Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Max Fisher has an interesting story in the Washington Post analyzing the results of a new United Nations Population Fund report that shows current trends in population growth and demographic forces that will play a significant role in the world's future political stability. Looking at the map of world demographic trends shows three types of countries: Blue countries are growing, with darker blue countries growing very rapidly. Purple countries are growing slowly or are about stagnant, with less than 1 percent population growth every year. Red countries are actually shrinking, typically because people are leaving or because they're not having enough babies. Fisher discusses five major demographic trends from the map: 1) Almost all of the countries growing more than 2 percent per year are in sub-Sahara Africa as people are living much longer as health standards improve and the continent is becoming more stable and more peaceful, meaning that there are fewer wars, famines and natural disasters. 2) The Arab Middle East has been experiencing a very significant youth bulge over the last few years,that is very problematic because when large numbers of young people hit working age at the same time, the Middle Eastern economies aren't able to provide enough jobs. Combine that with the region's stale authoritarian regimes and it's a recipe for political turmoil. 3) Eastern Europe (and Japan) is a demographic disaster. When your population is shrinking, that's bad because working-age people will make up an ever-smaller share of your population, which will be increasingly dominated by the elderly. Old people typically don't work, and they consume far more social services. 4) Immigration is counteracting the West's demographic slowdown. Birth rates in Europe and North America are pretty low, typically quite close to zero. The trend lines for countries with little immigration are down, meaning eventually they will turn red. The trend lines for countries that foster more immigration tip upward, a much healthier trajectory. American Progress says that permitting undocumented immigrants in the US to gain legal status will significantly expand economic growth, create jobs and increase tax revenues. 5) Growth in East Asia is slowing which is, to some extent, healthy. As China's leaders knew when they enacted the deeply controversial "one-child policy," limiting all parents to a single child, the country's population had been growing faster than the economy and government could sustain. The danger comes if the East Asian population slowdown continues, as East Asians become more affluent and countries like China and South Korea risk a Japan-style demographic crisis.
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