Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Some population-related links

Over the past couple of months, I've collected links to blog posts on population-related issues. I present them here to you.

  • In an extended essay at Geocurrents, Martin Lewis describes "The Many Armenian Diasporas, Then and Now". The most recent diasporas, first a mass migration from Anatolia after the Armenian genocide then economic migration from post-Soviet Armenia in the 1990s, were products of war. Earlier Armenian diasporas, however, were triggered by positive incentives to migrate, establishing mercantile networks stretching from central Europe to South Asia.

  • After a half-century or so, Brazil is starting to become a noteworthy destination for immigrants, rather than a source. Jim Russell at Burgh Diaspora concentrates on one element of this, in the growing attractiveness of São Paulo to New Yorkers looking for the next global city.

  • Patrick Metzger at the Toronto-centered blog Torontoist reacts to findings from the 2011 Canadian census revealing that Alberta's population has been growing significantly faster than Ontario, and that for the first time, more Canadians outside of Ontario live west of the province than east (in Québec and Atlantic Canada). To what extent is this shift product of Albertan growth as opposed to Ontarian decline? The debate's ongoing.

  • Another post at Geocurrents notes the recent acceleration in population growth in Saskatchewan, perhaps connected with new energy developments. Will rapid population growth shift that Canadian province's traditionally left-wing political culture?

  • At Crooked Timber, Maria Farrell's thoughtful personal essay "Things I have learnt from and about IVF" describes her own experiences with assisted reproduction.

  • Two posts at Eastern approaches, the Economist's central and eastern Europe blog, deal with ethnic tensions in the Baltic States complicated by transnational ties. The first, on the recent referendum in Latvia on giving Russian official status, describes the polarization in Latvian society on ethnolinguistic lines that acts as a significant complication. The second, on growing Polish-Lithuanian tensions over Lithuania's Polish minority, makes the point that despite the two countries' shared history ion Poland-Lithuania they perceive this history in different ways. Rapid population aging and shrinkage in Lithuania, too, may--as commenters point out--encourage more of a siege mentality.

  • A Victor Mair post at Language Log explores tensions in Hong Kong between Hong Kongers and mainland Chinese, often recent migrants to the autonomous city-state, with the two different populations being marked by the literal shibboleth of dialect: Cantonese-speaking Hong Kongers versus Putongua-speaking Chinese. Interesting and worrying stuff.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Trend breakdowns in the US workforce

At a blog titled "Illusion of Prosperity", which focuses on US employment and credit trends, the author has shown that for a number of metrics long term exponential growth trends have broken down since the financial crisis in 2008. Here are several that I found informative.

Wage Pain

This trend breakdown is likely largely due to baby boom workers exiting the workforce. The downward trend will continue for a decade at least.

Exponential Decay of Male Workers

This begs the question of where these men are getting the financial resources to meet their needs. Some of the drop in the participation rate is probably again reflective of boom cohort workers exiting the labor market.

The answer here probably has at least two components for the recent change; boom cohort women leaving the workforce and possibly a calculation that the benefit to working is outweighed by associated costs and a poor overall labor market. The earlier diversion from the trend line probably reflects cultural factors affecting the choice to enter the workforce.