Tuesday, September 01, 2009

On Jamaican population trends

The Jamaica Observer's Arlene Martin-Wilkins reports that Jamaica, relatively one of the more important emigration countries, is set to see net population decline by 2050 thanks to the demographic transition and emigration.

Jamaica's population is growing at an annual rate of 1.1 per cent and is on track to reach 2.8 million by mid-2025, approximately 100,000 more residents than it has today.

But the country is expected to see a decline in its inhabitants down to the 2009 level by mid-2050, according to the 2009 World Population Data Sheet released recently by the Washington-based Population Reference Bureau (PRB) which also projects the global population to hit seven billion in 2011 and 9.4 billion by 2050.

Carl Haub, senior demographer at the PRB and co-author of the report, told the Observer that the decline in 2050 will be primarily due to the imbalance between Jamaica's birth and net emigration rates.

"The projection for Jamaica makes several assumptions, as is done for all countries. First, that the birth rate will continue its decline so that women in Jamaica will eventually average less than two children each. And, second, that net emigration, ie, more people leaving Jamaica than arriving, will remain negative," Haub said.

"It does also assume that life expectancy at birth will continue to rise slowly but that has much less effect than the first two components of change previously mentioned," he added.

[. . .]

"The projection for Jamaica's population assumes that the birth rate will decline from 2.4 children on average today to 1.9 by 2050. [It] also assumes net migration will continue at about 20,000 leaving the country. One result of the projection is that a virtually stationary population size makes it easier to raise standards of education and living since the number of young people will remain relatively stable," he said.

"Of course, jobs will have to be provided but at least it's not an ever-increasing need for jobs," he, however, emphasised.

This conclusion isn't surprising since Jamaica already has a large diaspora of perhaps 1.5 million, quite large relative to the island nation's current population of roughly 2.7 million, while the island's poverty certainly will continue to propel outwards migration to richer Anglophone countries.


Anonymous said...

If Jamaica's path is similar to that followed by most of the developed states then the TFR prediction might be somewhat conservative. Few developed states have a TFR 1.9 and some late demographic stage developing states (Cuba for example) have substantially below that number as well.

Cicerone said...

There are cultural differences. We don't know yet how a developed country behaves, of which the majority of the people are black christians. In Canada and the USA, the fertility rate of black people is 0.3 higher than the rate of white people in these countries, so maybe Jamaica will decline only to 1.9?

Anonymous said...

While I agree with what you say the fertility I still think the 1.9 number could prove to be a bit high. It does seem that the fertility will decline much slower in Jamaica than in most of Asia, including the Middle East, since it has been falling at a much slower rate in recent times.

The fertility gap from the black population of the U.S. and the white population seems to be slowly shrinking over time and a portion of the gap could be accounted for by the fact that a larger portion of the black population resides in the south rather than regions such as the the north-east (which has a low fertility rate). Whites in the south also have a higher fertility rate than in most northern states although still somewhat lower than the black population.

The differences in the frequency of out of marriage births (the gap in this statistic might be slowly shrinking over time here too) might also account for another portion of the difference.

Still, based on the evidence it does seem that the black Christian population in the U.S., Canada, and probably the Caribbean will be one of the higher TFR groups for a long time.

Anonymous said...

After making the last post I began to agree with Cicerone's statement that "We don't know yet..." to a great extent than before. There is some data that gives clues about what might happen in this area but it is rather limited.

Anonymous said...

Class and relative income is a good predictor of fertility. It is not exactly a secret that blacks are poorer than whites in America which is IMHO the reason for their higher fertility rate. European blacks are comparative much closer to their white countrymen and from the country i know the ftr from it is only slightly higher.

Jamaica is predominantly black so black Jamaicans don't have a higher TFR because they are the poor in Jamaica (they are average in Jamaica). They are very traditional and that is negative for fertility but the acceptance of out of marriage births is a positive for fertility.