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, August 2, 2016

Greeks Remain Europe's Biggest Xenophobes

It is probably no coincidence that xenophobia is a Greek word. They've had a long history of fending off strangers, and this week's Economist has European survey results showing that a majority of Greeks agree with the statement that "having an increasing number of people of many different races, ethnic groups and nationalities in our country makes it a worse place to live":

Pew Research had asked a similar question in the U.S. and you can see in the chart that Greece and the U.S. are at opposite ends of the continuum on this issue. You wouldn't guess it from the rhetoric coming out of the Trump campaign, but the survey results show clearly that Americans are much less xenophobic than Europeans in general.

And guess who seems to be a bit less xenophobic than in the past? Japan. Yes, Japan, which has been so xenophobic historically that it seems almost natural. However, another story in the Economist suggests that Abenomics (the economic policies of Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister) includes a greater incorporation of foreign workers to shore up the Japanese economy.
Thanks to the strength of labour demand, there were almost 908,000 foreign workers last year, up by over 15% from the year before. Japan needs hardworking housekeepers and homebuilders. It also needs high-flying tech leaders, says Takeshi Niinami, who sits on the council for economic and fiscal policy. In this year’s growth strategy, the government proposes to give skilled foreigners permanent residency, with a waiting period of as little as three years, compared with five before 2012.
 It may not go much further than this, but the acceptance of foreign workers is surely an economic benefit to Japan, as it almost certainly would be to Greece...

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