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 13th (it will be out in January 2020), 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.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Demographic Fit in Europe

I was recently interviewed on CNN International's Connect the World program to talk about the results of the censuses from the United States and other countries. They had asked me ahead of time if I would talk also about Argentina (which just completed a census) and Turkey (which is just about to start one), but we never got that far, spending time instead talking about China and India. I had, however, reminded myself of Turkey's demographic situation. In particular, I was struck anew by the tight demographic fit between Turkey and western Europe--especially Germany, with which Turkey has had a century of relations, including guest worker programs. To a certain extent, Turkey is to Germany what Mexico is to the United States--a source of young immigrants to fill in the dents in the age structure. In Turkey right now, 44 percent of the population is under age 25 and is in need of a job. Turkey, like Mexico in recent years, has a strong economy, but not necessarily strong enough to create good jobs for the booming young population. At the same time, in Germany only 25 percent of the population is under 25, and there is a diminishing number of young people to fill in the labor force. The principal difference between Turkey and Germany compared to the United States and Mexico is that Turkey has a larger population than Germany's, whereas Mexico's population is only about one-third of that in the US. That sheer size is almost certainly an impediment to the eventual inclusion of Turkey into the European Union.

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