Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Some demography-related links for the New Year

I've been collecting a few interesting links--articles, blog posts--for some time. Longer thematic essays will come--Ukraine interests me significantly, for instance, as do some of the topics raised here--but for now here's a selection of what I've been reading.
  • First off, writing at io9, George Dvorsky argues that extreme human longevity won't destroy the planet. The Atlantic, meanwhile, featured an article by Jean Twenge arguing that popular wisdom on female fertility is wrong, that in fact it's substantially easier for women in their late 30s and even early 40s to conceive than ill-founded statistics would have it.
  • Crooked Timber had two posts in November taking a look at the risks faced by clandestine migrants, one on overland Mexican route and one on the overseas route to Australia.
  • In East Asia, meanwhile, the National Interest has warned that the aging and shrinking Japanese population may weaken Japan vis-a-vis China (the Japan Daily Press noting that births have reached all-time lows in the modern era while deaths have reached all-time highs). The Economist's Buttonwood blog uses Japan's fate to meditate on the future of advanced economies.
  • Elsewhere in the region, the Taipei Times notes South Korea's continuing problems with integrating immigrants--at least working-class immigrants; according to the Want China Times, investor-class immigrants are doing quite well in Jeju island. The Diplomat observes that immigration from Africa is creating a sizable enclave of immigrants in Guangdong, while Marginal Revolution cited an authority who claimed that one child in five was growing up without their parents, migrant workers in the city.
  • In the Middle East, a post by Noel Maurer at The Power and the Money on Syrian refugees caught my attention: of the huge number of forced emigrants, many live in Lebanon, where one resident in three is now Syrian.
  • In Singapore, Marginal Revolution examined inequality in Singapore and that city-state's very low birth rate (I think there's a connection), while the Wall Street Journal's Southeast Asia blog wondered if very high rates of immigration are aggravating internal issues.
  • NPR, looking to southern Europe, observed Portugal's baby bust and commented on the return of mass emigration in Greece. Eurasianet has observed that Latvia is trying to shut down an investor-class residency program that has been quite attractive to migrants from the former Soviet Union, particularly Russians and Central Asians, part of an effort to avoid a Cypriot-style economic bubble.
  • According to Presseurop and the Financial Times, meanwhile, strong economic growth in Poland is starting to attract large numbers of immigrants to that country. (This immigration, it should be noted, exists alongside still high levels of emigration to western Europe.)
  • France, a country of emigration? Le Nouvel Economiste warns (in French) that France risks losing its underemployed young, while a Business Week report profiles French workers who commute across the Rhine to work in Germany.
  • I rather liked Jamie Mackay's Open Democracy essay explaining how Chinese migrants in Venice were being used as scapegoats for the problems of that city (and country, by extension?).
  • In Canada, a recent book by Bob Plamondon critical of long-time Liberal prime minister Pierre Trudeau has made the argument that the shift in immigration under his rule, specifically shifting priorities from skilled workers towards family reunification, diminished the benefits of immigration.
  • Le Devoir discusses (in French) the demographic challenges of Québec, with a rising (if sub-replacement) fertility rate and consistent problems in attracting immigrants. (This came out before the recent CBC report highlighting rising outmigration from la belle province.) In Ontario, meanwhile, the low birth rate means that the cohorts of new university students--as noted in MacLean's--will start to fall.
  • The Atlantic Cities had an extended essay by Howard W. French talking about how the growth of African cities, in population and in economic weight and in governance, would reshape the map of the continent.
  • The Atlantic Wire and the Washington Post both reported the recent American census finding that population increase in the United States is concentrated among non-white populations; white populations have started to experience negative decrease.
  • On the topic of diasporas and ethnic identities, the Volokh Conspiracy linked to a study suggesting that 27% of Jewish children in the United States lived in Orthodox homes, suggesting that Orthodox Jewish birth rates are such that the Orthodox share of the Jewish community will grow sharply. (I've read of similar findings in the United Kingdom.)
  • Window on Eurasia has a lot of interesting posts. Paul Goble noted that projected populations for most of the former Soviet republics made two decades ago are vastly overstated, the Central Asian republics being the big exception, and arguing that Russia has only a short time to deal with its, temporarily stabilized, demographic disequilibrium. (The Chechen birth rate is reportedly quite high, making it an exception; five of the seven republics of the North Caucasus now have sub-replacement fertility rates.)