Wednesday, May 30, 2012

On the aging of the Canadian population

The big news today from Statistics Canada is that Canadian population ageing continues.  

The number of seniors aged 65 and over increased 14.1% between 2006 and 2011. This rate of growth was more than double the 5.9% increase for the Canadian population as a whole. It was also higher than the rate of growth of children aged 14 and under (+0.5%) and people aged 15 to 64 (+5.7%).

As a result, the number of seniors has continued to converge with the number of children in Canada between 2006 and 2011. The census counted 5,607,345 children aged 14 and under, compared with 4,945,060 seniors. In the working-age population, the census counted 22,924,300 people.

The main factors behind the aging of Canada's population are the nation's below-replacement-level fertility rate over the last 40 years and an increasing life expectancy. Canada's working-age population is also growing older.

Within the working-age group, 42.4% of people were aged between 45 and 64, a record high proportion. This was well above the proportion of 28.6% in 1991, when the first baby boomers reached age 45.

[. . .]

In 2001, for every person aged 55 to 64, there were 1.40 people in the age group 15 to 24. By 2011, this ratio had fallen slightly below 1 (0.99) for the first time. This means that for each person leaving the working-age group in 2011, there was about one person entering it.

A second report highlights the regional divides in Canada, with relatively more rapid aging in Atlantic Canada and Québec than the Canadian average, while Alberta and British Columbia (largely owing to substantial migration, both from the rest of Canada and internationally) and the territories (largely owing to high birth rates) have resisted this tendency somewhat. Rural Canada, too, taken as a bloc, is experiencing faster aging than urban Canadian centers.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

The latest on emigration from Georgia

Back in August 2008, immediately after the South Ossetia War, I wrote at length about Georgia's demographic situation. Briefly put, with a relatively long history of below-replacement fertility, a recent tradition of mass emigration, and continuing political instability and economic underdevelopment, there were good reasons to be concerned for the future of the Georgian labour force.

Things haven't gotten better. A pair of articles by writer Mari Nikuradze, hosted at Democracy and Freedom Watch, reports on to the continuing large scale of emigration from Georgia. First comes the alarmingly-titled article "A quarter of Georgia’s population are missing", which also notes that Georgians continue to have trouble in getting visas to European Union member-states.

23 per cent of Georgia’s population is away from the country, 80 per cent of which are illegal labor migrants and sole bread-winners.

These are some of the findings in a new report made by Liberal Academy Tbilisi, called Visa Facilitation and Readmission: Visa Liberalization Prospects for Georgia.

The report also shows that Georgians have the most trouble with getting a visa to Europe, compared to other countries in the same region. The fraction of rejected visa applications was 17.2 and 15.1 per cent in 2009 and 2010, respectively. These numbers are higher than for Armenia with 10.8, Moldova with 6.9, Ukraine 3.4, Azerbaijan 5.0, Belarus 0.6 and Russia 1.2 per cent in 2010.

The presentation referred to, Visa Facilitation and Readmission: Visa Liberalization Prospects for Georgia, is available here. Tamara Pataraia's October 2011 policy brief suggests that Georgia still has a long way to go to demonstrate to the European Union that it would be a worthy partner.

"Nani is one of Georgia’s missing 23 %", meanwhile, takes a look at the life experiences of a single migrant.

Nani (48) left Georgia about 17 years ago to work in Italy and send money to her family. She’s from Samtredia, a small town in Western Georgia. Her husband works at a local theater, earning a small salary. Her daughter goes to school, while her son is getting higher education in Kutaisi, Georgia’s second largest city.

When Nani’s family was on the edge of hunger, she decided to leave. She tells DF Watch that at first she arrived in Italy illegally, because it was too expensive to get there with all necessary documents and procedures. For several years she gathered all necessary documents and saved money, and for now she’s a citizen of Italy.

Nani works as a servant for big Italian family. Her responsibilities are to clean the house, help with the cooking and look after two children. The family is quite rich and pays her a good salary.

“It’s enough for my living here and I’m sending money to my family in Samtredia. I’m also paying for my son’s education. Higher education isn’t free in Georgia, you know.”

She manages to come to Georgia once a year, during holidays.

“I know it’s not enough, but when I remember our being when I was living there I assure myself that it’s better to be here and help my family from here.”

She sends presents for birthday and clothes for her daughter when school starts in autumn.

Nani says she’s not planning to come back yet, as she is sure she won’t be able to find a proper job.

“Until I’m healthy and capable of work and do what I do here, I’ll stay. But then children will grow up, have their jobs and it will be easier to come,” she says, adding that she would like to spend her old age in her hometown with her grandchildren.

[. . .] According to the World Bank, net migration, which is the difference between emigration and immigration in a year, is always negative. In 1992-1996 it was -544 069; in 1997-2001 the numbers were equal to -390.036; in 2002-2006 -309.021 and in 2007-2011 number decreased to -150.000.

According to the International Organization for Migration, the Georgia’s indicator for emigration of is one of the highest in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and in the group of countries, which recently joined EU.

1 058.3 thousand people are in emigration in 2009, according to World Bank data. 644 390 of this number are in Russia, which is on the top of ten countries, where Georgian emigrants go. Then it is followed by Armenia, where there are 75 792 emigrated; Ukraine – 72 410, Greece 41 817 and Israel – 26 032.

Among EU countries, Greece is on the top of the list, followed by Germany, Cyprus, Spain and Latvia.

A brief article from The Messenger Online reports $US 108 million in remittances over the last three months: "The largest amount transferred comes from Russia, at $56 million USD, followed by Greece with $12 million, Italy with $10 million, and the US with $7 million."

Some further notes.

1. The continued large scale of emigration from Georgia has implications for the long-term economic development of the country. If a high proportion of the work force is working outside the country, economic development will be problematic.

2. The presence of large Georgian migrant communities in countries like Ukraine, but also Latvia, which are themselves sources of very large numbers of migrants may indicate both the survival of Soviet-era connections and Georgia's desperate state.

3. The continued concentration of Georgian emigrants in Russia, despite strongly negative Russian-Georgian relations, is outstanding. The number of labour migrants in European Union countries might be understated owing to illegal immigrants entering despite visa restrictions, but the same factors might also be in play in Russia.

4. The location of the largest Georgian migrant community inside the European Union in Greece signals Georgia's vulnerability to the Greek economic crisis.