Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
"When the economy is bad and people are uncomfortable about their financial future, they tend to postpone having children. We saw that in the Great Depression the 1930s and we're seeing that in the Great Recession today," said Andrew Cherlin, a sociology professor at Johns Hopkins University.
"It could take a few years to turn this around," he added.
Despite this drop, there are still 2 million more people born each year in the US than there are people dying and the death rate has been dropping. Indeed, the infant mortality rate declined between 2007 and 2009 so a slightly higher fraction of the babies born in 2009 will survive compared to 2007.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
These two Asian giants, which until 1800 used to make up half the world economy, are not, like Japan and Germany, mere nation states. In terms of size and population, each is a continent—and for all the glittering growth rates, a poor one.This is uncharted territory that should be seen in terms of decades, not years. Demography is not destiny [emphasis added]. Nor for that matter are long-range economic forecasts from investment banks.
While China is about to see its working-age population shrink (see article), India is enjoying the sort of bulge in manpower which brought sustained booms elsewhere in Asia.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Enormous subdivisions have sprung up in the dunes outside of Cairo, on an almost incomprehensible scale. Already a million people have moved to 6 October City, due west of Cairo, named for the date of the 1973 war between Egypt and Israel still hailed as a seminal Arab victory. A similar number have moved east of the city, to a settlement unimaginatively dubbed “New Cairo.”
The government’s original plans — which are widely considered more wishful than literal — conceived of 6 October City’s expanding to 3 million by 2020 and New Cairo to 4 million, primarily as havens for working-class Cairenes. So far, however, the overwhelming majority of new residents come from Egypt’s uppermost economic strata.
This overflow is, of course, a result of the huge youth bulge that Egypt confronts after decades of a much higher birth rate than infant death rate. Fertility is declining, but the momentum of past high fertility is sweeping the country, and Cairo, along.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Across the continent, more than 30 percent of malaria medicines are estimated to be fake, and many look identical to the real thing...Previous studies from agencies including the World Health Organization have shown about 30 to 60 percent of medicines in Africa are counterfeit or substandard.
Ghanaian entrepreneur Bright Simons developed the mPedigree system; its technology and security infrastructure is now being provided by Hewlett Packard. The system assigns a unique code to genuine malaria medicines, printed on the back of medicine blister packs under a sheet that is scratched off like a lottery ticket.
Customers send a text message to a central hot line with the code and instantly get an "OK" response telling them if the drug is registered and thus real. It also sends them additional information like the drug's manufacturer and expiration date.
If the drug isn't registered and potentially fake, people receive a text message that says "No. Please recheck code." The system is free for consumers and is paid for by pharmaceutical companies and governments.
This is all made possible by the genuinely explosive growth in cell phone use Africa, helping to transform the way people think about the world and, in the case of texting for drugs, improving their ability to stay alive.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Waiting also would allow India more time to curb a rapidly growing population that threatens to turn its demography from a prized asset into a crippling burden. With almost 1.2 billion people, India is disproportionately young; roughly half the population is younger than 25. This “demographic dividend” is one reason some economists predict that India could surpass China in economic growth rates within five years. India will have a young, vast work force while a rapidly aging China will face the burden of supporting an older population.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Announced last month by the French president and his ministers, the decision to dismantle Gypsy camps will see some 700 people with Romanian passports sent back to the country by the end of August. A first batch of 79 travellers is due to arrive in Bucharest today; another 131 have been sent to Timisoara.
Friday, August 20, 2010
"We're prepared to be quite supportive of a real engagement on the issue," said John Rother, director of public policy for AARP. Acting sooner allows for changes to be made gradually, he said, and will reassure younger workers that the program will be there for them.
Germany raised its retirement age by two years, to age 67. In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy has proposed raising the retirement age to 62, up two years. According to the World Bank, Hungary has raised its retirement age, while Poland has moved to reduce incentives for early retirement, and other nations have changed the way benefits are calculated.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
The argument that diaspora volunteerism can compensate for perceived development losses stemming from “brain drain” has been advanced for decades. But it remains controversial. Several high-profile initiatives target highly skilled and technical professionals from the diaspora for short- or medium-term consultancies in their countries of origin — often as volunteers. These programs grew out of the 1970s concern that the departure of highly skilled individuals represented a substantial human resource loss for many developing countries.
More recently, debates about the development implications of highly skilled migration have become more balanced, although they have certainly not disappeared. Scholars and policymakers have come to recognize three important points: (1) Many skilled migrants continue to contribute to and maintain ties with their countries of origin after departure (“brain circulation”); (2) Had their migration options been restricted, fewer people would have been able to develop their skill; and (3) The prospect of increased opportunities for skilled migrants may influence the educational decisions of youth in some developing countries, yielding higher overall educational outcomes and a more skilled domestic workforce.
In essence, we are witnessing the evolution of transnational migrants from simply having their boots in two countries to making significant contributions to both the country of origin and destination--i.e., having their roots in two countries. This can be a driver of social change in both places.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
The authorities say as many as 20 million people are affected by the floods. The UN says six million desperately need emergency aid but most still have not received it. Ten of thousands of villages remain under water.
There are growing health concerns for those surviving without proper shelter, food or clean drinking water, three weeks after the country's worst natural disaster began.
Thus far, the Pakistani government has been overwhelmed by the disaster, and the global community has been slow to respond in terms of providing aid. It is likely to take a long time for the country to recover from this and a huge question will be whether this kind of disaster will lead to a higher, rather than lower, birth rate.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Policy makers have long worried that Americans aren't saving enough for old age. And lately, current and prospective retirees have been hit on many fronts at once: They have less money, they earn less on what they have, their houses aren't rising in value and the prospect of working longer to make up the shortfall has dimmed significantly in a lousy job market.Before the recession hit, many economists assumed people would solve their retirement problems simply by staying in the work force longer. Now, "the recession has blown that idea out of the water," says Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College and co-author of a 2008 book that advocated working longer.The diminishing work prospects will require many older folks to make do with less—a discouraging outlook for firms hoping to sell them everything from restaurant meals to cars.The impact isn't limited to people on the verge of retiring. Younger people, too, will have to reduce consumption now to save enough money to get by in retirement.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Women who have unprotected intercourse have about 1 chance in 20 of becoming pregnant. Those who take Plan B within three days cut that risk to about 1 in 40, while those who take ella would cut that risk to about 1 in 50, regulators say. Studies show that ella is less effective in obese women.The FDA approval was greeted by cheers and jeers depending upon which side of the abortion issue people stand. However, Dr. James Trussell, director of the Office of Population Research at Princeton, who has consulted without charge for ella’s maker argues that ““Emergency contraception has no effect on pregnancy rates or abortion rates. Women just don’t use them enough to make an impact.”
Friday, August 13, 2010
An estimated 340,000 of the 4.3 million babies born in the United States in 2008 were the offspring of unauthorized immigrants, Unauthorized immigrants comprise slightly more than 4% of the adult population of the U.S., but because they are relatively young and have high birthrates, their children make up a much larger share of both the newborn population (8%) and the child population (7% of those younger than age 18) in this country.Of course this feeds into the increasingly acrimonious immigration debate in the US. The same state senator in Arizona who crafted SB1070 in that state has been calling for a change to the Constitution to prohibit children of undocumented immigrants from automatically becoming US citizens. The state of Utah is considering new legislation that would set up guest worker programs between Utah and specific states in Mexico. If passed, such a law would also infringe on federal prerogatives, as the Courts have ruled is the case in the Arizona law. In the meantime, the Obama administration has simply continued the policies of the Bush administration, and Congress has done nothing yet to deal with immigration reform.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Colorectal cancers tend to grow slowly and are easily removed if caught early. But many people over 50 do not comply with the recommendation to have a colonoscopy — a time-consuming procedure in which a tube is threaded up the intestine — and even colonoscopies do not catch everything. Colorectal cancer has become the second most common cancer in the United States; each year it causes more than 50,000 deaths and costs about $14 billion to treat.
Colon tumors provide considerable evidence of their presence by shedding blood and cells that are detectable in the stool. Tests for blood have reduced deaths from colorectal cancer only modestly, because they are not very sensitive to precancerous polyps, the stage at which cancer is best prevented.
The new tests being developed rely on measuring changes in DNA produced by cancerous cells and appear to be more effective than the stool sample tests currently being used.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Friday, August 6, 2010
“I believe environmental innovation will be one of the key growth drivers for the economy in the coming decades, similar to how information technology has been since the 1980s,” says Anna Davydova, portfolio manager of the new Fidelity Select Environment and Alternative Energy Portfolio. “Billions of people in the developing world are aspiring to achieve the developed countries' standard of living, including modern homes, automobiles, infrastructure, and a better diet,” says Davydova. “As a result, demand for the world's supply of energy, water, and other resources has been growing rapidly.” She believes these factors will drive global demand for a more diverse mix of energy resources–both traditional and alternative–as well as increased focus on energy independence and pollution control.In other words, Fidelity wants us to think of dealing with an increasing number of people not only as a problem, but also as an opportunity--do good for the planet and make some money at the same time. It is hard to argue with that.