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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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Latinos and the Future of America

I was traveling all of last week and so it has taken me some time to catch up with my reading, such as the front page story (with a whole special section) in last week's Economist, about the role of Latinos in the future of America. It's all good, no matter what the older, predominantly non-Hispanic white population may think. The children of immigrants will fuel the future of America and, in The Economist's view, keep the country at the forefront. I was especially pleased to see demographers highlighted in the story:
In a recent book, “Diversity Explosion”, William Frey of the Brookings Institution, a think-tank, makes an impassioned call to celebrate America’s new demographics. In just a few years, his numbers show, there will be as many whites over 65 as white children. Among non-whites, children outnumber the old by four to one. Take away Hispanics and other fast-growing minorities, and America’s numbers look like those for Italy, a country full of pensioners with a shrinking labour force. As things stand, however, America’s working-age population is expected to grow at a healthy clip.
But there's still work to do:
Steve Murdock of Rice University, a former boss of the US Census bureau, recently published a paper warning Texans that Hispanics are not getting enough advanced degrees and qualifications to replace highly educated whites retiring from their state’s workforce. By 2050, his study predicts, Hispanic workers will outnumber white ones in Texas by almost three to one, but without a change in education policy the state will be poorer and less competitive.
Despite the challenges, the broad base of children in the US (see accompanying graph) bodes well for the country's future. Contrast that with the story in this same issue of The Economist pointing out that Japan has pulled up the drawbridge against refugees.
AROUND 9m people have fled their homes in Syria. Over 3m have taken refuge in neighbouring countries. But thousands more have fanned out across the world, some to as far away as Japan. There, they have found the drawbridge up. The world’s third-largest economy has yet to grant asylum to a single Syrian.
The treatment meted out to Syrians is consistent with Japan’s stingy record on sheltering people fleeing conflicts of all kinds. In the decade to 2013, the country gave asylum to just over 300 refugees. In 2014, the number fell to 11.

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