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: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Girl Babies at Highest Risk in the Philippines

The recent typhoon in the Philippines generated thousands of victims, but Justin Stoler just sent me a link to a disturbing finding--girl babies are significantly more victimized by typhoons in that country than are boy babies. The story is based on a study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.
While officials report roughly 740 deaths on average every year due to typhoon exposure in the Philippines, post-typhoon mortality among baby girls is approximately 15 times higher than that, likely due to the storm’s indirect poverty-worsening effects.
The risk of a baby girl dying after a typhoon doubles if she has older sisters in the home, and the risk doubles again if she has older brothers—suggesting that the competition for resources among siblings may play a key role in these deaths.
The researchers did not find a spike in the mortality rates for baby boys, but they uncovered an elevated mortality risk among baby girls that lasts up to two years after a typhoon.
Note that the research is based on a series of typhoons. While the most recent one was much worse than normal, disastrous typhoons are not uncommon in the Philippines. That raises the other disturbing question, mentioned in the article, about the general lack of readiness within the country for disasters of this kind.

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