Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Singapore's population has grown to almost 5 million and a quarter of that is foreign workers, whose influx has sparked concerns among its citizens about competition for jobs and living standards.
The non-resident population in the financial and shipping hub, from Swiss bankers to Filipino maids, climbed nearly five percent in 2009, following on from two years of even stronger growth when booming Asian markets attracted workers.
The government's annual population report said the number of foreigners getting permanent residency status also surged more than 11 percent in 2009. Foreign workers looking to avoid having to leave the city-state after losing their jobs could account for part of that increase, analysts say.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said earlier this month the government will restrict the flow of foreign workers after the global economic recession hit Singapore's growth, while still recognising the city-state still needs foreigners.
"For a small country like Singapore, acquiring and nurturing human talent is a matter of survival," Lee said in a speech on Tuesday at a conference on human capital. The government has said it wants to raise long-term economic growth by increasing the population by 35 percent over the next 40-50 years through immigration, a policy that has drawn plenty of criticism from Singaporeans, themselves mostly immigrants from China, India and Southeast Asia in the past two centuries.
Ethnically and linguistically diverse, the Singaporean population has continued to grow, despite a very sharp fall in birth rates, thanks to immigration. Interestingly, the author notes that fertility rates by ethnic group diverge in Singapore roughly the same way as in Malaysia, a subject that I blogged about last month.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
The outflow is leaving its mark on places like downtown Framingham, Mass. The Boston suburb, founded in the 1600s by English settlers, began to acquire its Latin flair in the late 1990s when placards in Portuguese and the green, yellow, and blue of the Brazilian flag began popping up in once-vacant downtown storefronts. By mid-2005, one-quarter of Framingham’s residents was foreign-born, the vast majority of them Brazilian. An estimated 70 percent of the stores downtown are Brazilian-owned.
In the past two years, however, the number of Brazilians living here has dwindled. Local estimates vary widely – up to 40 percent have left, according to the owner of one prominent local flower shop.
“There’s [fewer] immigrants out on the streets,” says Gilberto Yoshida, president of Chang Express, which has been selling plane tickets to South America for 16 years. His company saw a “tremendous spike” in one-way tickets to Brazil sold last winter, which is when seasonal construction and outdoor work tend to dry up. What is clear is that almost no new immigrants are coming in.
“Zero. Zero. Zero. No one is coming from Brazil,” says Manuel Barilio, as he counts the handwritten entries in his spiral notebook where immigrants register to say they’re looking for work. Mr. Barilio, director of the Bom Samaritano social services center in Framingham, says he now gets at most a handful of entries each day.
The change is evident statewide. Massachusetts, once a top destination for Brazilian immigrants, along with Florida, New Jersey, and New York, used to receive about 50,000 a year during the boom years, says Fausto da Rocha, executive director of the Brazilian Immigrant Center in Allston, Mass. In the past two years, about 17,000 of the state’s approximately 200,000 Brazilians have gone back home, he estimates.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Between the Soviet census of 1989 and the Ukrainian census of 2001, Ukraine's population declined from 51,271,996 to 48,077,020, a loss of 3,194,976 people or 6.23% of the 1989 population. Making it to date a country with the lowest birth rate in Europe. However, this trend has been quite uneven and varied regionally. Three regions in western Ukraine — Volyn, Rivne, and Zakarpattia saw a slight population increase of 0.2%, 0.8% and 1%, respectively. Collectively, between 1989 and 2001 the seven western regions annexed to the USSR in 1939 lost 119,893 people or 1.2% of their 1989 population. The total population of these regions in 2001 was 9,593,800.
Between 1989 and 2001, the population of Kiev region increased by 6.9% and that of Kiev City by 1.5%. Outside the capital, the central, southern and eastern regions experienced a severe decline in population. Between 1989 and 2001, the [Donetsk] region lost 470,681 people or 8.9% of its population, and neighbouring Luhansk region lost 10.9% of its population. Cherkasy region, in central Ukraine south of Kiev, lost 10.8%, while Odessa region lost 155,245 people, or 5.9% of its 1989 population. By 2001, Crimea's population declined by 396,795 people, representing 16.33% of the 1989 population, despite the return of displaced groups such as Crimean Tatars. Collectively, the net population loss in those parts of Ukraine that had belonged to the USSR prior to 1939 was 3,075,083 people or 6% of the 1989 population. The total population of these regions in 2001 was 38,483,220.
Thus, from 1989 until 2001 the pattern of population change was one of modest growth in Kiev, slight declines in western Ukraine, significant declines in eastern, central and southern Ukraine and a catastrophic decline in Crimea.
Regional differences in birth rates may account for some of the demographic differences. In the third quarter of 2007, for instance, the highest birth rate among Ukrainian regions occurred in Volyn Oblast, with a birth rate of 13.4/1,000 people, compared to the Ukrainian country-wide average of 9.6/1,000 people, which is the lowest in Europe. Volyn's birthrate is higher than the birth rate in any European country with the exceptions of Iceland and Albania. In 2007, for the first time since 1990, five Ukrainian regions (Zakarpattia Oblast, Rivne Oblast,Volyn Oblast, Lviv Oblast, and Kiev Oblast) experienced more births than deaths. This demonstrates a positive trend of increasing birthrates in the last couple of years throughout Ukraine. The ratio of births to deaths in those regions in 2007 was 119%, 117%, 110%, 100.7%, and 108%, respectively. With the exception of Kiev region, all of the regions with more births than deaths were in western Ukraine.
This set of divergences is very interesting, especially since it maps onto very real cultural differences between Ukraine's different regions. Take language, for instance. Broadly speaking, western Ukraine is solidly Ukrainophone, while central Ukraine is partly so (Ukrainophone in the rural, at least officially shifting away from Russian in the cities), while eastern Ukraine is solidly Russophone with some active speakers of Ukrainian concentrated in rural areas. If--to identify one possible scenario--western and central Ukraine do relatively well through their links to Europe and their relatively larger cohorts of working-age people, while an eastern Ukraine with a declining industrial economy and rapidly shrinking population closely associated to Russia, major political, economic, even geopolitical shifts could reasonably be expected. Too, this evidence fits with a thesis that I'm developing, derived from Estonian and Latvian experiences, suggesting that Russophones evidence significantly lower cohort fertility and significantly higher mortality than many other ethnolinguistic groups in the west of the former Soviet Union.
The problem for me is that I'm not doing a very good job of finding this information. One of the best sources that I can find comes from Brienna Perelli-Harris' 2008 Demographic Research study "Ukraine: On the border between old and new in uncertain times".
Fertility in Ukraine differs significantly by region and to some degree by ethnicity. According to 2000 official data, the TFR was 1.4 births per woman in Western Ukraine, 1.1 in Central Ukraine and 1.0 in Eastern Ukraine. Some of this difference is attributable to urban-rural differences; the majority of the population in the East lives in cities, while western Ukraine is largely rural. Yet the regions differ in other ways, e.g., in their orientation towards family life and national identity. Focus group respondents from all regions thought that the western region of the country followed a more traditional, religious, and nationalistic family orientation, while they perceived that the eastern part of the country remained under the influence of Soviet ideology. Political attitudes, public opinion, and electoral behavior are consistently found to be associated with regional differences (Kubicek 2000, Birch 2000, Barrington 2002, Arel 1995). The regions also followed different economic trajectories. Eastern Ukraine is more industrialized than the other regions, specializing in coal mining and heavy industry, and following political independence from the Soviet Union, much of this region became economically depressed. Central Ukraine, called the breadbasket of the Soviet Union, has been dominated by agriculture, food processing, and light industry. Western Ukraine historically has been primarily engaged in agricultural production, but its productivity lagged behind other regions (Birch 2000); following the break up of the Soviet Union, this region began to orient itself towards the West, with many inhabitants temporarily migrating abroad for work. Thus, each region has faced different challenges during the post-Soviet period, challenges that may result in a variety of family formation responses and need to be analyzed further. (15)
This is useful, agreed, but more data yet would be wonderful. This data shortage is particularly aggravating since I've seen these divergences mentioned in brief throughout the blogosphere, but with no data attached.
I put it to the readers of Demography Matters: What do you know about the regional demographic divergences in Ukraine above? Can you point to links and cites, in whatever language? Is this an actual phenomenon, or is it distorted somehow?
Thursday, September 24, 2009
According to a report on the Slon.ru portal, “it is possible that now live in Russia not 142 million people as has been considered all this year but 139.98 million,” a figure Rosstat fixed on but does not yet report “in the process of the preparation for the census,” which will now take place in 2013 (www.slon.ru/articles/137535/).
In an article entitled “The Miracles of Statistics,” Konstantin Gaaze, Ekaterina Chekmareva, and Boris Grozovsky say that the decision to delay the census means that no one in Russia will be in a position to definitively resolve this and other differences until at least 2014 when the results of the 2013 enumeration will become available.
Russian officials have explained the delay almost entirely in terms of cost, citing budgetary shortfalls because of the current economic crisis. But the three analysts argue that cost may be far from the most important reasons for the delay: after all, they say, the census would cost less than one-tenth of one percent of the government’s annual budget even now.
The two groups most disappointed by the Russian government’s decision to delay the census by three years are regional officials who now face a more difficult time in arguing for greater funds for what they claim are larger populations and the leadership and staff of Rosstat itself.
“We are experiencing the putting off of the census as a personal grief,” one Rosstat employee said. “We had prepared for it, awaited it, and wanted it.” And some at that agency are convinced that the delay will sooner or later cost Vladimir Sokolin, the head of Rosstat who argued passionately for the census, his job.
What are the preliminary findings?
Summing up its findings, Rosstat calculated that there are 137.8 million people registered and resident and approximately 2.3 million more registered but not resident (the figure drawn from the 2002 count) for a total of 139.98 million – far less than the 141.9 million that Rosstat put out as the country’s population on July 1.
Rosstat employees warned the Slon.ru journalists that its data are preliminary and suggested that no one should take them too seriously. But another said that “the difference between the data of the census and those registered should not be [as] large” as Rosstat had found in this case.
The number of migrants and the distributrion of the population seem to be the key problems here.
Can our readers, Russophone or otherwise, shed any light on this subject?
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Canadian women gave birth to 367,864 babies in Canada in 2007, up 13,247 or 3.7% from 2006 and the fastest annual increase since 1989.
The number of births rose in all age groups, particularly among mothers aged 30 to 34, and in every province and territory, except Prince Edward Island and Yukon.
The total fertility rate, or the average number of children per woman, increased from 1.59 in 2006 to 1.66 in 2007.
While this was the highest total fertility rate since 1992, it remained well below replacement level of 2.1 children per woman. This is the fertility rate that must be maintained to replace the population in the absence of migration.
This upward trend is not unique to Canada. In recent years, other countries with low fertility rates (such as Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and Australia) also experienced an increase in their total fertility rate.
The number of babies born in 2007 was the highest since 1995 and the fifth consecutive annual increase.
Over at the Globe and Mail, Zosia Bielski examines this phenomenon, and comes to the conclusion that an end to the postponement of births has played a very major role indeed.
The data revealed another shift: Women in their thirties bore more babies than women in their twenties, for only the second year in a row.
"Women have been postponing their childbirth. Ten years ago, the highest fertility rate was between age 25 to 29, and since 2006, the age group is 30 to 34," said Shiang Ying Dai, senior analyst at Statistics Canada.
"This increase of older motherhood tends to be more pronounced in professional women, which makes sense," said Andrea O'Reilly, associate professor of women's studies at York University and founder of the school's Association for Research on Mothering.
"If you choose to pursue a career, it's more likely that you'll postpone motherhood simply because of the years of training that such a profession requires."
Dr. O'Reilly added: "We've really pushed out, or expanded, the time frame of good motherhood. For a long time there was a very short window on when you could be a mother and this long trend really signifies a shift in that thinking."
After a "career-focused existence," Toronto-based musician Tara Slone felt confident about starting a family. She had daughter Audrey eight weeks ago, at the age of 35.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
(Here, for brevity's sake, I'll go with Wikipedia's definition of indigenous peoples, as ethnocultural groups established on a particular territory before more recent states and migrants arrive. Here, I suppose that this definition can apply broadly for groups in areas as far separated as Siberia and Patagonia, the Northern Territory and Yukon.)
What's going on? It's a well-known fact that epidemic disease played a huge role in determining the future populations of indigenous peoples of the Americas as well as in also in Australia and the Maori, among other indigenous peoples. Epidemic diseases like measles and smallpox which entered populations entirely without immune defenses on account of their isolation from the Eurasian disease pool could easily inflict apocalyptic death tolls. To be considered, too, is the possibility that at least in the Americas the founder effect--the limited number of forebears--in the settlers of the Western Hemisphere may have produced a population lacking certain immune system-related genetic traits which could have at least hindered the spread of the disease. Finally, there's the effect of poverty: in Canada, at least, someone of First Nations background is much more likely to live in relative deprivation than a member of the general population, with lower incomes, higher unemployment, worse housing, and greater problems in accessing social capital. It might not be too far out of line to say that, for First Nations and other indigenous peoples elsewhere in the world, the flu in the 21st century might play something like the same iconic role as cholera in the 19th century or tuberculosis in the 20th, as a marker of the problems of urbanization and poverty.
I've a post stored up somewhere on my laptop describing how indigenous peoples are generally in an earlier stage of the demographic transition than the other citizens of the countries where they live, with substantially higher birth rates and cohort fertility. Sadly, it's also true that mortality among indigenous peoples is likewise quite a bit higher. Dispatching the body bags was rather insensitive, but some sort of in-depth planning to deal with this and other epidemic diseases here already and yet to come.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
On the contradictions between traditional family structures and high completed fertility in developed countries
A child seemed a welcome addition to the life of Jutta Hoffritz, who had expected her pregnancy to lead to a predictable chain of events: For a year, she would stay home and care for her baby. Then she would place him in a decent child-care centre and return to work – difficult, but surely not beyond reach. After all, she had a well-established career as a business journalist for a national magazine, and she lived in Dusseldorf, a prosperous and liberal city in a major welfare state, so it seemed like a natural progression.
But this is Germany, where the working mother is still considered bizarre and somehow unacceptable. When she sought child care, she discovered there was none. The two spots available for children under 3 at one of her city's few nurseries were reserved for single mothers. She had to hire a full-time kinderfrau (child-minder) at a cost that consumed her entire salary.
And even when her child turns 3, the hassle and expense won't end: Germany has only half-day schooling, in most cases right through high school, and parents are expected to cover the other half out of their own pockets – or, more often, out of their own time.
“In Germany,” she told me, “we have an ideology of motherhood. I thought I would be back in my office soon, no problem, but then I learned that I was being forced to forget everything I knew, and take up the career of being a full-time babysitter, and talk about nothing but children all day. It was terrible.”
Unbeknownst to most outsiders, Germany is the most difficult place in Western Europe to be a working mother, with a deeply ingrained culture of machismo that expects women to give up their lives once they have children.
The ideology itself was Ms. Hoffritz's biggest barrier. When she talked about her frustrations, her friends and relatives openly denounced her as a rabenmutter – literally “raven mother,” a woman who abandons her children, like the mythic ravens throwing their chicks from the nest. It is a term routinely applied to working mothers in Germany.
“When I got pregnant, even though I'd had a career for 20 years, everyone expected me to drop my job forever, to take care of my son and not do anything else all day for the rest of my life, and they got angry when I said otherwise,” she says. “Friends just thought I should be a full-time mom.”
Jean-Marie Le Goff's paper "Cohabiting unions in France and West Germany: Transitions to first birth and first marriage", in issue 7.18 of Demographic Research, sheds life on this phenomenon through a comparison of France and the former West Germany. The two territories, each with roughly similar populations and roughly similar levels of development, have diverged significantly in the post-Second World War period.
French total fertility rates (TFR) have traditionally been higher, on average by the value 0.3 to 0.7 since 1965 (Council of Europe, 2001). In 1965, the TFR was 2.7 in France and 2.4 in West Germany. In both countries, the TFR decreased drastically until the middle of the seventies and levelled off thereafter. In 1999, the TFR was 1.8 in France and 1.4 in West Germany. Moreover, pronounced differences in nonmarital births between France and West Germany have emerged since the beginning of the eighties. France witnessed a big increase in non-marital fertility rates; from roughly 11% in 1980 they reached 41% in 1999. In West Germany, the increase in non-marital births was less pronounced, from 8% to 18% (Council of Europe, 2001). In most developed countries, an increase in non-marital births occurred simultaneously with an increase in non-marital unions (Kiernan 2001a and b). France appears to follow this pattern, but West Germany constitutes an exceptional case.
Women in France, Le Goff argues, have access to a whole variety of family structures, from the traditional nuclear marriage family to a family marked by cohabitation to single motherhood, with a relatively long tradition of recognizing the responsibilities of parents towards their children regardless of their legal status, with the idea of mothers working outside of the home not only being accepted but supported by any number subsidies to parents to affordable and accessible day care. In West Germany, social and policy norms tend to support traditional family structures. The result? In France, people are childbearing age are split between two sectors, one defined by marriage relationships and the other defined by cohabitation relationships. On the other side of the Rhine, people of childbearing age are split between people who have children and people who don't. Katja Köppen's Second births in Western Germany and France (Demographic Research 14.14) further points out that whereas Frenchwomen seem to enjoy an institutional structure that encourages motherhood and there isn't a contradiction between high levels of education--hence employment--and fertility, there is such a contradiction in western Germany, with government spending priorities in the latter country being directed towards the support of traditional families. It's not too much of a surprise, then, that the German Federal Statistics Office reports that of childless women is rising, particularly in the former West Germany.
The number of childless women is increasing in Germany. As reported by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), in 2008 21% of the women aged 40 to 44 years had not given birth to a child. By contrast, 16% of the women who were ten years older (birth cohorts from 1954 to 1958) and only 12% of the women who were 20 years older (birth cohorts from 1944 to 1948) were childless. A share of 26% of the women aged between 35 and 39 years had no children yet in 2008. However, the proportion of childless women will still decline in this age group.
These and more 2008 microcensus core results regarding childlessness and births in Germany were announced today by Roderich Egeler, President of the Federal Statistical Office, at a press conference in Berlin.
In the eastern part of Germany, the number of childless women is by far smaller than in western Germany. While in the ‘old’ Länder, 16% of the women aged 40 to 75 years have no children, their share amounts to only 8% in the ‘new’ Länder. Regarding younger women, too, the difference is considerable. In the ‘old’ Länder, a share of 28% of the women aged between 35 and 39 years (birth cohorts from 1969 to 1973) have no children yet, while the relevant proportion amounts to not more than 16% in the ‘new’ Länder.
Sobotka points out that West German women have evidence considerably higher rates of childlessness than their French counterparts since the 1940s.
This growing body of research points towards a strong conclusion: if a developed country, or at least a country well advanced in the demographic transition, wants high cohort fertility, it has to support alternative family structures in such a way that women will have the autonomy necessary to combine participation in the work force with motherhood. Times have changed, and if any number of countries--Germany included--are to avoid very prolonged demographic winters they're going to have to adapt.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Seven million people live on the frozen resource-rich taiga of Russia's Far East, a region nearly as large as the contiguous United States. Roughly 1.3 billion Chinese are packed like pickles next door, where corruption, spiraling unemployment, environmental disaster, and growing rural unrest are taking the luster off the Chinese economic miracle. Unfortunately for China's dire need for new demographic and economic horizons, Russia isn't eager to share its chilly sandbox with the neighbors. The struggle between Dr. Malthus and Doctor Zhivago> threatens the balance of power in the Far East. But economics—rather than a Tom Clancy-style showdown—will likely decide the winner.
[. . .]
The endless horizons of the RFE would create new opportunities for land ownership for tens of millions of unemployed Chinese rural dwellers. Unlike Russia, China has the ingrained entrepreneurial spirit, as well as the incentive and cash, to make the best of the Russian Far East. The RFE's natural resource wealth—especially oil and gas on Sakhalin—would provide Beijing with a significant measure of energy-security comfort. Moving in on Vladivostok, Russia's only temperate Pacific port, would at once end Russian trade in the Pacific; terminate any lingering relevance for Russia's Pacific navy; and enable China to pose an immediate threat to Japan. Russia's focus, though, long ago shifted west, just as its influence in East Asia has long been on the wane.
[. . .]
[F]or Moscow, the RFE is a distant underperforming colony that is gradually slipping into economic and demographic irrelevance. China needs an outlet for simmering rural unrest, and it has historically had designs on the Russian Far East. Admittedly, the likely difficulties of negotiating a fair price (the $2.5 trillion suggested by a usually sane Russian legislator as Russia's price for turning over the disputed Kurile Islands to Japan suggests that Moscow would aim high) is one barrier to the transaction. And Vladimir Putin would have a spot of trouble trying to convince the Russian electorate that selling off the motherland's crown jewels is a good thing
But a Far East version of the Louisiana Purchase—the Siberian Bargain, to take a bit of geographical license—would allow Moscow to get rid of its Far Eastern headache and raise some cash to see it through the next dip in commodity prices, and it would pave the way for China to buy a few more decades in its capitalist experiment. Occasionally, economic rationality prevails. Might Russia and China see the (snow-blinding) light?
Call this vision a Russian version of Eurabia.
But does this vision hold up? Sergei Prosvirnov, writing in the latest issue of (vol 37 no 2) Far Eastern Affairs, an English-language version of a Russian journal on China, argues fairly convincingly in his article "On the Migration Between Amur Region and China at the Turn of the 21st Century" (62-72) that this visiocertainly inasmuch as it assumes that hundreds of thousands or even millions of Chinese live in these territories now. "[O]ne Ishakov, the Russian President's former representative in the Far Eastern Federal District, said in a December 2006 interview that some 350,000 illegal Chinese migrants lived in the region, in addition to the legal presence of 150,000 Chinese who had the required legal status. In another interview, the former presidential representative went as far as claiming that one in ten residents of the Far Eastern Federal District was a Chinese" (63).
Is this true? According to Prosvirnov, certainly not in the Amur region, as actual statistics demonstrate. "Estimates made by experts for Amur Region and Blagoveshchensk do not go above 5,000 Chinese citizens residing within their boundaries. They are, in particular, traders, most of whom have businesses in Blagoveshchensk. For their part, Chinese sources estimate the number of Russian citizens living every day in Heihe, across the Amur River from Blagoveschensk, at between 3,000 and 4,000" (64). Chinese migrants are present in some number, but make up only 4.4% of the Amur region's employed population, working in areas like trade and forestry and farming, often on short term contracts (66). The author goes on to argue that, in fact, administrative issues are even hindering Chinese tourists.
Who is crossing the border? Russian bordercrossers, in fact, are more numerous than their Chinese counterparts, as they cross to shop and to visit tourist attractions and commute and even live in order to take account of the lower cost of living (65-66). Heihe, the Chinese city located on the other side of the Amur from the Russian province's capital of Blagoveschensk, has benefited accordingly. "Chinese public service officials are glad to have Russians in Heihe. A good illustration of this is the admission made by Yuan Yuxiang, chief of the construction department at Heuihe, at a meeting with a Russian delegation in 2006. "Once we have a bridge across the Amur completed, you will be able to live here and commute to work in Russia. Many Blagoveschensk residents would willingly embrace this idea, not least because the cost of living on the Chinese side is much cheaper. In December 2006, a woman pensioner made the country's headlines after she had moved to live in China. On the heels of that sensation, local and central press continue to publish regular features about Russian citizens buiying real estate in China in the subsequent period" (66).
Will this change in the future? It's unlikely. Quite apart from growing anti-Chinese xenophobia (69-70), the likes of which has been extensively documented, the Russian Far East isn't all that attractive. "A forecast of possible Chinese migration to Amur Region in the short term must take account of the situation in China itself. For example, a number of Russian experts do not see the Russian Federation as a priority for global Chinese migration for such reasons as China's economic growth and rising living standards in the country that do not contribute to Russia's attractiveness to Chinese migrants. Foreign researchers give Russian Far Eastern territories a transit role on the route to European capitals. Another consideration is that the 'one family one child' policy, experts argue, will result in a faster aging of China's population than is the average for the world at large" (70).
It's worth noting in this connection that just before a relatively thinly-populated territory is adjacent to a relatively densely-populated territory a population shift isn't inevitable. There has been no massive Euro-Canadian or Danish influx to Nunavut or Greenland, no mass migration to Tibet (the Chinese migrants seem to be concentrated in Lhasa and are usually temporary besides, contra perceptions). There was a massive Soviet-era settlement of the Far North of that state, but that was driven by political imperatives and has been--as the Far East demonstrates--in decline since the end of these subsidies. If areas of the Russian Far East once part of China had stayed part of China, doubtless these regions wouldn't be much differing from Heilongjiang, but the post-Chinese development of the region is such that temporary migrations by ambitious traders or contract workers, exploiting the resources of a relatively marginal area, seem plausible. Besides, as Prisvirnov points out, there's not much of a choice between--say--Blagoveschchensk or Berlin.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
That's not necessarily so. As Daniel Rahaut argues in a paper hosted by the Swedish Institute for Policy Growth Studies (in Swedish here), there's no particular reason to think that migrants will necessarily come to a particular country, or that if they do they'll possess the skills necessary. Examining different regions of Eurasia, Rahaut suggests that a variety of factors including a lack of migration history to Sweden, the idiosyncrasies of the Swedish market including the need to master the Swedish language and a highly regulated economy, population aging in sending countries, and the lack of people with the requisite skills, will make replacement migration difficult. While there are reasons to disagree with Rahaut's analysis--in the case of Russia, for instance, there's no reason to think that population aging will discourage emigration among shrunken cohorts, while migration networks can always be set up with potential sending countries--the overall thrust of his argument deserves to be seriously listened to.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Tunisia had in mid-May 2008 a population of 10314.5 thousand versus 10208.9 thousand in 2007, an increase of 1.03%, according to the preliminary results of national survey on population and employment in 2008 of the National Institute of Statistics. This survey confirmed the excess of women already observed in 2007, with 5152.9 thousand men and 5161.6 thousand women, a net female predominance of 8700.
The proportion of men in Tunisia has continued to decline in recent decades: 51.1% in 1966, 50.5% in 1994, 50.1% in 2004, and 50.0% in 2006. This is explained by the effects of migration flows affecting mainly men, the significant decline in the rate of female infant mortality, as the growing life expectancy of women. 27 400 migrants have left Tunisia between 2007 and 2008, while 10 500 immigrants have settled in our lands. The sex ratio at birth remains biased towards boys: 106 to 108 boys are born per 100 girls.
Tunisia is about to follow the same path as Europe with an aging population, especially since the proportion of people aged 60 years or older has risen, from 9.3% in 2004 to 9.7% in 2008.
[. . .]
At the moment, demographers argue that our country is undergoing a "golden age", with a significant majority of people aged 15-59 years. The working-age population has recorded a relatively significant increase (65.9% in 2008 against 64.4% in 2004).
The birth rate has affected because of the family planning policy is now recovering. The proportion of children under 5 years has stabilized over the period 2004/2008 to around 8.0%. This is explained by the increasing number of women of childbearing age, and number of births a year to year, with about 3,000 more babies born each year, despite the stabilization of the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) between 2.02 and 2.04 children per woman.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Ensemble, les petits qui parlent arabe, espagnol, italien, créole, chinois, tamoul, vietnamien, bengali et des dizaines d'autres langues forment maintenant 39,5% de la clientèle scolaire montréalaise, contre 39% pour les francophones et 21,5% pour les anglophones.
Au-delà du caractère spectaculaire de cette nouvelle, il fallait bien s'attendre à ce que cela arrive inévitablement un jour ou l'autre.
Dans le dossier de l'immigration, le Québec est catégoriquement divisé en deux entités aussi différentes que l'eau et le feu: Montréal d'une part, le reste de la province de l'autre. Cela est connu depuis longtemps, mais un coup d'oeil sur les chiffres compilés par l'Institut de statistique du Québec permettra de mieux mesurer l'abîme qui sépare Montréal des régions.
En 2007, dernière année pour laquelle on dispose de statistiques régionales complètes, l'île de Montréal a accueilli à elle seule 32 600 immigrants. Si on ajoute Laval, la Rive-Sud et la couronne nord, on arrive au total de 38 000. Pendant ce temps, le reste du Québec n'en recevait que 7100. Autrement dit, la région de Montréal attire cinq immigrants sur six, et la vaste majorité d'entre eux choisit de s'installer dans la ville centre. Ces chiffres ne concernent que l'immigration internationale, et ne tiennent donc pas compte des migrations interprovinciales.
Or, l'année 2007 n'a rien d'exceptionnel. De très loin, Montréal a toujours été le premier choix des immigrants qui s'installent au Québec. Entre 1987 et 2007, le Québec a accueilli 754 000 immigrants. De ce nombre, 625 000 ont élu domicile dans la région de Montréal, dont 527 000 dans l'île même. En moyenne depuis 20 ans, 83% des nouveaux arrivants s'installent à Montréal.
[. . .]
Depuis 20 ans, nous venons de le voir, Montréal reçoit en moyenne 31 300 immigrants par année. La ville de Québec arrive très loin derrière avec 2000. Quand on sort de ces deux villes, les chiffres tombent à des niveaux hadaux. En tout et partout, depuis 1987, le Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean reçoit en moyenne 290 immigrants par année; la Mauricie, 230; le Bas-Saint-Laurent, 71; l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue, 45; la Côte-Nord, 28; enfin, sur les quelque 40 000 immigrants qui s'installent au Québec chaque année, seulement 20 optent pour la Gaspésie.
Here it is in English.
Together, children who speak Arabic, Spanish, Italian, Creole, Chinese, Tamil, Vietnamese, Bengali, and dozens of other languages now form 39.5% of the student population in Montréal, while Francophones form 39% and Anglophones 21.5%.
Beyond the spectacular nature of this news, it was inevitable that this would happen one day.
In the case of immigration, Quebec is categorically divided into two entities as different as water and fire: Montréal first, the rest of the province another. This has long been known, but a glance at the figures compiled by the Statistical Institute of Quebec will better measure the gulf that separates Montréal from the regions.
In 2007, the latest year for which complete regional statistics are available, the island of Montréal alone welcomed 32 600 immigrants. If you add Laval, South Shore and the northern suburbs, you get a total of 38 000. Meanwhile, the rest of Quebec received only 7100. In other words, the Montréal area attracts five immigrants in six, and the vast majority of them chose to settle in the city center. These figures relate only to international immigration, and therefore do not take account of interprovincial migration.
However, the year 2007 is not exceptional. Montréal has always been by far the first choice of immigrants to Quebec. Between 1987 and 2007, Quebec received 754 000 immigrants. Of these, 625 000 have taken up residence in the Montréal area, including 527 000 in the island itself. On average for the past 20 years, 83% of newcomers settled in Montreal.
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For 20 years we have seen Montréal receive on average 31 300 immigrants per year. Québec City comes very far behind with 2000. When we leave these two cities, the figures fall to exceptionally low levels. Since 1987, the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region has received an average of 290 immigrants per year, Mauricie, 230; Bas-Saint-Laurent, 71; Abitibi-Témiscamingue, 45; the North Shore, 28, finally, of some 40 000 immigrants who settle in Quebec each year, only 20 opted for Gaspé Peninsula.
As Germain and Radice point out in their essay in Jon Binnie's collection Cosmopolitan Urbanism, the concentration of Québec's immigrant population in Montréal fits the city's long tradition of cosmopolitanism, with the province's language laws mandating a Francophone environment ironically helping this process along by creating an ethnically diverse Francophone community. These processes hardly operate elsewhere in the province, creating a gap.
At the same time, regions outside of Montréal often experience population decline owing to low cohort fertility and sustained out-migration. As an example, the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region in north-central Québec, ethnically very homogeneous and only
opened to settlement in the late 19th century, has seen sustained net out-migration for at least the past two decades.
The contrast between a growing and ethnically diverse greater Montréal and a rest-of-Québec that's relatively much more ethnically homogeneous and at best stagnant is the sort of thing that will complicate Québec's future if it isn't watched out for. Even though the province sustained one of the higher rates of immigrants in the general population in the world--some 10%--a nativist reaction on the part of the hinterland isn't unimaginable. This sort of phenomenon need not be limited to Québec, but extended additionally to other countries and regions with similar core/periphery contrasts. Suggestions as to other candidate societies, anyone?
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Another significant current of migration exists between the independent former German/New Zealander colony of Samoa and the considerably richer American territory of American Samoa, as Samoans from the poorer independent state assimilate relatively easy into the workforce of the more prosperous American territory. Ethnic Samoan emigration generally speaking is fairly easy: Evelyn Kellen observed in her 1982 study The Western Samoan kinship bridge, as did Deborah Gough "Mobility, Tradition and Adaptation: Samoa’s Comparative Advantage in the Global Market Place", that this modern emigration fits into a long tradition of migration. Tupuola Terry Tavita, writing in the Samoan capital of Apia, warns in the article "Closing of key American Samoa cannery opens powder-keg of problems" that the closing of a cannery in American Samoa that attracts many Samoans for work could aggravate serious social tensions in independent Samoa.
Since the Second World War – and especially since the 1950s with the opening of the canneries in Pago Pago - thousands from this side of the Aleipata Strait have emigrated to the Territory. The majority from the rural areas.
Hundreds have gained permanent residence status since, hundreds more have gone over on short-term permits. Many have overstayed.
Though figures are sketchy, it is safe to assume that a sizeable portion of the 60,000 or so residents in the Territory comprise of those originally from here and their offspring, many of whom are now American Samoa nationals.
Like emigration to New Zealand, American Samoa and its canneries has served not only as a population control outlet for Samoa but also as an employment safety valve.
It has worked to our favour.
At the price of losing our ablest people, the trade-off is the millions in remittances sent over to prop up families, communities and of course, the churches in Samoa. Remittances, by the way, can also be argued to be a double-edged sword.
As many queue up at the transfer centers to receive their monthly remittance staple, the incentive to cultivate the land has become less pressing. For many families, remittances have become their main source of income.
Also, successive governments have never really had to deal with the pressing issue of finding employment for the thousands of school leavers we churn out each year.
As long as the doorway to New Zealand is relatively accessible and as long as the canneries in Pago Pago remained open and pursuing cheap labour, we could postpone the honest solving of a basic problem, in its full brunt.
And the safety valve can also be argued to be a political one.
As rural-to-urban population drift continues, he wonders, will the growing unemployed start to ask why aren't there jobs in their homeland?
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
[A]lmost half of the newborn babies at Yeonggwang county hospital in South Jeolla are from international marriages.
Around 40 percent of the 10 to 15 babies born every month at this hospital each month come from Vietnamese, Mongolian, Philippine or Chinese mothers.
“Only five percent of all women delivering babies in the county were immigrants in 2003, but the number is growing steadily,” said Cho Jae-ki, an official at the hospital.
In 2000, the number of women immigrants in the county was 65 but that number was up to 220 by the end of last year.
[. . .]
“It is so admirable to see [female immigrants] giving birth in another country at an early age and getting used a life in Korea,” [Kim Sung-mi, 53, a maternity nurse at the hospital] said.
Statistics suggest that this county is doing better than the rest of the country in fertility rate.
Last year 452 babies were born in the county. Although this is admittedly a massive decrease since 1995, when 943 babies were born, last year’s number helped Yeonggwang rank in the top 13 cities, counties and districts nationwide in terms of fertility rate.
And whereas the national fertility rate was 1.19 in 2008, it was 1.54 for Yeonggwang County.
Friday, September 04, 2009
The Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements (KRIHS) highlighted Thursday some of the nation's expected highs and lows in its latest report "Grand Vision 2050," aimed at helping the government plan ahead to accommodate upcoming socioeconomic changes.
[. . .]
The ageing population will also become a bigger problem.
The KRIHS predicted that 38.2 percent of the country's population will be aged 65 years and older by 2050 if the current low birth rate continues.
The total population of South and North Korea is expected to total 67 million, declining 6 million from the current figure, with the median age jumping to 56.7 years.
On the positive side of the demographic changes the report highlighted is the expected increase of the foreign population.
It forecast that expatriates would take up 9.8 percent of South Korea's population by 2050, stripping the country of its "racially homogenous" status.
Immigration to South Korea is another example, like Spain and Italy, of a traditionally labour-exporting country becoming a labour-importing one. As Young-bum Park observed in 2004, South Korea in the 1990s was caught up in the same consistent dynamic.
Due to its low unemployment rate, by the early 1990s South Korea realized it needed temporary labor to fill unskilled jobs that natives were becoming less and less willing to do. In fact, without foreign labor, it would have been nearly impossible to keep the "tiger" economy growing.
As a country that places a high value on its homogeneity, this also marked the beginning of a tension that continues today: the need for foreign labor versus the desire to remain a purely Korean nation with strict immigration policies.
One early source of immigration to South Korea was the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, an autonomous district in eastern Jilin province historically with a Korean majority. This became a minority owing to various factors including low birth rates, assimilation proceeded and emigration to Chinese cities and South Korea, the claims that Yanbian constituted a "Third Korea" aside. Perhaps ironically, Jeanyoung Lee reports that these immmigrants are somewhat unpopular, especially in the work environment.
Other nationalities began to feature in the country's statistics. The number of Mongolian immigrants began to grow sharply--a 2008 press report commented on a Mongolian-born Korean citizen who was now herself an immigration official. Other large groups included Vietnamese and Filipinos, often workers or as women recruited to marry local men. This latter in particular may as radically alter South Korea's ethnic composition, at least as it is perceived to be homogeneous. Many smaller nationalities are also present, such as Iranians. All of these migrants could be far outnumbered by North Korean migrants/refugees if/when that country collapses.
The South Korean immigration system is criticized by many. The three existing routes of becoming a guest worker in Japan have been crtiicized as restrictive and controlling, while elements of Korea's immigration system like detention centres have also been criticized. Even so, barring the rapid success of pro-natalist policies, immigration is going to be the only way to mitigate South Korea's rapid population aging. South Korea's wealth relative to its neighbours will serve both as pull and push factors, while the migration networks connecting South Korea to its various Asian neighbours will also certainly serve as enablers for future migration, regardless.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
How do people in Tajikistan respond? Increasingly, they emigrate. Mass emigration began with the departure of ethnic and religious minorities in the late 1980s and early 1990s followed by wholesale emigration of the general population following the catastrophic post-Soviet economic collapse and a bloody civil war that managed to be at once terribly bloody and apparently meaningless. Hundreds of thousands of Tajiks have gone to Russia on a seasonal or a permanent basis, working in construction jobs, as street merchants, and the like.
Tajikistan is only the most extreme example of a phenomenon common in all Central Asia save the developed Kazakhstan of migration northwards, to Russia as well as to Kazakhstan. The migration of members of non-titular nationalities north has mostly passed, and the current trend is for workers in the poorest post-Soviet societies to go north, with Uzbeks, Tajiks and Kyrgyz apparently being more likely to leave. This also seems to work on a regional basis, with migrants in Kyrgyzstan being more likely to come from the poorer south that from the north. Once in their destinations, these migrants work and try to send enough of their earnings home to help support their families in the time-honoured tradition.
This migration is going to continue, on account of the historical and cultural proximity of Russia and Central Asia, Russian policy imperatives, and the sustained lack of jobs in sending regions. In theory, a positive symbiosis could be achieved, but this might be problematic in real life.
Seongjin Kim wrote in a recent study that large-scale migration could trigger nationalist crises as well as brain drain in the sending countries, while in her magisterial survey Saltanat Sulaimanova warns that human trafficking of people of all ages and genders could easily be a consequence of ill-managed migration. And in the meantime, the global economic crisis is likely to diminish the vital flow of remittances to the migrants' home countries.
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
In the shortlived bursts of sunshine, Boston is prettier than its grim reputation suggests, but it still has obvious pockets of deprivation, with some shops boarded up. Asked for directions, a woman in a cafe says "go down there, between the jobcentre and the rundown Kwik Save", which tells you quite a bit about certain areas of the town. It has one of the highest levels of immigration in the UK – it is estimated that a quarter of the population are new arrivals, migrant workers mainly from Portugal and eastern Europe who have come to work in factories around the town packing fruit and vegetables.
Sandra Silva, 34, who moved to the town from Portugal six years ago and works in a factory, is due to give birth to her second child any day now. "There are loads of babies here," she says. "Four of my friends are pregnant." She says she doesn't know why so many babies are being born. "Maybe it's because there's not a lot to do."
But one English mother in her 40s has another view. "It's the foreign workers, isn't it," she says, "but you're not supposed to say that." (This is why she won't give her name.) It is an incendiary topic in this town. Asked if it is because of an increase in migrant workers, Elizabeth Grooby, matron for maternity at the local Pilgrim hospital, is careful with her answer. "We did have some increase but it appears to be reducing, and it is certainly not the only factor." Last year, the maternity unit delivered 2,178 babies, about a 10% rise, and they have taken on new staff to cope. "This year we haven't seen the same sort of increase, it's stayed the same," she says.
Some locals believe that Boston's high fertility relates to a long history of sustained high fertility in rural areas. The postponement of fertility seems to be key, however, and demographer David Coleman connects it to a long history of postponed fertility as birth control in England coupled from the mmid-20th century on with effective birth control and women's emancipation.
Reading the tabloid shock headlines, you would have thought the only people having babies in Britain were hapless teenage mums, while desperate fortysomethings who have left it too late queue at the IVF clinics. In fact, it's not like that. Over the past five years, the highest fertility rates have been among women aged 30 to 34 – probably women with careers who take a conscious decision to have a baby just before their fertility begins to decline, as it does rapidly after the age of 35.
David Coleman, professor of demography at Oxford University, says one of the main factors across the UK in the complicated dance of procreation and population has been women's choice to delay childbirth. "It has been happening everywhere since the end of the baby boom in the very early 1970s," he said .
The thriving fertility clinics are a result of the trend, but not the cause of the baby boom. About 12,600 babies were born as a result of IVF in 2006, the last year for which there are complete figures. Even allowing for a rise similar in scale to that over the previous couple of years, no more than about 14,000 IVF babies would have been born in 2008 – a fraction of the nearly 800,000 total.
Most of these mothers arrive at the clinics because they have left it too long to conceive easily. "Over the last 10 years, the age profile has increased quite markedly," said Dr Allan Pacey, secretary of the British Fertility Society. But he doesn't see any likelihood of IVF contributing further to the baby boom. "There is not a major year-on-year change now. There is not any evidence to suggest that there is an unmet demand."
According to Coleman, women have been delaying having children since at least the 16th century, which is when parish registers were introduced. From 1550 to 1930, the average age of marriage was 25 for woman and up to 20% of females never married. It was a way of limiting family size. "If you marry late, even though you practise no contraception after marriage, the birth rate is going to be moderate," said Coleman. Nor was there much childbirth outside of marriage – never more than 10% of babies born out of wedlock in Britain and often only 5%.
Coleman suspects that Britain, unlike more family-dominated cultures like Italy, may be able to better support autonomous women, while a recent celebrity culture of births and growing subsidies may promote fertility. Then again, the ongoing recession may do the opposite.
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
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.
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"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.