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:

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The World is Especially Messy in the Mid-Latitudes

Last Friday was World Humanitarian Day. I admit that I missed it at the time, but the Humanitarian Information Unit of the U.S. State Department did not. Indeed, they created a very useful, even if somewhat dispiriting global map showing the various humanitarian "situations" that currently exist. To my knowledge, none of these situations is caused solely and directly by demography, but of course demographic trends underlie everything going on in the world, in some way or another. In most of these instances, a history of rapid population growth has combined with insufficient economic growth to create environments in which political instability and violence can fester and erupt. Note, in particular, that the mid-latitudes are way over-represented in this map. The problems created in those places, especially Africa and South Asia, but also Latin America, then spread over into neighboring countries.

Next week's European Population Conference, taking place in Mainz, Germany, has the theme of "Demographic Change and Policy Implications". With any luck, this map will be a centerpiece for much of the conference's discussion.

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