Roberts, Marcus
230 Articles at

Marcus Roberts was two years out of law school when he decided that practising law was no longer for him. He therefore went back to university and did his LLM while tutoring. He now teaches contract and torts law. Aside from law, his passions include reading (particularly philosophy, apologetics and history) and supporting the New Zealand cricket team (which counts as penance for a vast multitude of sins). But his primary passion is helping to look after his three children who are growing up too quickly!


Are we entering the golden age of the worker?

The working age population in many countries is shrinking.

Date posted: 2021-01-30

The passing of the population baton

All of this means that India will be more important economically and geopolitically in the years ahead and that this may see tensions rise further between China and India. Let us not forget that there have been border clashes this year between the two most populous countries in the world and that India is a member of the Quad security dialogue aimed squarely at keeping China in check

Date posted: 2021-01-15

Japanese robotic matchmakers to the rescue!

What is more romantic than having an algorithm choose your future partner?

Date posted: 2020-12-28

Population panic still alive and well

Today I thought that I'd draw your attention to a particularly repulsive ad that graces a bus stop in Vancouver. The ad features a picture of a cute baby, smiling, looking with joy out at commuters. Underneath it, the ad says: "The most loving gift you can give your first child is not to have another."

Date posted: 2020-10-17

Overpopulation is an environmental red herring

Indeed, wishing that the world's population was one-sixteenth its current size is the same as wishing for the moon and just as useless.

Date posted: 2020-09-26

Feeding the planet

Panic about shortages is misplaced and probably counterproductive.

Date posted: 2020-08-25

Iran's changing population policy

The poor economic outlook has led many young people to delay getting married and having a family and birth rates have continued to fall. This means that the country is rapidly ageing. On current trends, by 2050 over a third .

Date posted: 2020-07-04

China's hidden poverty

A tale of two Chinas

Date posted: 2020-07-04

An aging population: something to celebrate?

Does it mean that war is less likely? Countries with large numbers of young people as a percentage of the population are more likely to engage in international hostilities than countries with an older age structure.

Date posted: 2020-07-04

Fertility rates fall in the USA

What do declining fertility rates tell us about a society's future?

Date posted: 2020-07-04

Fear of AIDS deaths soaring due to Covid-19

In the first half of this year the Coronavirus pandemic has taken the lives of over 300,000 people. The response by much of the world has been all-encompassing: many billions of people have lived through some form of lockdown which has only now been lifted in parts of the world.

Date posted: 2020-07-01

Another victim of the pandemic: migration

One of the reasons that Australia's economy has been so strong in recent years has been its continued ability to attract large numbers of migrants to its shores.

Date posted: 2020-05-29

It's winter in South Korea

Over the next few years the working-age population will decline dramatically.

Date posted: 2020-05-29

The incredible shrinking Land of the Rising Sun

For the ninth year running the Japanese population has declined.

Date posted: 2020-05-29

Has Hungary turned a demographic corner?

Are we seeing early green shoots?

Date posted: 2020-04-27

How will the pandemic affect the EU?

It will not be surprising if the Eurozone countries will find a way to muddle through since the economic dislocation of a breakup is not something to be entered into lightly. "And always keep a hold of nurse for fear of something worse," as Hilaire Belloc wrote.

Date posted: 2020-04-27

Is China's government telling the truth?

The full list of lies is staggering and deeply concerning.

Date posted: 2020-04-27

New Zealand faces economic devastation

A lovely time to slow down and reconnect -- but what about jobs?

Date posted: 2020-04-27

Is South Korea’s population peak upon us?

It is incredible how rare babies are becoming in the Republic of Korea.

Date posted: 2020-03-04

Italy's existential crisis

The demographic news from Italy remains bad. It has in fact got worse; so bad that the President, Sergio Mattarella, has recently described it as a "problem that concerns the existence of our country".

Date posted: 2020-03-04

Is declining life expectancy in the US a new normal?

A new study has recently been released in the Journal of the American Medical Association about some of the reasons behind the continued decline in the average life expectancy of those living in the USA.

Date posted: 2019-12-10

An Australian population boom

Is this the answer to its geopolitical problems (aka China)?

Date posted: 2019-12-10

Population reduction for the planet

11,000 scientists call for population stabilisation and reduction

Date posted: 2019-12-10

What can a government do to encourage more babies?

Can other countries learn from Hungary's example?

Date posted: 2019-11-10

The hermit kingdom's impending population decline

"North Korea, like the South, is facing demographic collapse.

Date posted: 2019-11-10

The burgeoning global migrant population

Today, the number of international migrants (defined as anyone who has changed their "country of usual residence" involuntarily or voluntarily) has reached 272 million people, or 3.5 percent of the global population.

Date posted: 2019-10-10

The most youthful countries

The forecasts for 2020 according to the United Nations' World Population Prospects 2019 show that there will only be one non-African country in the top 20 youngest countries in the world. This anomaly is Afghanistan, but the rest are from Africa.

Date posted: 2019-10-09

Rich, powerful, ageing and barren

The G7 is characterised by low birth rates and ageing populations.

Date posted: 2019-08-31

The patriotism of small families

And the dark peripheries of population control in India are not solely in the past. An MP aligned with the ruling party has introduced a private members bill (not a piece of government legislation) that, if passed, would impose penalties on people who have more than two children. The Population Regulation Bill of 2019 would disqualify anyone with more than two children from entering local or national politics.

Date posted: 2019-08-22

The US in the 2030s

One of the economic and social challenges facing the USA in the next couple of decades is the potential collapse of its old age and medical insurance schemes.

Date posted: 2019-08-22

The demographic story of the 21st century

Many around the globe are starting to wake up to the fact that this century humanity will face an unprecedented transformation: the global population will stop growing and will start to enter a period of sustained and longterm decline.

Date posted: 2019-08-22

UN's latest population forecast

It predicts a slowing growth rate and rapidly ageing population.

Date posted: 2019-06-29

Is the family meal time around the table disappearing?

According to this article in the Atlantic, a recent survey of more than 1,000 American adults showed that the table is becoming a less popular place to eat.

Date posted: 2019-06-17

The US baby decline continues

After a number of years in which it seemed as if the USA was demographically different from other western nations, it seems as if the new world is starting to emulate the old.

Date posted: 2019-05-25

Hungary's continuing population slide

The uphill battle facing the country is getting steeper.

Date posted: 2019-05-25

Still building in shrinking Chinese cities

Debt-fueled, unproductive economic growth?

Date posted: 2019-05-11

Is the internet another way to increase birthrates?

Many countries in the world are looking at ways in which government policy can help increase their fertility rates.

Date posted: 2019-04-26

Bulgaria - the rapidly shrinking country

Is this a glimpse of the future for many other countries?

Date posted: 2019-04-26

The world's median age by continent

This shows how different Africa is to the rest of the world - it is so much younger than everywhere else. Indeed, by the year 2100 it is estimated that half of all infants in the world (those 4 years old and younger) will be African (the proportion is currently at about a quarter).

Date posted: 2019-03-26

The continuing child problem in China

A couple of weeks ago there was a very interesting long essay in the Guardian about the (now historical) Chinese one-child policy. It was not complimentary.

Date posted: 2019-03-26

Russia's brief population recovery

Russia's demographic collapse in the 1990s was sharp and sudden and yet was preceded by many years of indications that things were not right for those that eyes to see. In many ways, the demographic decline was a mirror to the political collapse of the Soviet empire: sudden and yet not unexpected in hindsight.

Date posted: 2019-03-11

How to help fertility rates in the USA

And help people have the number of children they want.

Date posted: 2019-02-10

Who will look after the elderly in Germany?

One of the problems that western countries with an ageing population face in the years ahead is the rising demand for aged-care workers.

Date posted: 2019-02-03

Taiwan's population growth...

The big demographic news out of Asia recently has been the "unstoppable" demographic decline that China is about to undergo thanks to decades of its one-child policy. But just across the Taiwan Strait, the other China is also struggling with chronically low birthrates and population growth.

Date posted: 2019-02-02

The Greek tragedy

Population decline due to economic collapse.

Date posted: 2019-02-02

Australian concern about population growth

The issue of Australia's population growth is making the news quite regularly at the moment. The country's population has just ticked over to 25 million people and many are questioning the impact that this growth is having on the infrastructure of cities like Sydney and Melbourne.

Date posted: 2019-01-19

More bad health news from the USA

Opioids and suicides up, life expectancy down.

Date posted: 2019-01-06

Half the world's countries are not reproducing themselves

If demography is destiny, then the destiny of half the countries in the world is of decline. Will the next report into global fertility rates in a couple of decades show the trend towards sub-replacement TFR continue? Or have reached the bottom of fertility rate decline? Will Africa continue to buck the population trend? Or will it too join the rest of us in a low fertility future?

Date posted: 2018-11-20

Russia's population begins to fall again

A few months ago I discussed whether or not Russia could remain as a great power with its demographic issues. This may be very important to note both in terms of trying to figure out what Russia is up to in Syria and in its near abroad.

Date posted: 2018-10-22

Canadian population 'explosion'

Canada is experiencing a population boom.

Date posted: 2018-10-15

South Korea's fertility rates hit a record low

2018 may see it drop below one child per woman for the first time.

Date posted: 2018-09-22

Millennials, Roe v Wade and demographics

All the shenanigans in the US Senate the last few days have been directed at either getting a new justice appointed to the Supreme Court or preventing that appointment. One of the crucial things at stake is the future of the seminal abortion decision by the US Supreme Court, Roe v Wade.

Date posted: 2018-09-22

Continued Romanian population decline

A couple of years ago I blogged about the 25 year long population decline that was being suffered by Romania. From a peak of about 23 million people, the Eastern European country is now home to fewer than 20 million people and that figure is still falling.

Date posted: 2018-09-22

Venezuela's homegrown migration crisis

Will it be as destabilising as the one in the Mediterranean?

Date posted: 2018-09-01

An existential crisis in the USA?

Routledge argues that the suicide crisis in the USA is in part a crisis of meaning. Recent changes in American society, greater detachment and a weaker sense of belonging, are increasing existential despair.

Date posted: 2018-07-15

Italian Government's demographic problems

The country is shrinking and ageing

Date posted: 2018-06-03

The shrinking working age population

From the Atlantic to the Yellow Sea the number of workers is declining.

Date posted: 2018-05-19

Can Russia remain a great power?

Or is its demographic predicament too large to overcome?

Date posted: 2018-05-05

The disappearing South Korean baby

January sees another unwanted demographics milestone.

Date posted: 2018-05-05

The Polish fertility rise

A success or an expensive flash in the pan?

Date posted: 2018-03-28

France's Fertility Drop

If France continues down this population decline track then its economic future will face large challenges.

Date posted: 2018-02-26

Living shorter lives in the USA

Last week I mentioned that the USA's life expectancy had fallen for two years running, partly due to the increasing number of opioid deaths in the country. For the second year in a row.

Date posted: 2018-02-26

Russia's population declines once more

And Putin is trying to reverse the drop once more.

Date posted: 2017-12-24

The morality of having children

"For the sake of the planet, should we be having fewer kids?

Date posted: 2017-12-24

Lonely old Japanese men look for companionship

In Japan there is a growing number of elderly men searching for love and companionship. Many are widowers or were never married.

Date posted: 2017-11-19

Bride trafficking to China

Courtesy of the one child policy.

Date posted: 2017-11-07

The New Zealand baby dearth

Another example of declining birthrates in a western country.

Date posted: 2017-10-30

Suicide: why are so many dying of despair?

Both the USA and New Zealand exhibit disturbing trends.

Date posted: 2017-09-26

No more Down syndrome in Iceland

Eradicating a disease is easy if you kill everyone with it.

Date posted: 2017-08-30

Modern day slavery part II

It's widespread, but where is it mostly occurring?

Date posted: 2017-08-30

Modern Day Slavery

More profitable and more widespread than ever.

Date posted: 2017-08-30

South Korean babies are becoming rarer

And population decline is on the horizon.

Date posted: 2017-08-16

More victims of the two-child policy

Although the one-child policy in China was ditched a couple of years ago, the law stil prevents Chinese couples from deciding for themselves how many children to have. Couples are still prevented from having more than two children and suffer stiff penalties if they do not comply. And of course there are still the societal and economic pressures to make sure that at least one of the two children is a boy

Date posted: 2017-08-08

Every sperm is scarce...

Over the years there are have been studies that have raised concerns about the possibility of declining sperm count of men in the western world (North America, Europe, New Zealand and Australia)

Date posted: 2017-08-03

The biggest issue of our time

Why aren't more people talking about demographic collapse in Europe?

Date posted: 2017-07-31

In Japan sex isn't so appealing

Which perhaps explains the baby shortage.

Date posted: 2017-07-31

Elon Musk worries about population implosion

New Scientist recently released an interesting article about the world's population in 2076.

Date posted: 2017-07-30

Eight states in the USA lost population in 2016

But which are they?

Date posted: 2017-07-15

The global scale of internal displacement

Further reasons to doubt it.And the country affected the most.

Date posted: 2017-07-15

Will China's birth rate improve?

Further reasons to doubt it.

Date posted: 2017-07-15

Multiculturalism: all good - right?

And is large scale immigration the only answer to population decline?

Date posted: 2017-07-05

The economic-demographic tightrope in Asia

The IMF is concerned about medium-term growth in the region.

Date posted: 2017-06-21

Increased global migration

Is it the answer to the west's demographic problems?

Date posted: 2017-06-02

Young People in the USA

Prefer to stay at home.

Date posted: 2017-05-07

Record net migration to New Zealand

And that is sparking a rare debate about immigration.

Date posted: 2017-05-07

Ethiopia's demographic opportunity

Although last year and this have seen many millions of Ethiopians suffering from drought, there has been an stunning economic growth in Ethiopia since 2004.

Date posted: 2017-05-04

Australia's census is in

According to, the typical Australian is a married, 38 year old mother of two whose parents were both born in Australia.

Date posted: 2017-05-03

French fertility declining, but still highest in the EU

France's population could outstrip Germany's in time.

Date posted: 2017-03-31

The answer to Germany's demographic issues?

More flexible work conditions

Date posted: 2017-03-31

How to get Chinese families to have more children?

Moving to a two-child policy doesn't seem to be enough.

Date posted: 2017-03-31

Are you grateful for your partner's housework?

There are good reasons to be grateful...

Date posted: 2017-03-10

Which European countries have over 40% of their population migrating?

As the world's economically developed nations age and their fertility rates continue to stay below replacement levels, working aged people will become more and more valuable.

Date posted: 2017-03-08

China's two child policy starting to have some impact

But is it enough to change China's demographic future?

Date posted: 2017-02-18

Update on Yemen

10.3 million Yemenis require immediate assistance to save or sustain their lives [and] at least two million people need emergency food assistance to survive.

Date posted: 2017-02-15

A new type of retirement home

Architects are redesigning the way retirees live in Korea.

Date posted: 2017-02-05

The upside of a growing population

One of the underlying arguments that we keep coming back to here at this blog is that fears of global overpopulation are, to some extent, dangerous to human respect and dignity.

Date posted: 2017-02-05

Most of us are "overfat"

The world population today is unprecedented: it is obviously the largest is human history and is continuing to grow. However, as a whole the world's population is also the richest and best-fed in human history. In 2015 we noted that those living in poverty has declined to less than 10% of the global population for the first time ever

Date posted: 2017-02-04

Paris's population declines

The city of Paris is home to about 2.2 million people and is the largest in France. However, in the five years to 2014, the city's residential population dropped by 13,000, a relatively small decline, but one that has led some of the city's leaders to start blaming an unlikely source, Airbnb.

Date posted: 2017-01-24

Have China's "missing girls" been found?

Are reports of a sex ratio imbalance exaggerated?

Date posted: 2017-01-03

The two-child policy: will it help Chinese economic growth or ageing?

You probably remember the change in China's one child policy to a two child policy at the start of 2016.After thirty-odd years of trying to reduce the number of children that its subjects have, the Chinese Communist Party reversed course to try and increase its fertility rates.

Date posted: 2017-01-03

What is Nigeria's population?

More questions about the official figures.

Date posted: 2017-01-03

Some thoughts on marriage from young Chinese

Many countries need reminding about why you might want a family. The benefits therein and how they outweigh the downsides. An insight perhaps into why marriage is declining in China.

Date posted: 2016-11-04

Japan's cure for the heartache of childlessness

Currently the number of children that the average Japanese woman can expect to have over her life is around 1.4. This is well below the replacement fertility rate for developed countries of about 2.1 (Japan hasn't had a fertility rate that high since the 1970s; hence its current population decline).

Date posted: 2016-10-15

The coffin club: the newest craze for the elderly

Whatever happened to bridge?

Date posted: 2016-10-15

The declining institution of marriage in China

Further signs that China's longterm population prospects are not rosy.

Date posted: 2016-09-27

Denmark, migration and racism

Is it racist to control who comes to one's country?

Date posted: 2016-09-27

What an ageing population means for economic growth

We often write about ageing populations on Demography is Destiny. Many countries throughout the world are facing a large number of retirees, fewer babies being born and people living longer than ever before.

Date posted: 2016-08-10

India reaps a demographic dividend and its middle class surges ahead

One of the measures of this growing economy is the dramatic expansion of its middle class.

Date posted: 2016-08-10

Romania: 25 years of natural population decline

Half a world away from Japan is Romania. Although geographically, politically, ethnically and culturally distinct, the two countries do have this in common: they are both suffering sustained population decline.

Date posted: 2016-08-02

China's growing number of one-person households

In 2014, 66 million or 15 percent of all Chinese households were single-person homes according to government data. But the Scandinavian figures are even worse.

Date posted: 2016-07-25

The rise of fertility over 40

It's now overtaken teenage fertility in England and Wales.

Date posted: 2016-07-25

The robots are coming!

Just under four weeks ago, my husband and I were overjoyed to welcome our first child - little Emma Maria, named after our mothers.

Date posted: 2016-07-11

The effect of Europe's migrant crisis

Some countries' foreign born populations have greatly increase

Date posted: 2016-06-25

Lord Sacks: demographic decline heralds fall of West

Are we watching the fall of Western civilisation?

Date posted: 2016-06-23

Italy's attempt to avert a demographic 'apocalypse'

Double the baby bonus!

Date posted: 2016-06-06

The decline of the dragon

Is China's demography its Achilles heel?

Date posted: 2016-06-06

Why are Americans killing themselves?

Why is the USA's suicide rate rising?

Date posted: 2016-06-05

Will emerging markets cope with the challenges of an ageing population?

Population ageing is not just a phenomenon that the developed world must deal with in the 21st century.

Date posted: 2016-06-05

Another demographic first!

By 2020 there will be more people over the age of 65 than under the age of five.

Date posted: 2016-04-30

Are we too concerned about an ageing population?

Will the economic burden be as bad as we fear? After all, what it means to be 65 today is not what it meant to be 65 back in the early part of the twentieth century.

Date posted: 2016-04-27

We are getting much, much fatter

There are now more obese people in the world than those who are underweight.

Date posted: 2016-04-13

Japanese population decline - it's official!

By its own estimate the government predicts that the country will decline to 87 million if current trends continue unabated. But what is to be done?

Date posted: 2016-03-20

Jordan's enormous refugee burden

Thanks in part to the influx of millions of displaced persons from conflict zones Jordan's population has skyrocketed in the past decade

Date posted: 2016-03-19

2015: the year when Italy's demographic malaise became apparent

Europe is indeed dying. According to Reuters, for the first time in three decades the Italian population declined (the last population drop was a very small one in 1986, and in effect Italy's population has been growing continually since 1952). The populaiton drop was by about 120,000 people

Date posted: 2016-03-04

The world's migrant population continues to grow

There are 244 million international migrants in 2015. In 2000 there were 173 million.

Date posted: 2016-02-28

Global inequality grows

62 richest people on the planet own the same wealth as the poorest 3.6 billion people on this planet.

Date posted: 2016-02-27

China's workforce contracts further

China's woes: its National Bureau of Statistics has announced that the number of working-age Chinese (aged 16-60 years old) dropped in 2015 by 4.9 million.

Date posted: 2016-02-05

Christian persecution in 2015

Will the 21st century see the segregation of religions? Will once-thriving minorities cease to exist in countries that they have been in for thousands of years? Will the idea of a great big melting pot of people of all different religions give way to religious cleansing and mass-migration?

Date posted: 2016-02-05

The refugee crisis you might not have heard of: Lebanon

While the migrant crisis in Europe has been getting all of the international attention, a much larger migration from Syria has quietly been underway - to neighbouring Lebanon.

Date posted: 2016-01-31

The demographics of German migration

According to official statistics, two thirds of all migrants registering in Greece and Italy last year were male. A fifth of all those who reached the EU last year were under the age of 18; half had travelled alone. Of those, more than 90 per cent were boys.

Date posted: 2016-01-30

Growing number of child brides in Africa

As the population of Africa grows in the next few years, one of the issues that the UN, the African Union and other NGOs are worried about is the rise in the number of child brides (girls married before the age of 18).

Date posted: 2015-12-11

Japan's military feels the population squeeze

Japan has a shrinking population and the government is looking at ways to stabilise this demographic decline to a sustainable level (100 million people) by 2065. There seems to be little hope that the decline can be reversed, only managed.

Date posted: 2015-12-11

The challenges of an ageing nation

One of the dominant themes on this blog is that, for many countries, the twenty-first century will see its citizens get older on average as people live longer and fewer babies are born.

Date posted: 2015-11-24

The tragedy of growing old in South Korea

In South Korea the number of elderly people as a proportion of the population has grown nearly fourfold in the last forty years. In 1981 the number of those aged over 65 years old was 3.8 percent of the population, but today that same cohort makes up 13.1 percent. This makes South Korea one of the fastest ageing societies in the world. Unfortunately, it is also a society that has one of the lowest retirement income systems in the developed world

Date posted: 2015-11-15

China's illegal children

Last week's announcement by the Chinese Government that it was replacing the one child policy with a two child policy brought to light something that I hadn't considered before: the legal limbo of "illegal" children.

Date posted: 2015-11-15

Cuba: another country facing demographic collapse

When the number of abortions that your aunt has had is a matter of mirth then you know that there is something seriously wrong with a society's moral compass. Let us hope that Cuba's view of family and the unborn changes for the better. Without such a change, the country faces a bleak future. But not quite as bleak as that faced by unborn Cuban children.

Date posted: 2015-11-15

Do we need fertility education?

When it comes to a moral issue like euthanasia, those who participate in the debate are going to be on one side or the other. It is improbable that medical experts, ethicists, researchers, lawyers and politicians who play a part, either by choice or duty, do not begin with a position on the matter - even if it subsequently changes.

Date posted: 2015-11-15

Christian persecution increasing worldwide

A new report from the Catholic group, Aid to the Church in Need, has documented the dramatic decline of Christian communities in a number of countries in recent years.

Date posted: 2015-11-04

Can Japan change its demographic future?

Japan is undertaking its once-every-five-years national census. The results of this census will give us a better indication as to how far Japan's population has fallen since the last census and how far the population is likely to fall.

Date posted: 2015-10-18

Germany: population growth by immigration

Over the last few weeks (nay, months) we have seen the large number of North African, Middle Eastern and Asian migrants and refugees trying to reach Europe by land and sea.

Date posted: 2015-10-18

Returning to an ageing global workforce

For the last 50-odd years, there was a sharp increase in the global workforce numbers and this lead to "a pretty easy and natural source of [economic] growth for decades".

Date posted: 2015-10-15

Demographic change in Darfur

Do you know what is happening at the moment in the Sudan? Do you know that the region of Darfur is currently undergoing what seems to be ethnic cleansing?

Date posted: 2015-09-23

Dementia numbers growing

As the world continues to get older, the prevalence of diseases that the elderly tend to suffer from will also increase. Thus, it should really be no surprise that the latest report by Alzheimer's Disease International entitled World Alzheimer Report 2015 has projected a steady increase in the number of suffers of dementia worldwide in the coming decades.

Date posted: 2015-09-23

China's economic growth plan: more babies please

In a couple of months China's 13th five-year plan will be sent to Communist Party meetings for approval. This plan, a Stalinist holdover of China's old command economy, which is currently being finished by President Xi Jingping and which was discussed with Party "elders" last month, is expected to break with tradition by prioritising population growth rather than economic growth.

Date posted: 2015-09-23

Russia's unmotivated elderly

According to recent research published in the Lancet medical journal, global life expectancy is rising. While Russia is also rising, its growth is much slower than the global average.

Date posted: 2015-09-06

Large-scale immigration cure for Europe's demographic "disaster"?

At a time when European leaders seem incapable of knowing what to do with the huge numbers of refugees and migrants turning up on their southern shores and borders, the Guardian has published an in-depth article chronicling the continent's demographic "disaster".

Date posted: 2015-09-06

What can governments do to increase birthrates?

In so many countries around the world today we see low birthrates, ageing populations and governments struggling to think up ways to ensure that there will be enough taxpayers to pay for future old age pension schemes and healthcare.

Date posted: 2015-08-11

Ageing populations, announcements and Happy Meals

The current population projections for South Korea are pretty dire (as we've discussed before on this blog). With a fertility rate of about 1.2 children per woman, South Korea has one of the lowest birth rates in the world and is the fastest-aging country in the OECD. By 2026, one-fifth of the country is expected to be over theage of 65 years.

Date posted: 2015-08-01

Ukraine's demographic collapse continues

Leaving the homosexual lifestyle, becoming ex-gay, overcoming same-sex attractions - whatever you call it - seems to be the only unacceptable behaviour on the sexuality spectrum these days. MercatorNet asked Christopher Doyle, a Washington based professional counsellor and former homosexual, about belonging to an oppressed minority group in an era of sexual liberation.

Date posted: 2015-07-08

Egypt worries about its population growth

The increasing number of births will rob Egypt of some of its imminent demographic dividend - the economic advantage of having few old people and children relative to the number of working adults.

Date posted: 2015-07-08

Spain is still shrinking

The name and the story of Belgian chemist Dr Tom Mortier (a MercatorNet contributor) has become known throughout the world. His physically well mother was clinically depressed. Yet in 2012 she was euthanased without his knowledge in Belgium. He and his sister were left to pick up the pieces.

Date posted: 2015-07-08

Burma's new population control measures

Although we have often talked about China's approach to state-enforced population control via its infamous "one-child policy", it is important to remember that China is not the only country to try and fix its demographic future.

Date posted: 2015-06-14

Japanese population: welcome back to the year 2000!

2000 was the year in which the Japanese population was last at its current level. For the fourth straight year the population has fallen and more than a quarter of that shrunken population is aged 65 years old or older

Date posted: 2015-05-11

Elder abuse rings alarm bells in New Zealand

According to this article in the NZHerald, the Age Concern charity estimates that "between 17,000 and 25,000 older Kiwis [New Zealanders] experience some sort of abuse each year". What is even worse is that about 75% of all alleged abusers are family members.

Date posted: 2015-05-11

Japanese fathers need to help more around the house

The population has declined each year for the last eight years and is expected to continue to do so into the foreseeable future. This has the Japanese Government worried.

Date posted: 2015-04-21

Will low-birth-rate Turks become a minority in their own country?

The Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is worried about a problem that many Western nations are used to: a declining fertility rate and demographic problems in the medium future.

Date posted: 2015-04-07

Iran's push for more children

Iran is worried about its birth rates. In the period 1980-1985, the country had a total fertility rate of about 6 and a half children per woman. By 2005-2010, this had dropped to 1.77 children per woman. An extremely sharp drop within one generation.

Date posted: 2015-04-05

Global population decline in 100 years

George Friedman is the Chairman of Stratfor and his (free) Geopolitical Weekly articles often appear in Mercatornet. I always enjoy reading them. He has recently written on demography and the long term implications of a declining world population. "Global Decline and the Great Economic Reversal" is an interesting read and I strongly recommend that you have a look at it.

Date posted: 2015-03-12

US population in 2060

A new report has been released this week by the US Census Bureau providing some more in-depth analysis of the US' population and its predicted changes through to 2060.

Date posted: 2015-03-12

Shengnu women and boyfriends for rent

We've talked before on this blog about the fact that China has a gender imbalance problem in favour of boys. This is due to a cultural preference for boys allied to modern ultrasound technology which allows one to abort a baby of the "wrong"gender (exacerbated by the pressures of the one-child policy).

Date posted: 2015-03-12

Mo Yan, Frogs, and the one child policy

What is interesting about this book from our point of view is that Guan Moye/Mo Yan is critical of the Chinese one child policy and the book portrays aspects of the horrific policy and its effects on both abortionists and mothers.

Date posted: 2015-02-27

Italy: a "dying country"

The Italian health minister has recently said some alarming words about her country's demographic outlook

Date posted: 2015-02-27

An ageing Britain: Is the NHS creaking under the strain?

With an ageing population in many nations, the ability of our health systems to cope with the added demands that large numbers of elderly patients bring with them is in the spotligh

Date posted: 2015-02-23

An answer for low Russian birthrates?

Although there is some vigorous debate between demographers about the state of the Russian demographic crisis (we've covered some of the recent sparring here) there is no doubt that the Russian population has declined markedly since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Date posted: 2015-02-23

Japanese Village of the Dolls

As people are also living longer, the country is faced with a shrinking population and an ageing population. As the Guardian notes the Japanese population decline is getting worse: "The country's skewed demographics were highlighted again recently in data showing that the number of newborn babies sank to a record low last year."

Date posted: 2015-01-19

Where to now for European Immigration?

Even before the attacks took place, we have seen in Germany the rise of the "Pegida" movement which has been campaigning against what they claim is the ongoing Islamisation of Europe.

Date posted: 2015-01-19

London's population milestone

The biggest pressure is expected to be on housing, with an estimated 42,000 new homes needed every year to keep pace with population growth.

Date posted: 2015-01-19

What does the rest of the century hold?

To start the New Year, let's have a look at the difficulty of predicting global population growth deep into the 21st century.

Date posted: 2015-01-19

Ageing population: some economic silver linings?

Sarah Willis has written an interesting article at Open Democracy where she argues that the picture of an ageing society and economy (in this case, the United Kingdom) is not all doom and gloom.

Date posted: 2014-12-24

Germany - a haven for migrants?

Germany has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world at around 1.4 children per woman. Counteracting this however is the fact that Germany is now the "world's second most popular destination - after the US - for immigrants".

Date posted: 2014-12-11

Theoretical Population Ethics

Have you heard of "theoretical population ethics"? No? I hadn't either before I came across this interesting post from Theron Pummer at the University of Oxford about a new project entitled: Population Ethics: Theory and Practice.

Date posted: 2014-11-28

World population predictions: are we ignoring education?

There seems to have been a resurgence of doom and gloom population predictions in the last couple of months in the media.

Date posted: 2014-11-18

Control UK's population: Oh Goodies!

Do we try and control natural population growth or immigration if we are worried about overcrowding? Surely in terms of the human rights abuses, the answer should be obvious: you limit immigration before you start trying to control how many children your citizens can have. Is immigration really that much of a liberal shibboleth that people would prefer state coercion as to how many children they can have???

Date posted: 2014-10-26

More Males, Fewer Jobs

As you can see in this short video clip from Bloomberg, economists are getting worried about the effects of a demographic imbalance throughout the world: too many men compared to the numbers of women and the number of jobs. A large number of men without the chance of wives and jobs can be a force for change. Often violent change.

Date posted: 2014-10-07

How to pay for an ageing Japan?

If the population structure of many western societies is changing then the existing economic and welfare supports in place may need to also change.

Date posted: 2014-09-23

Singles majority of adult population in USA

Are you in the USA and looking for love? Well according to Bloomberg, the next person you meet in the USA over the age of 16 is more likely than not to be single.

Date posted: 2014-09-23

The highest abortion rate in Asia

Vietnam has one of the highest abortion rates in the world.

Date posted: 2014-09-14

No more people please: Beijing

Beijing has obviously found it hard to cope with such fast population growth - but is banning more people the way to go?

Date posted: 2014-09-14

Millennials: the "nice" generation?

Have you heard of the generation called the "millennials"? This the generation that I am a part of, apparently - those born after 1980 and before 2000 (that is, between 15 and 34 years old). If you have heard of this generation, then perhaps what you've heard is that we are: "Coddled and helicoptered, catered to by 24-hour TV cable networks, fussed over by marketers and college recruiters, dissected by psychologists, demographers and trend-spotters..."

Date posted: 2014-08-30

Chinese state theology

Why on Earth would an officially atheist country's ruling class decide to create a new theology?

Date posted: 2014-08-25

Europe dead in the water?

Phillipe Legrain was the economic adviser to the President of the European Commission and head of a team providing the President with strategic policy advice from February 2011 to February 2014.

Date posted: 2014-08-16

Why is Gaza so young?

The Gaza Strip's population of roughly 1.8 million has an unusually large proportion of children.

Date posted: 2014-08-16

Dijon: Elderly-Friendly

With many countries in the world facing a growing number of elderly, cities such as Dijon in Eastern France are trying to improve the lives of their retired citizens.

Date posted: 2014-08-16

Russian emigration soars

Russia's official statistic service, Rosstat, has announced that 186,382 Russians left the country in 2013 and 122,751 left in 2012. This is a substantial increase from 36,774 who left in 2011 and 33,578 Russian who emigrated in 2010.

Date posted: 2014-08-16

Jewish births "Trending Upwards" in Israel

With the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza showing no signs of abating, despite the best efforts of the UN Secretary-General, I thought that this piece from the Jerusalem Post dealing with Israeli demography was interesting and challenged many assumptions that I had.

Date posted: 2014-07-30

Niue: A dying Island

The phenomenon of a Pacific Island facing population decline due to emigration is not unique to Niue: the Cook Islands' population is declining by about 3% a year (a rate only second to Syria!)

Date posted: 2014-07-22

Human Trafficking to China

We've mentioned before on this blog the horrific human trafficking that is going on into China at least in part due to that country's one child policy. That blogpost discussed the women being abducted from North Korea, but a recent piece by the AFP shows that it is not limited to that country.

Date posted: 2014-07-22

World's Refugee Population Grows

Last week it was World Refugee Day (does anyone know who authorises which cause gets which day? And are the same person who decides which cause of the week it is?). Unfortunately, this year the day is marked by a particularly sad statistic: for the first time since the World War II era, the world's refugee population (including asylum seekers and internally-displaced persons) has passed the 50 million mark.

Date posted: 2014-06-30

EU elections and demography

Are demographic fears part of the reason for last month's results?

Date posted: 2014-06-25

Millions of "Leftover Women" in China

"Sheng nü, or 'leftover women' are defined as unmarried women over the age of 27 by the All-China Women's Federation, a state organisation. The word for "leftover" - sheng - usually describes rotten food. Since 2007, the phrase has been adopted enthusiastically by the press, mostly aimed at the young professional single women living in China's cities."

Date posted: 2014-05-21

Western Society: Reinforcing our Selfishness?

Here is something from the sociologists to think about today: we are born fairly well altruistic and big hearted until consumerism, the 24 hour news cycle and western standards of living turn us into nasty, mean, selfish, worried individuals. What do you think about that?

Date posted: 2014-05-11

Are we ready for the "grey tsunami"?

The Lancet published last month a journal article about the "crisis" in "global elderly care". This article draws attention to the potential problem, but is light on details about how to deal with the fallout of an ageing population.

Date posted: 2014-05-04

Japan's Shrinking Role in the World

The Economist has provided another very interesting piece about a story that I think gets less coverage than it should be receiving: the slow, steady, inevitable (?) implosion of Japanese society.

Date posted: 2014-04-21

Worldwide migration: a constant factor

So while migration continues to be a sensitive issue for so many around the world, overall the percentage of us moving countries seems to be constant (less than 1% of the global population in any 5 year period).

Date posted: 2014-04-21

After Crimea: is ethnicity the new World Order?

As we watch the unfolding of the Ukraine-Russia standoff, claims of ethnicity are being used as justifications for Russian action.

Date posted: 2014-04-06

A father's love....

The story comes to us from rural China: Fengyi township, Yibin county, Sichuan province, about 2,000 miles to the west of Shanghai.

Date posted: 2014-04-06

With low population growth, the fat cats flourish

Essentially, demographic growth feeds into economic growth, along with productivity growth. To increase economic growth, one must either increase the number of workers or the output that each worker is producing.

Date posted: 2014-03-20

Ukraine: another problem for the beleaguered nation

While we watch the terrible news unfolding in the Ukraine and hope that things do not descend further into anarchy and violence, it is interesting to note that Ukraine's longterm problems don't end with a bad economy, a fragile government, a dangerous neighbour and a potential breakup of its territory (as if that wasn't enough!) According to the International Business Times, the demographic outlook for Ukraine is extremely bleak.

Date posted: 2014-03-20

Iran's demographic collapse

Due to this collapse in fertility rate, there will be in a generation in Iran two elderly dependents for every three workers. At the moment, there are 7 elderly dependents for every 93 workers today. As Goldman states, this decline is "virtually irreversible" and is a "death sentence for a poor country".

Date posted: 2014-03-03

The One Child Policy Revisited

Its labour force is shrinking and China will lose its competitive edge in that field. Men will find it harder to find wives. The population will get older and greyer. In fact, there's plenty to suggest that we should talk about the one child policy in the same category as the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward. That is, it's another tragic disaster that we can lay at the feet of an overweening despotic state. Let us hope, once again, that this disaster will be brought to an end soon.

Date posted: 2014-03-03

USA's childless women

The story of changing fertility and demographic structures is continuing to gain media attention in the US. The Pew Research centre has crunched the numbers from a recent UN report, the World Fertility Report 2012.

Date posted: 2014-03-01

Obesity in the UK

When we think of the future population in many western countries, we think of it as getting older, and if not declining, propped up by fairly large scale immigration. We may have to add getting fatter to that list.

Date posted: 2014-02-25

Population ageing affects Hong Kong

The debate in Hong Kong on its population policy is continuing. We've mentioned it before on this blog, and the debate isn't dying down at all.

Date posted: 2014-02-17

Good news from India

Once India is polio-free, the only countries left in the world where polio is endemic will be Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. If polio is eradicated in those countries, then it will be the second disease globally eliminated after smallpox was officially defeated worldwide in 1979.

Date posted: 2014-01-19

One child changes: No effect?

A few weeks ago we mentioned the news that China was relaxing its despicably evil One Child Policy. Understandably perhaps, the only response to that post was scepticism that we should take anything that the Chinese Government says at face value.

Date posted: 2013-12-22

Every birth and death in the world in front of your eyes

Dear all, it's stunning weather today in Auckland. It certainly feels that summer is upon us and that Christmas is just around the corner! This is all very exciting, but made last night very tiresome as Thomas found it much too hot to sleep well at all. Which has made me a somewhat tired father today! So nothing too cerebral today.

Date posted: 2013-12-22

New Zealand needs more people!

People are starting to wonder about the implications of New Zealand's slow population growth.

Date posted: 2013-12-22

Typhoon destruction due to too many Filipinos

Population Matters is a "campaigning organisation" that is dedicated to curbing population growth.

Date posted: 2013-12-15

Global hunger - gone in our lifetime?

A few weeks ago, we posted an article showing that while the population of the world was increasing, the number of people in absolute poverty was decreasing. In short, the link between overpopulation and hunger is simply not there. Today, I want to hit this theme again, because I think that the myth of overpopulation is still ingrained in many people's consciousness.

Date posted: 2013-12-15

Asian fertility video

Here is a short video from the Economist on the unprecedented fall on fertility rates in Asia.

Date posted: 2013-12-15

China's one-child policy to be relaxed

As you have probably heard by now, there has been some encouraging news from the Chinese Communist Party over the last few days.

Date posted: 2013-12-15

5 population stories you don't usually hear

One of our main arguments over the last few years on this blog has been that the overpopulation disaster story that is peddled in the media and inhabits the collective societal consciousness is a bit out of date.

Date posted: 2013-12-15

Tokyo's 2020 peak

When Tokyo hosts the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, the city will be the most populous it has ever been. It will also be the most populous it will ever be. The 2020 Olympics will mark the peak of Tokyo's population before it goes into steep decline.

Date posted: 2013-11-25

Migrants in Russia: a love-hate relationship

Over the last couple of years we have mentioned on this blog the demographic plight of Russia on a number of different occasions.

Date posted: 2013-11-10

Hong Kong: not for families

Currently, the Hong Kong fertility rate is one of the lowest in the world at around 1.1 children per woman (remember, the rate at which each generation replaces itself naturally is about 2.1 children per woman).

Date posted: 2013-11-10

Turkish ghost town

Today I wanted to share with you a story I came across at It's about Kayakoy, an abandoned city in south - western Turkey. The interesting thing about this city is that it is a ruin. Now, ruins in Turkey aren't exactly novel, but these ruins are more recent than most.

Date posted: 2013-11-04

Caring for your parents: a legal obligation in China

The problem in China is one of a growing elderly population who have distant and often poor children and children and, thanks to the one child policy, not many of either of them.

Date posted: 2013-11-04

Population growth: doom or necessity?

I came across a very interesting article from the New Yorker the other day. (As an aside, isn't the ability to find pretty much any information you want on the internet just amazing! We take it for granted now, but really the amount of information and knowledge we have at our fingertips would have been unthinkable for most people only 15-20 years ago...)

Date posted: 2013-11-04

In the year 2100...

Having stated last week that there is no population explosion problem, it might be useful to look at the various predictions that are being made about the world's population.

Date posted: 2013-10-22

No such thing as "population explosion"

Just to stir last week's debate re "population explosion" some more, how about we have a look at the views of Robert Newman writing in the Guardian. His claim is that there is no population explosion and that any problems about the scarcity of resources are because of politics and not because of too many people.

Date posted: 2013-10-22

India's Slums

The reasons put forward in my last post to be sanguine about our ability to feed our increasing population should not mask the terrible poverty that so many people in the world today live in. Things are certainly improving, but one in eight people in the world are still chronically hungry.

Date posted: 2013-10-22

New Zealand's retirement plan

The NZ census results are coming out next week, already preliminary figures are shown that New Zealand's rate of growth has halved since the last census. We will provide a post on the latest figures when they come out.

Date posted: 2013-10-22

More people, less hunger!

A brief post today on a familiar theme: today, the population of the world is more prosperous, better nourished and also more numerous than ever before.

Date posted: 2013-10-22

We'll take your children while you make some more

In short, the Danes for some reason have a problem making babies. The problem has got so bad that we reported earlier this year on calls for a parliamentary working group to look at the problem. Obviously they need some help, poor people.

Date posted: 2013-09-21

Overpopulation fears betray an ignorance of human history

Humans are special. Each baby born is not just another mouth to feed from the Earth's ever-limited resources, he or she is also a potential inventor, scientist, innovator that will help the rest of humanity to adapt, survive and grow.

Date posted: 2013-09-19

Are cities becoming family-free?

According to the authors, Joel Kotkin and Ali Modarres, American cities have developed in the last half century from places which traditionally supported and nurtured the family to places where only the childless and the hopeless dwell and families flee from.

Date posted: 2013-09-12

USA is slowly having more children

According to USA Today, there are some signs of increasing confidence in America. That is because the US Fertility Forecast report released by Demographic Intelligence has shown an upward tick. It has moved from a 25 year low of 1.89 children per woman to an almost 25 year low of 1.90 children per women!

Date posted: 2013-09-11

The world's oldest man?

There has been a new record set! The world's oldest person (as in ever documented, not just the oldest living) is Carmelo Flores Laura and he is apparently 123 years old!

Date posted: 2013-08-27

Ukraine suffering population decline

Although the world might be overrun with people by 2050 (according to certain prophets, we're all doomed) one place you might like to consider moving to is Ukraine. When everyone else is living cheek-by-jowl with their neighbours, bewailing the lack of living space, Ukraine may well be looking pretty attractive in 37 years time. That's because, like so many other countries in Europe, Ukraine's population is going to decline between now and 2050.

Date posted: 2013-08-01

What do Bulgaria and Canna have in common?

According to the latest census figures, that number is now only 7,351,234, a drop of about 7% in a decade. This has led to the country becoming obsessed with its demographic future, with some fearing that the country will continue to decline until it disappears sometime in the near future.

Date posted: 2011-07-27