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.

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Are Demographics Involved in the Protests in Libya?

There are plenty of reasons for Libyans to be fed up with their government, but the role of demographics is not easy to tease out. When Gaddafi took over the country in 1969 there were fewer than 2 million people in Libya, but in the past 42 years it has more than tripled to 6.5 million--which is still smaller than many cities in the world. In 1969 the TFR in Libya was 7.6 and the IMR was 105. Since then the TFR has dropped to 2.7 and the IMR has plummeted to 18 per 1,000--accompanied by a 20 year rise in life expectancy from 52 to 72. Although it is a young country because fertility is still well above replacement, the percentage of the population that is in the critical ages of 15-24 is now only 17, down from 19 when Gaddafi too over. Most importantly, oil revenues have pushed up the average income in Libya and it is now $16,400 per person, according to World Bank data. Overall, then, it is a very different type of country than either Egypt or Tunisia, and if Gaddafi's regime is toppled, it would be difficult to say that demography was the most important reason.

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