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:

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Bad Business in Burundi

Burundi is a relatively small (11 million people) East African country that has had more internal war than peace in the years since independence from Belgium in 1962. It is one of the very poorest countries in the world, with a very high fertility rate (6.2 children per woman), accompanied by high infant and child mortality, high maternal mortality, and overall high mortality. Regular conflict between the majority Hutu and minority Tutsi populations does not help any of this. However, the latest conflict began last year (April 2015) when the current president, Pierre Nkurunziza, announced that he was running for a third term and then was re-elected, despite the fact that the country's constitution prohibits a third term. Reuters reported yesterday that the UN and the African Union want to send peace-keeping troops in, but the Burundi government is thus far resisting that. In the meantime, more than 200,000 Burundians have been displaced, some internally and some as refugees in neighboring countries.

The U.S. State Department's Humanitarian Information Unit has been monitoring the demographic situation there, and recently produced a map (see below) detailing the current state of affairs. At this moment, it is difficult to tell how this is going to play out, but it is unlikely to improve the lives of people in Burundi or the neighboring countries.

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