Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Some links: longevity, real estate, migrations, the future

I have been away on vacation in Venice--more on that later--but I am back now.
  • Old age popped up as a topic in my feed. The Crux considered when human societies began to accumulate large numbers of aged people. Would there have been octogenarians in any Stone Age cultures, for instance? Information is Beautiful, meanwhile, shares an informative infographic analyzing the factors that go into extending one’s life expectancy.
  • Growing populations in cities, and real estate markets hostile even to established residents, are a concern of mine in Toronto. They are shared globally: The Malta Independent examined some months ago how strong growth in the labour supply and tourism, along with capital inflows, have driven up property prices in Malta. Marginal Revolution noted there are conflicts between NIMBYism, between opposing development in established neighbourhoods, and supporting open immigration policies.
  • Ethnic migrations also appeared. The Cape Breton Post shared a fascinating report about the history of the Jewish community of industrial Cape Breton, in Nova Scotia, while the Guardian of Charlottetown reports the reunification of a family of Syrian refugees on Prince Edward Island. In Eurasia, meanwhile, Window on Eurasia noted the growth of the Volga Tatar population of Moscow, something hidden by the high degree of assimilation of many of its members.
  • Looking towards the future, Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen was critical of the idea of limiting the number of children one has in a time of climate change. On a related theme, his co-blogger Alex Tabarrok highlights a new paper aiming to predict the future, one that argues that the greatest economic gains will eventually accrue to the densest populations. Established high-income regions, it warns, could lose out if they keep out migrants.

Friday, March 01, 2019

Some news inks: Montréal & Calcutta migration, Chinese languages, former Soviet Union, borders

  • La Presse notes that suburbanization proceeds in Montréal, as migration from the island of Montréal to off-island suburbs grows. This is of perhaps particular note in a Québec where demographics, particularly related to language dynamics, have long been a preoccupation, the island of Montréal being more multilingual than its suburbs.
  • The blog Far Outliers has been posting excerpts from The Epic City: The World on the Streets of Calcutta, a 2018 book by Kushanava Choudhury. One brief excerpt touches upon the diversity of Calcutta's migrant population.
  • The South China Morning Post has posted some interesting articles about language dynamics. In one, the SCMP suggests that the Cantonese language is falling out of use among young people in Guangzhou, largest Cantonese-speaking city by population. Does this hint at decline in other Chinese languages? Another, noting how Muslim Huiare being pressured to shut down Arabic-medium schools, is more foreboding.
  • Ukrainian demographics blogger pollotenchegg is back with a new map of Soviet census data from 1990, one that shows the very different population dynamics of some parts of the Soviet Union. The contrast between provincial European Russia and southern Central Asia is outstanding.
  • In the area of the former Soviet Union, scholar Otto Pohl has recently examined how people from the different German communities of southeast Europe were, at the end of the Second World War, taken to the Soviet Union as forced labourers. The blog Window on Eurasia, meanwhile, has noted that the number of immigrants to Russia are falling, with Ukrainians diminishing particularly in number while Central Asian numbers remain more resistant to the trend.
  • Finally, JSTOR Daily has observed the extent to which border walls represent, ultimately, a failure of politics.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Some news links: public art, history, marriage, diaspora, assimilation


Some more population-related links popped up over the past week.
  • CBC Toronto reported on this year’s iteration of Winter Stations. A public art festival held on the Lake Ontario shorefront in the east-end Toronto neighbourhood of The Beaches, Winter Stations this year will be based around the theme of migration.
  • JSTOR Daily noted how the interracial marriages of serving members of the US military led to the liberalization of immigration law in the United States in the 1960s. With hundreds of thousands of interracial marriages of serving members of the American military to Asian women, there was simply no domestic constituency in the United States
  • Ozy reported on how Dayton, Ohio, has managed to thrive in integrating its immigrant populations.
  • Amro Ali, writing at Open Democracy, makes a case for the emergence of Berlin as a capital for Arab exiles fleeing the Middle East and North America in the aftermath of the failure of the Arab revolutions. The analogy he strikes to Paris in the 1970s, a city that offered similar shelter to Latin American refugees at that time, resonates.
  • Alex Boyd at The Island Review details, with prose and photos, his visit to the isolated islands of St. Kilda, inhabited from prehistoric times but abandoned in 1930.
  • VICE looks at the plight of people who, as convicted criminals, were deported to the Tonga where they held citizenship. How do they live in a homeland they may have no experience of? The relative lack of opportunity in Tonga that drove their family's earlier migration in the first place is a major challenge.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how, in many post-Soviet countries including the Baltic States and Ukraine, ethnic Russians are assimilating into local majority ethnic groups. (The examples of the industrial Donbas and Crimea, I would suggest, are exceptional. In the case of the Donbas, 2014 might well have been the latest point at which a pro-Russian separatist movement was possible.)