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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Friday, February 20, 2015

Aging in Latin America

At this moment I on a flight from Miami to Los Angeles, with a connection there back home to San Diego after making two presentations yesterday at the University of Miami (and my thanks to all those at UM that my brief stay very enjoyable). The first talk was about the way in which the changing age structure makes socialism an almost impossible economic model. This is research that my son, Greg Weeks and I are working on, and the examples that we are using include Chile, Venezuela, and Cuba. So, it was interesting to see an article yesterday by Elizabeth Gonzalez of the Council of the Americas discussing population aging in Latin America. There is no doubt that this is happening, and it now been many years since my good friend Roberto Ham-Chande of El Colegio de la Frontera in Tijuana, Mexico started writing about aging in Mexico. 

The aging of a population is a natural process of the combination of declining death and birth rates, as has been happening throughout Latin America, albeit very unevenly. What struck me about the article, though, was that the chart [see below] does not show Cuba, which has one of the most rapidly aging populations in the hemisphere. At the same time, the chart included Venezuela, which is aging very slowly and which, for the time being certainly, needs to concentrate on finding resources for its still quite young population. The country's high level of dependence on oil (a resource that has been squandered by past governments) makes it very difficult for the economy to meet the needs of the constantly growing population except in times when the oil price is not just high, but rising. It is way too early to start worrying about the aging of the Venezuelan population, in my opinion. That takes one's eye off the important demographic of youthfulness that the country still faces.


  1. On Iranian demographics and STD's, FYI:

  2. And Turkmenistan: