Population Notion

It’s been a long time since I last posted. I was already wondering when and what will trigger me to start posting again. This population growth talk is killing me! The DOH (over at TV Patrol) expressed fear for a growing population and emphasized the need for sex education and promotion of both natural and artificial family planning. The DOH! The Department of Health for crying out loud is talking about solving population growth! I didn’t know that population growth is a disease. The best department to talk about population WITH demographics is the NSO. They have all the data to study the pattern and then coordinate with the government regarding measures. But the DOH should not have a say in this. They should only be talking about how to prevent HIV, AH1N1, Dengue and other fatal diseases.

Here’s an interesting warning from world renowned columnist at The Economist, Peter Drucker:

Beware demographic changes

Population predictions for the next 20 years can be made with some certainty because almost everybody who will be in the workforce in 2020 is already alive. But, as American experience in the past couple of decades has shown, demographic trends can change quite suddenly and unpredictably, with fairly immediate effects. The American baby boom of the late 1940s, for instance, triggered the housing boom of the 1950s.

In the mid-1920s America had its first “baby bust”. Between 1925 and 1935 the birth rate declined by almost half, dipping below the replacement rate of 2.2 live births per woman. In the late 1930s, President Roosevelt’s Commission on American Population (consisting of the country’s most eminent demographers and statisticians) confidently predicted that America’s population would peak in 1945 and would then start declining. But an exploding birth rate in the late 1940s proved it wrong. Within ten years, the number of live births per woman doubled from 1.8 to 3.6. Between 1947 and 1957, America experienced an astonishing “baby boom”. The number of babies born rose from 2.5m to 4.1m.

Then, in 1960-61, the opposite happened. Instead of the expected second-wave baby boom as the first boomers reached adulthood, there was a big bust. Between 1961 and 1975, the birth rate fell from 3.7 to 1.8. The number of babies born went down from 4.3m in 1960 to 3.1m in 1975. The next surprise was the “baby boom echo” in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The number of live births went up quite sharply, surpassing even the numbers of the first baby boom’s peak years. With the benefit of hindsight, it is now clear that this echo was triggered by large-scale immigration into America, beginning in the early 1970s. When the girls born to these early immigrants started having children of their own in the late 1980s, their birth rates were still closer to those of their parents’ country of origin than to those of their adopted country. Fully one-fifth of all children of school age in California in the first decade of this century have at least one foreign-born parent.

But nobody knows what caused the two baby busts, or the baby boom of the 1940s. Both busts occurred when the economy was doing well, which in theory should have encouraged people to have lots of children. And the baby boom should never have happened, because historically birth rates have always gone down after a big war. The truth is that we simply do not understand what determines birth rates in modern societies. So demographics will not only be the most important factor in the next society, it will also be the least predictable and least controllable one.”

Another interesting article here. Read all the way up to the comments. A pretty good exchange of views without being emotional (save for some). Just be critical.


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