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.

You can download an iPhone app for the 13th edition from the App Store (search for Weeks Population).

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at:

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Way Forward Demographically

This week's Science magazine (a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and one of the world's most prestigious magazines/journals) is a special issue (Volume 332, Number 6042, 29 July 2011) devoted to an examination of "the opportunities and challenges created by demographic changes around the world." This issue is done in conjunction with the world's "achievement" this year of having 7 billion of us alive at that same time.

Although you cannot read the articles online without a subscription to the magazine, I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy at your library. The website does include a nice seven-minute video providing an overview of the world's population issues, and the introduction to the special issue lays out the problem:
Today these demographic patterns spark concerns, not of a single explosion, but of “cluster bombs” in rapidly growing countries such as Nigeria and Pakistan, which are hobbled by poor governance and limited schooling capacity and already have huge numbers of poorly educated young adults without job prospects.
Debate continues over how best to address these and other problems and over whether rapid population growth is best dealt with by expanding family planning programs or implementing policies that will improve livelihoods and increase the education of girls and young women—or both. Still, many experts remain optimistic that with the right mix of policies, countries can harness the opportunities for economic growth and development offered by a young and educated workforce, congregating in dense, networked urban environments.
The [special issue] contains News stories by Science's staff and research assessments by leading experts, enhanced online with videos and dynamic graphics, explores these issues, many of which continue to split demographers.

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