31 Oct 2014

General News & Items of Interest to DemographersRSS

NY Times Census News

Numbers Bring a Reporter to Empty, but Not Vacant, Pieds-à-Terre

A Times contributor finds a method to uncover empty, but not vacant, apartments in New York City.

A Formula to Find the Uninsured Around the Country

Enroll America began with a huge phone survey of 12,000 adults and added neighborhood data.

Negro? Prieto? Moreno? A Question of Identity for Black Mexicans

Mexico is planning to do something it has not attempted in decades and never on its modern census: ask people if they consider themselves black.


The Census Bureau tracks vacancy rates to find out who lives in Manhattan full time.

The Methodology Behind the Upshot’s Estimates of Hispanic Republicans

First, we posed a tough question: Did Republicans need Hispanic voters to retain the House in 2012?

Max Planck Inst for Demographic Research

No work, no children?

An investigation by MPIDR-researcher Michaela Kreyenfeld shows that among the unemployed, the decision about whether or not to have children depends to a large extent on sex, age, and educational attainment.

Gender Gaps in Health and Survival

From February 1, 2015,  Anna Oksuzyan will build up a new Max Planck Research Group. The physician deals with the question of why women and men have different life expectancies.

Mikko Myrskylä is the new MPIDR director

Mikko Myrskylä has been appointed the new director of the MPIDR and is now heading the institute together with its founding director, James W. Vaupel. Myrskylä is happy to return to Rostock and advance research in social demography.

High Income, Many Children

While Danish women tend to wait until they are well-established professionally and have a secure income before having children, the opposite is the case for German women.

Effect of the fall of the Berlin Wall: Three hours of life per euro

Each additional euro eastern Germans received in benefits from pensions and public health insurance after reunification accounted for three additional hours of life expectancy, a new study by MPIDR researcher Tobias Vogt shows.

Demography Matters

Does The Secular Stagnation Theory Have Any Sort of Validity?

In a number of blog-posts (Paul Krugman's Bicycling Problem, On Bubble Business Bound, The Expectations Fairy) I have examined some of the implications of the theory of secular stagnation. But I haven't up to now argued why I think the hypothesis that Japan and some parts of Europe are suffering from some kind of secular stagnation could well be a valid one. Strangely, while I would suggest the

Some thematic links: France, Ukraine, Russia, Japan, China, South Pacific

I've been collecting links for the past while, part of my ongoing research into some interesting topics. I thought I'd share some with you tonight. On the subject of France, second-largest economy in the Eurozone and one of the high-income countries with the stablest demographic structures, Marginal Revolution has linked to some analysts (1, 2) who point out that the French job market is

Still here!

It has been a while, I know, but Demography Matters is still here. I've got the raw material for new posts in the works. A question to you, our readers. What would you like to see? Are there any particular areas or regions of the world, perhaps, or any kind of themes? Leave your suggestions in the comments.

On the longevity and extended health of Icarians, among others

Via the Washington Post I came across a 2012 article in The New York Times Magazine by Dan Buettner, "The Island Where People Forget to Die". In this article, Buettner highlights the longevity and good health of the inhabitants of Icaria, a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea several dozen kilometres away from the Anatolian mainland where the average inhabitant can expect to live a decade longer

Secular Stagnation Part II - On Bubble Business Bound

"I now suspect that the kind of moderate economic policy regime...... that by and large lets markets work, but in which the government is ready both to rein in excesses and fight slumps – is inherently unstable." Paul Krugman - The Instability of Moderation "Conventional macreconomic theory leaves us in a very serious problem, because we all seem to agree that whereas you can keep the federal

The Economist

Population projections: Don’t panic

UK Only Article:  standard article Fly Title:  Population projections Rubric:  A UN study sparks fears of a population explosion. The alarm is misplaced Main image:  20140927_BLP508_0.jpg “BOOM! Earth’s population could hit 12 billion by 2100”. That was the headline on Wired.com which greeted research by Patrick Gerland and others of the United Nations’ population division looking at the UN’s population projections to 2100. Britain’s Guardian newspaper said the study, published recently in the journal Science, “overturns 20 years of consensus on peak projection of 9 billion and gradual decline.” Climate News Network, a non-governmental organisation that tracks and summarises environmental articles, reckoned the study “has profound and alarming implications for political stability, food security and, of course, climate change.” But hang on a second. The UN’s population division is the outfit that much of the world relies on for basic demographic information. If it had changed its forecasts and overturned 20 years of consensus, that would be a very big deal ...

Birth control in Niger: Population explosion

UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  Back to Iraq Fly Title:  Birth control in Niger Rubric:  Runaway birth rates are a disaster Location:  MARADI Main image:  20140816_MAP006_1.jpg HAOWA was already struggling to feed five children before she gave birth to triplets in the Gabi region of southern Niger 19 months ago. Now, when her babies scream for food she often finds herself helpless. “If they cry and I have nothing to give them, then I must let them cry,” she says, cradling two infants who bear the hallmarks of malnutrition. Their hair is yellowing, their bellies are distended and their expressions glazed. They lack the energy to shake the flies from their faces. It is a dismal but depressingly common picture in west Africa’s largest country. Niger is, by the reckoning of the UN’s Human Development Index, the poorest place on earth. Most of its inhabitants eke out a living growing subsistence crops on small plots of dusty, ...

The Economist explains: Why the Japanese are having so few babies

LAST month a local official in Aichi prefecture set out a daring proposal. Tomonaga Osada suggested that the authorities could distribute secretly punctured condoms to young married couples, who would then get to work boosting the birth rate. His unorthodox ploy won few supporters, yet it reflects a gathering concern about Japan’s demographic plight. Last year just over 1m babies were born, far fewer than the number needed to maintain the population, which is expected to drop from 127m to around 87m by 2060. Why are young Japanese so loth to procreate?The spiral of demographic decline is spinning faster as the number of women of child-bearing age falls. In May a report predicted that 500 or more towns across the country will disappear by around 2040 as young women migrate to bigger cities. The workforce is already shrinking, imperiling future growth. In recent years governments have embarked on a plethora of schemes to encourage childbearing, including a “women’s handbook” to educate young females on the high and low points of their fertility, and state-sponsored matchmaking events.The chief reason for the dearth of births is the decline of marriage. Fewer people are opting to wed, and they are doing so later in life. At least a third of young women aim to become full-time housewives, yet they struggle to find men who can support a traditional family. In ...

Fertility and son-preference in Nigeria: Bring back the girls

UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  America’s lost oomph Fly Title:  Fertility and son-preference in Nigeria Rubric:  Amid worries about kidnapped girls, Nigeria’s traditions are unkind, too Main image:  Still the desirable sex SEX-SELECTIVE abortions are used round the world to discriminate in favour of boys. But not in Africa. Nigeria’s sex ratio at birth is the natural one: 106 boys are born for every 100 girls (boys are more vulnerable to infant diseases, so this ratio ensures that equal numbers of the sexes reach puberty). By contrast, at its worst, China had 120 boys for every 100 girls. Moreover, in Nigeria, there are plenty of both: the fertility rate is 6.0, meaning the average woman can expect to have six children, or three sons. Parents have no need of extra measures to ensure boys are born. Yet despite all this, a recent study* finds that Nigeria also suffers from sexual bias from birth and that, while this does not skew the sex ratio, it manifests itself in other ways that harm ...

Iran: Make more babies

UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  Beautiful game, dirty business Fly Title:  Iran Rubric:  Iran’s leaders are worried about their country’s declining population Location:  TEHRAN Main image:  There’s still room for another There’s still room for another “DECIDE tonight to rid yourselves of this ominous culture of having only one or two children,” intones a leading cleric on a state-run television programme, appealing to viewers to have at least five babies to match the Prophet Muhammad’s immediate family (himself, his daughter Fatima, his cousin and son-in-law Ali, and his two grandsons Hassan and Hussein—known together as “the people of the cloak”). But ideally you should aim for 12, the number of imams historically worshipped by Shia Muslims, who predominate in Iran. “Nothing less than five is acceptable,” he insists. From mullahs to health ministers, the Islamic Republic is changing its tune on family planning. In 2012 ...

Urban Institute

Small-Dollar Credit: Consumer Needs and Industry Challenges

Managing finances can be a tightrope walk, especially for low- and moderate-income families. To deal with these challenges, many households turn to expensive small-dollar credit. This brief, based on a convening of 25 small-dollar credit researchers, credit union experts, and bank representatives, discusses the opportunities and challenges of providing small-dollar credit products. Ability to repay, flexibility, and transparency are important features for consumer success. Products that bundle credit with savings provide pathways to greater financial stability. Small loan amounts, the costs of underwriting and servicing loans, and regulatory and reputational risks pose challenges to providers.

Child Care Assistance for Parents in Education and Training: Executive Summary

New economic realities have focused attention on how to best design workforce development strategies to help low-wage and low-skill workers succeed. Lack of child care is one important barrier that can make it difficult for low-income parents to successfully participate in workforce development programs that help people find jobs, job readiness activities, and supportive services. This brief focuses on one element of this barrier: the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), the federal and state child care assistance program. It examines CCDF eligibility policies and services for parents who need child care to participate in education and training activities.

Child Care Assistance for Parents in Education and Training

New economic realities have focused attention on how to best design workforce development strategies to help low-wage and low-skill workers succeed. Lack of child care is one important barrier that can make it difficult for low-income parents to successfully participate in workforce development programs that help people find jobs, job readiness activities, and supportive services. This paper focuses on one element of this barrier: the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), the federal and state child care assistance program. This paper examines CCDF eligibility policies and services for parents who need child care to participate in education and training activities.

Balancing School, Work, and Family: Low-Income Parents' Participation in Education and Training

A key policy concern is how to best help low-income individuals gain the skills and credentials they need to find a well-paying job. However, low-income parents in particular may face certain barriers, such as access to reliable child care. This brief uses nationally-representative data to examine the education and training participation of low-income parents and understand their personal and family characteristics, both for those who do and do not engage in education and training. The brief discusses implications for workforce development and child care policy and programs to better support these parents as they balance school, work and family responsibilities.

Joint SNAP and Medicaid/CHIP Program Eligibility and Participation in 2011

More than one-third of all children were eligible for both Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid/Childrens Health Insurance Program (CHIP) benefits in 2011, the most recent year of data available. Far fewer adults were jointly eligible. Reasons for the difference include childrens high poverty rates and state eligibility policies. However, joint participation rates (the percent of eligibles receiving benefits) suggest that many eligibles were not participating. In four out of five of states with available data, less than three-quarters of those jointly eligible (adults and children) were receiving both benefits. Efforts to streamline and integrate application systems have the potential to improve program reach to families in need.


Questions on the government plan to index family benefits on income

Modulating family benefits by income—a good idea or one that undermines the universality principle? For INED researcher Olivier Thévenon, this measure seems preferable to reducing aid to pay childcare costs, which plays a key role in furthering women’s employment and improving family living standards

A girl or a boy? Nearly nine in ten parents want to know before their child is born

Close to 90% of future parents want to know the sex of their child before birth, according to initial ELFE study findings. 60% of parents having their first child express no sex preference. Among parents who have expressed a preference, more future fathers would prefer a boy while future mothers are evenly divided. ELFE (Étude Longitudinale Française depuis l’Enfance), the first study of its kind conducted in France, will follow over 18,000 children from their birth in 2011 to age 20 years [Press Release in FR]

On ne naît plus femme ou homme par hasard

Intervention de Gilles Pison au cycle de conférences du Campus Condorcet "Le genre fait-il la différence?" le 24 novembre 2014 à 19h au Conservatoire , Aubervilliers-La Courneuve

In the press this week

A selection of French press article on population issues [FR]

Migrations: return is a personal choice

Why do migrants who have reached Europe return to Africa? According to the new issue of Population & Societies, which examines return migration to Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo, many do so for personal, family or work-related reasons or because they have completed their education. Not having a residence permit or having passed through several transit countries are not major determinants of return; persons who had difficulty migrating to Europe prefer to stay there