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

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Is Copenhagen the World's Best City?

A few days ago, the New York Times noted that Copenhagen has been named the world's most livable city for the second year in a year by Monocle Magazine. I'm not sure what Monocle's credentials are to make this pronouncement, but the idea is that these cities "get things right." As you'll note if you watch the short video profiling Copenhagen, Tokyo, and Vancouver, one of the comments about Copenhagen is that they are dealing with "immigration issues." The Migration Policy Institute in Washington DC just released a report looking at the way that Denmark has been attempting to "mainstream" its immigrants. Here's the background:
Of Denmark's total population, 10.4 percent (580,461) were immigrants and their descendants in January 2012. approximately 30 per cent of this share lives in the two biggest cities, Copenhagen and Aarhus. Approximately two-thirds of Denmark's immigrant-origin population is from non-Western countries (the five largest groups are people of Turkish, Polish, Iraqi, Bosnia-Herzeogovinian, and Iranian origin).
You can appreciate that four of the five countries of origin are predominantly Muslim, but with a combination of Shia and Sunni backgrounds, and the other is a predominantly Catholic country--all moving to a country where Lutheran Protestantism is the state religion. The country pushes the learning of Danish and tries to keep immigrants in the regular education and employment channels, rather than providing separate programs. The country has also tried to limit family reunification and asylum applications while trying to emphasize the importance of entering as a labor migrant or a student.

How is all this working? I'll report back to you next week, when my wife and I visit Copenhagen for the first time. This will be a special visit because my wife's grandfather migrated from Denmark to the US (settling in Iowa and then South Dakota) in 1901. We know the village where he was born and even have a photo of the family's seaweed-thatched-roof house that was still standing 60 years ago when it was last visited by a family member. A couple of years ago a Danish student in my class pointed out that census household listings for Denmark's 19th century censuses were available on line, so I was able to download that information and confirm the information for her grandfather, who was age one at the time of the 1880 census.


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