility than U.S.-born Hispanic women.
Continued fertility declines among Hispanics will help push the total fertility rate in the U.S. even further below replacement level.
Fertility rates are dropping among all race/ethnic groups in the United States, and although the drop has been highest for Hispanic women, they do still have the highest birth rates of any group. I agree with the assessment that the higher percentage of U.S.-born Hispanics is very influential in these trends, but keep in mind that this is largely because of the recent steep drop in migration from Mexico, which is closely related to the precipitous drop in fertility within Mexico.

Back in January I was on TV here in San Diego talking about the decline in the birth rate in the United States, and if you'd like to check that out, follow this link to KUSI-TV, and go in about 15 minutes--I was the third guest on the "San Diego People" program.

OK--back to the 13th edition...

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Pakistan's Supreme Court Drops "Population Bomb"

The Supreme Court of Pakistan yesterday produced a genuine "wow" moment when they urged the country to strive for a two child per family norm. The Times of India reports that:
Describing Pakistan's rapidly growing population as a "ticking timebomb", the Supreme Court Tuesday urged religious scholars, the civil society and the government to back population control measures, including a two children per family norm, in the Muslim-majority country.
A three-member bench led by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar made the observations during a hearing in a case related to population control in Pakistan, now the world's fifth most populous.
"The increasing population is a burden on the country's resources. It is about the future of the next generation. It would be unfortunate if the population is not controlled. Two children per home will help to control the population. There is a need for a campaign on the matter," the apex court was quoted as saying by the report. "The entire nation needs to stand together to control the population," the chief justice said.
The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has also voiced its concern at the rapid increase of population in the country, calling it a looming disaster.
In a recent press statement, the PMA said the birth of 15,000 babies in Pakistan on the 1st day of 2019 was alarming. The PMA thinks that it is a distressing situation as at the moment as 60 per cent of the national population stands below the age of 25 years; 25 million children are not going to school and 90 per cent the population is not being provided with clean drinking water. Malnutrition is another big issue and food scarcity is a big problem, the association said. 
The PMA said it believes that the unchecked rise in the population is a looming disaster, and concrete steps should be taken to implement family planning and make people-friendly economic policies to overcome these difficulties and save the coming generations.
Pakistan has wrestled with the question of family planning for most of its history. During the 1950s and 1960s there were concerted efforts to organize government-sponsored programs, but political instability has undermined their efficacy over time. With any luck, this time will be different.