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, November 13, 2011

The Demographic Magic of 11/11/11

The eleventh of November 2011 turned out to be a very popular day for marriage for a lot of reasons. I happened to be traveling that day and overheard the TSA security person at the San Diego airport joking that it was because husbands could always remember an easy date like that and so would not be caught forgetting their wedding anniversary. However, one of the more compelling demographic reasons for liking the date comes from China, and is reported by BBC News:

Thousands of couples across China have opted to get married on what is being called "Super Singles Day".
"Singles Day" or "Bachelors Day" is thought to have first been marked in the 1990s by male university students.
They celebrated it on 11 November as the date contains only the number one, which can mean "bare sticks" in Chinese and refer to bachelors.
This year's event is even more significant as it falls on 11/11/11, which happens every 100 years.
Shanghai alone had more than 3,300 couples who booked to get married, but the final tally could be higher as it did not include people who walked in unannounced, a civil affairs bureau spokeswoman told the AFP news agency.
In the eastern city of Nanjing - where most people believe the unofficial festival came from - more than 3,000 couples planned to marry.
This was 10 times the usual daily average, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
One of the more fascinating aspects of any celebration related to a date is the arbitrariness of the calendar itself. The date 11/11/11 refers to the modern Christian calendar, in a world where the majority of people (especially, in this case, China) are not Christian. Go figure.

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