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, January 15, 2013

John Wilmoth Takes Over as Director of the UN Population Division

In January of 2012 Hania Zlotnik retired as Director of the UN's Population Division after seven years in that position. This month, the UN named John Wilmoth, Professor of Demography at UC, Berkeley, as the new Director of the Population Division. He is taking a leave of absence from Berkeley to assume the position, as he did a few years ago when he was Chief of the Population Division's Mortality Section. Although Zlotnik was a Mexican citizen, whereas Wilmoth is a US citizen, they both share the characteristic of having a doctorate from the demography at Princeton University. The Population Division seemed to run very well under Dr. Zlotnik and I am sure that it will continue to do so under Dr. Wilmoth. Here is his overall take on future issues that the Population Division, and the rest of us, will have to deal with:
It is seldom true that a particular population trend is inherently good or bad. Nevertheless, population trends are powerful forces that shape the social world in fundamental ways, and therefore we must be aware of what is happening and take appropriate steps to respond to the challenges that emerge from demographic changes.
That, of course, is pretty much what my entire book is about. I couldn't have said it better.


  1. Best wishes to Dr. Wilmoth. Is Princeton considered the best program on demographics out there? Or are there are other ones comparable to it?

    A question I've been thinking about, but have never seen anyone address: I was looking at the demographics of Moldova yesterday and the population appears to be in a state of irreversible decline. TFR is about 1.4, more deaths than births every year, and net out-migration. These three trends have been in place for about 20 years now. Given all of this, it appears that the demographics are in irreversible decline. At what point does having a nation state named Moldova become untenable? Historically what has happened to such depopulated regions after having a state is no longer possible?

    Thank you.


  2. What a great choice by UN-- good luck to him! I'm sure Cal will miss his presence.
    I thought this was a neat comment too (seems just like plain facts, but neatly said I think):
    "Take migration, for example: it can be a disruptive process for everyone involved (not only for the migrants themselves, but also for their communities of origin and destination). Yet, migration also serves many useful purposes: it reallocates labor resources from areas of surplus to areas of need, it creates numerous opportunities for the migrants themselves, and it fosters social and economic linkages between places of origin and destination."