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, September 14, 2017

The Gates Foundation Keeps Track of the UN Sustainable Goals for Us

This year's report from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the first in what they say will be an annual series between now and 2030, as they track world progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
We are launching this report this year and will publish it every year until 2030 because we want to accelerate progress in the fight against poverty by helping to diagnose urgent problems, identify promising solutions, measure and interpret key results, and spread best practices.

As it happens, this report comes out at a time when there is more doubt than usual about the world’s commitment to development. In our own country, Congress is currently considering how to deal with the big cuts to foreign aid proposed in the president’s budget. A similar mood of retrenchment has taken hold in other donor countries. Meanwhile, most developing countries need to do more to prioritize the welfare of their poorest citizens.
This report tracks 18 data points included in the SDGs that we believe are fundamental to people’s health and well-being. To complement the data, we’re also telling the stories behind the numbers—about the leaders, innovations, and policies that have made the difference in countries where progress has been most significant.
The very first goal in the report relates to child mortality (deaths under age 5). 

As you look at the graph above, keep in mind the long-term declining trend in child mortality illustrated by Max Roser, as I noted a few days ago. This is a key to societal well-being and the drop in deaths among children represent the most potent source of population growth if not accompanied immediately by a decline in fertility. The Gates Foundation gets this connection and so third on the list of goals they are keeping track of is the rise in the use of modern contraception. Fortunately, this is going up nearly everywhere in the world with the notable exception of countries in Africa, as Michel Garenne discusses in a story posted today on the IUSSP website.

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