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, January 18, 2017

Demography is a Drama in Slow Motion

Thanks to Abu Daoud for pointing me to an excellent story in this week's Foreign Policy abut the demographic trends that will be shaping the world between now and the middle of this century. The author, Paul Taylor, was formerly at Pew Research and now is at Encore.org (an organization dedicated to creating a positive future out of the aging of America). The stories are familiar ones to readers of my book, but it always helps to have these ideas reinforced.
The 21st century is still just a teenager, but we can already forecast with a fair degree of confidence what its demographic profile will look like by 2050. Population growth will have slowed down. Global aging will have risen to unprecedented levels. Birthrates will drop. The working-age share of the world’s population will shrink. Poverty will ameliorate in poor countries; income inequality will worsen in wealthy ones. And for the first time ever, Islam will challenge Christianity as the world’s largest religion.
Taylor reminds us that the population is going to be growing most quickly in Africa:
By midcentury, the world’s fastest-growing region, Africa, is projected to see its population more than double, while the slowest-growing region, Europe, is expected to see its population decline by about 4 percent. This means that in 2050 there will be around 3.5 times more Africans (2.5 billion) than Europeans (707 million). In 1950, there were nearly twice as many Europeans as Africans. Demography is a drama in slow motion. But tick by tock, it transforms the world.
I love that phraseology--I couldn't have said it better. 

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