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).

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Friday, December 29, 2017

National Academies Press Top Ten Highlights Demography Connections

It has always been my contention that demography is related to everything going on in the world. Sometimes distantly, I admit, but still connected. I had exactly that thought as I went down the list of the Top Ten of the most downloaded publications of 2017 from the National Academies Press. Keep in mind that all of these publications from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine are free to download in PDF format--they only charge if you want a hard copy or an e-book copy. So, there is no price barrier to downloading and reading these reports. Here is the Top Ten and my evaluation of their connection to demography, even if no demographers were involved in the committees that wrote the report.

1. The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research. You might think that this is only about getting high, but there are clearly demonstrated medicinal uses for marijuana which may not keep you alive longer, but may allow you to enjoy life a bit more. Of course, as with almost anything of this nature, too much may kill you (and others) earlier than expected.

2. Communicating Science Effectively: A Research Agenda In this era where the lessons of science, including demographic science, seem often to be under attack, it is important that we figure out how to get the messages out there successfully.

3. The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration I blogged about this when it came out:

4. Human Genome Editing: Science, Ethics, and Governance Human genome editing is one of the ways in which we may be able to forestall death and/or improve health as we age, so this can affect mortality and the aging process.

5. Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity Once again the theme is on health care, in this case the issue of getting rid of major inequalities in death rates and causes of death.

6. Preventing Cognitive Decline and Dementia: A Way Forward This deals with our ability to function as we age. Success in this area could greatly diminish the cost to families and society in general of our staying alive longer.

7. Seeing Students Learn Science: Integrating Assessment and Instruction in the Classroom Again the issue is making sure that science is separated from fiction as children learn how the world works.

8. Valuing Climate Damages: Updating Estimation of the Social Cost of Carbon Dioxide The growing population, and our growing use of resources to sustain and improve people's lives have consequences and understanding and mitigating those costs is crucial to the future of human existence on this planet.

9. Information Technology and the U.S. Workforce: Where Are We and Where Do We Go from Here? A key demographic in any part of the world is the set of livelihoods of the population. The Industrial Revolution created a whole new set of jobs in the world and the Information Technology Revolution is doing the same.

10. Review of the Draft Climate Science Special Report The Trump administration may not be interested in climate change, but American scientists continue to monitor the damage that we humans are doing to the planet--and more specifically our own country--as we grow in numbers.

Of course, I have to admit that my obviously selfish all time favorite read from the National Academies Press is this one:  Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises (2007).

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