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:

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Xenophobia is not Just a "First-World Problem"

Donald Trump was elected to office on an anti-immigrant platform. Brexit was at least partly a response to the arrival of Eastern European immigrants in the U.K. Populism--an outgrowth of xenophobia--is currently rampant throughout Europe. But we have to remember that it is a human frailty, not just a "First-World Problem." The latest example of this comes from South Africa, as reported this week by The Economist:
Waving fighting sticks, improvised spears and shields, they advanced like an army through the streets of central Johannesburg, chanting and singing in Zulu: “Foreigners must go back to where they came from.” As they went they looted and burned shops, attacked a mosque and killed two people. The murders on September 8th came after more than a week of attacks—mostly by South Africans against migrants from other African countries—that had already led to ten deaths.
Nigeria will repatriate 600 of its citizens affected by the violence, starting today. Other foreigners are considering leaving on their own. Government officials and senior leaders of the ruling African National Congress are scrambling to meet African counterparts in an attempt to mend ties—in their own interest. Rioters in Nigeria and Zambia have attacked South African-owned businesses.
These kinds of responses to economic migrants get us back to the long-term solutions that I recently discussed, especially investments in developing countries that can create jobs and keep people home, where in most cases they want to be.

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