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Updated: 2018-01-15T16:28:06.484+00:00


On the demographic issues of Puerto Rico in an era of exodus


I was reminded of my post questioning the viability of Caribbean islands in an era of worsening natural disasters when I began reading reports of the devastation wrought on Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria. Hurricane Maria is Puerto Rico’s worst in nearly a century, a double blow as it follows the destructive Hurricane Irma by just two weeks. The costs, both human and financial, have only begun to

What demographic issues do you think deserve coverage?


I know I ask this periodically of our readership, but I remain curious. What population-issues do you think should be covered, here or elsewhere? Are there particular regions or particular themes you would like explored? (I can promise a post on Puerto Rico for tomorrow. More to come after that, too.)

On a devastating hurricane season in the Caribbean and migration futures


Hurricane season this year in the Caribbean is shaping up to be terrible. I had not quite realized how terrible, the imagery of devastation aside, until I learned that the devastation wrought by Hurricane Irma had forced the evacuation of Barbuda, smaller of the two major islands which make up the country of Antigua and Barbuda. The island has been emptied of its population of some eighteen

On the labour shortages of Sarufutsu, Hokkaido


Late last month, I came across Masahiro Hidaka's Bloomberg article "Japan's Richest Village Can't Find Workers for Its Factory". In this article, Hidaka describes how the village of Sarufutsu, northernmost village in Hokkaido and thus all Japan, is facing a shutdown of its hugely profitable scallops fishery because it is literally running out of workers. The village -- which is closer to the

Five links about refugees and migrations: border debris, Cornwall's camps, and online fraud


Earlier today at my blog, I linked to an article published earlier this month in the Toronto Star. In "Fleeing to Canada, asylum seekers’ old lives revealed in the scraps found along New York’s Roxham Rd.", journalist Allan Woods looked at the debris discarded by refugee claimants fleeing potential threats in Trump's America. There were airplane boarding passes and luggage tags from Haiti,

On the recent fall in American fertility rates: Is this American convergence?


The Washington Post was just one of many news sources to note a recent report provided by the National Vital Statistics System of the Centers for Disease Control, "Births: Provisional Data for 2016" (PDF format). This report noted that not only had the absolute number of births fallen, but that the total fertility rate in 2016 was the lowest it had been in more than three decades: "The 2016 total

Hans Rosling, in memoriam


I was shocked and saddened to learn of the death earlier this week of Gapminder's Hans Rosling. 68 was too young for anyone, certainly too young for someone so dedicated to helping the world know itself through the truth. Scott Gilmore's article in MacLean's is one I recommend. From Davos, to the White House, to the offices of the World Bank, Rosling could be found tirelessly preaching the

On Max Roser's A history of global living conditions in 5 charts and the future


Some days ago, I saw shared on Facebook an essay, Max Roser's "A history of global living conditions in 5 charts" at the Our World in Data project. In this essay, Roser makes the argument--contrary to the zeigeist of 2016--that, in fact, in the longue durée things have been getting decidedly better for people. Extreme poverty and premature mortality have faded, rates of literacy and education

Nature's Amy MaxMen on the achievements of Gapminder's Hans Rosling


In January 2011 and June 2013, I linked to two videos by Swedish statistician and popularizer Hans Rosling demonstrating different demographic trends. Today, via 3 Quarks Daily, I came across Amy Maxmen's excellent long-format article on Rosling and his accomplishments, "Three minutes with Hans Rosling will change your mind about the world". It does a great job of explaining just what Rosling,

"Census still vulnerable to political meddling, says former chief"


Canadian newsmagazine MacLean's hosts Jordan Press' Canadian Press article "Census still vulnerable to political meddling, says former chief". Wayne Smith warns that the Canadian census is still vulnerable to political interference, even with new legislation. The federal government’s bid to protect Statistics Canada from political interference has a significant oversight that exposes the census

The Globe and Mail on the Syrian refugee population in Canada


In The Globe and Mail, journalist Joe Friesen's data-driven analysis "Syrian exodus to Canada: One year later, a look at who the refugees are and where they went" takes a look at how the tens of thousands of Syrian refugees resettled Canada are doing. The initial surge of arrivals was fuelled primarily by privately sponsored refugees whose applications were already in the pipeline under the

A brief note on the demographic prospects of Cuba


Over at my blog this evening, I posted an article reflecting on the evidence for substantial economic decline in Cuba under Castro, not only decline relative to its peers (southern and central Europe, high-income Latin America) but even, at times, of absolute decline. A country that had severe problems of inequality went on to acquire worse problems. Of all the economies in the world to be

What demographic issues do you think matter right now?


Are there particular trends you are interested in? Are there particular regions you would like to read about? Would analyses of the present here, try to predict the future, aim for a better understanding of the past? Would you like to be the one doing the analyzing? Discuss, please.

A brief observation on the 2016 US presidential election


I've been following the aftermath of the 2016 presidential elections in the United States over at my blog with no small amount of concern. I acknowledge, in the interest of openness, that I would have personally preferred an election victory by Clinton over Trump, rooted in my belief that she would be better equipped to handle issues--including demographic ones--better than Trump. Still, it is

"Trump's Win Isn't the Death of Data--It Was Flawed All Along"


I'm going to react at greater length and in greater detail to the surprise outcome of the American presidential election. In the meantime, I'd like to point readers to Cade Metz's Wired article "Trump's Win Isn't the Death of Data--It Was Flawed All Along". It raises a lot of interesting questions about statistics collection generally, not just political polling. The lesson of Trump’s victory is

On the idea that the human life expectancy is limited to 115 years


The theme of longevity is one that Demography Matters has touched upon in the past. I've written about two interesting case studies, in February 2010 about the Abkhaz of the Caucasus and their mythic longevity, and then in June 2014 about the factors behind the extended life expectancy of the inhabitants of the Greek Aegean island of Icaria. I've also written about broader trends, in December

On the new official xenophobia in the United Kingdom


Brexit is something that I've been paying attention to this year. In March, I pointed out that the limited free movement with other Commonwealth countries that some Brexit proponents was offering. (The curious fact that this free movement would be only with rich and white countries is something I noted in passing.) In June, meanwhile, I noted the losses that the United Kingdom would suffer and

On the growth and the aging of Canada's population


CBC was one of the several news sources to announce earlier this week that Canada's population has grown to surpass the 36 million mark. A record number of immigrants and refugees arriving on Canadian shores helped push Canada's official population over 36 million as of July 1, Statistics Canada says. The data agency says there were 437,815 more people living in Canada than there were on the

Andrew Coyne in the National Post on the highly contingent successes of liberalism in Canada


I write from a Canadian perspective. Sometimes, it's important to remember that mine, too, is a pespective consequent to any number of highly contingent events. Andrew Coyne's recent article in the National Post "Canada’s openness a product of our history, geography more than a particular Liberal trait", is worth reading in full. He's entirely right to point out, of course, that the relative

On the physical constraints to the independence of Statistics Canada


Before this weekend, the biggest news relating to Statistics Canada had to do with the very high response rate to the 2016 census just concluded, 98.4% of those surveyed nation-wide responding. The news Friday that chief statistician Wayne Smith had resigned in protest caught many people off guard. Canada's chief statistician has resigned in protest over what he says is the federal governments'

On the ongoing depopulation of Cape Breton


The other day on my personal blog, I linked to a CBC News report describing how a Cape Breton store and bakery, desperate for workers, was offering free land to people who would move to that Nova Scotian island and work for them. A family-run business is trying a unique approach to recruit people to live and work year-round in rural Cape Breton by offering two free acres of land to people who

#CensusFail, or, how #Census2016 is not as big a hit in Australia as in Canada


I've learned that the Australian census, recently concluded, has been the subject of as much controversy as in Canada in recent years. The big difference is that, whereas Canada's census controversies were contrived by the then-ruling Conservative Party government, Australia's worries are more deeply rooted. Bloomberg's Michael Heath authored the article "Census Boycott Gathers Momentum Amid

On the Jedi phenomenon and the Australian census


Via io9, I learned of a Brisbane Times article dealing with the Jedi phenomenon in the Australian census. Funny as the idea of claiming the faith of the Jedi Knights of Star Wars fame might be, it messes with census data. The Jedi phenomenon began in 2001 when an email campaign mistakenly claimed the government would have to recognise it as an official religion if 8000 people selected it in the

Four article links on the aftermath of the 2016 Canada census


What, might readers of Demography Matters ask, has become of the Canadian census? Four article illustrate the contours surrounding this issue. Last week in The Globe and Mail, Tavia Grant's article "Census response rate is 98 per cent, early calculations show" featured. Canadians really were, it seems, enthusiastic about the census. Statistics Canada is still calculating exact response rates,

"Brexit was fueled by irrational xenophobia, not real economic grievances"


Vox's Zack Beauchamp has a great extended article, "Brexit was fueled by irrational xenophobia, not real economic grievances", that takes a look at how migration concerns helped create a pro-Brexit majority. Critically, as far as he can prove, these seem not to have been based on actual issues, but rather on perceptions. The surge [of immigrants] was a result (in part but not in whole) of EU