Demography rules

This “reference page” provides links to  articles and reports about demography.  It is not a discussion page.  Please post comments only about corrections or suggested additions.

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  1. Posts on the FM website about demography
  2. Studies about demography
  3. Articles about demography

I.  My posts about demography

  1. Another front in the geopolitical struggles shaping our world, 3 June 2008
  2. “The Return of Patriarchy“ – a classic article about demography, 5 June 2008
  3. More news about Russia’s demographic collapse, 6 June 2008
  4. From the 3rd century BC, Polybius warns us about demographic collapse, 11 June 2008
  5. The War Nerd discovers van Creveld’s “power of weakness”, and demography, 18 July 2008
  6. Demographic note for today…, 20 December 2008
  7. Reading recommendations – about demography, 28 April 2009
  8. “The Russian Economy and Russian Power” by George Friedman of Stratfor, 2 August 2009
  9. Update about China: a new center of the world, 13 December 2009
  10. Updates on the trends shaping our age, 2 July 2012
  11. Must our population always grow to ensure prosperity?, 25 November 2013

II.  Studies about demography

1.  Website of the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research

2.  Global Meltdown: Immigration, Multiculturalism, and National Breakdown in the New World Disorder, By Joseph Wayne Smith, Graham Lyons, Evonne Moore Praeger Publishers, 1998

3.  “Long term global demographic trends reshaping the geopolitical landscape“, CIA, July 2001 — One of the best reports on this topic. 100 pages; 2.5 meg.

4.  “A Surplus of Men, a Deficit of Peace: Security and Sex Ratios in Asia’s Largest States“, Valerie M. Hudson and Andrea M. Den Boer, International Security (Spring 2002) — Summary:

What happens to a society that has too many men? In this provocative article, Valerie Hudson and Andrea den Boer argue that, historically, high male-to-female ratios often trigger domestic and international violence. Most violent crime is committed by young unmarried males who lack stable social bonds. Although there is not always a direct cause-and-effect relationship, these surplus men often play a crucial role in making violence prevalent within society. Governments sometimes respond to this problem by enlisting young surplus males in military campaigns and high-risk public works projects. Countries with high male-to-female ratios also tend to develop authoritarian political systems.

Hudson and den Boer suggest that the sex ratios of many Asian countries, particularly China and India — which represent almost 40 percent of the world’s population — are being skewed in favor of males on a scale that may be unprecedented in human history. Through offspring sex selection (often in the form of sex-selective abortion and female infanticide), these countries are acquiring a disproportionate number of low-status young adult males, called “bare branches” by the Chinese.

Hudson and den Boer argue that this surplus male population in Asia’s largest countries threatens domestic stability and international security. The prospects for peace and democracy are dimmed by the growth of bare branches in China and India, and, they maintain, the sex ratios of these countries will have global implications in the twenty-first century.

5.  “Revised Birth and Fertility Rates for the 1990s” from the US Center for Disease Control, 4 August 2003 — The revisions to the 1990’s fertility #s were large — and down!  Probably means TFR has risen since 2001 — but to levels lower than current numbers!  Is it still above replacement rate?  This report also highlights the importance of some things on which I’ve seen little analysis.

The total fertility rate (TFR) shows the potential impact of current fertility patterns on completed family size. The TFR indicates the number of births that a hypothetical group of 1,000 women would have if they experienced throughout their childbearing years the age-specific birth rates observed in a given year. Because it is based on age-specific birth rates, the TFR is age adjusted; it is not affected by changes over time in age composition. The revised TFR declined 2 percent from 2,081.0 per 1,000 women in 1990 to 2,034.0 in 2001 (tables 1 and 2). From 1990 to 2001, the overall TFR never exceeded ‘‘replacement’’ (2,100 per 1,000 women). The ‘‘replacement’’ rate is considered the value at which a given generation can exactly replace itself.

As is the case for the other measures of fertility, the TFR differed substantially by race and Hispanic origin. Rates for Hispanic and non-Hispanic black woman from 1990 to 2001 exceeded ‘‘replacement’’ every year, whereas the rates for non-Hispanic white and Asian or Pacific Islander (API) women were consistently below ‘‘replacement’’ during that time. For the remaining groups, the TFRs were variable. Nevertheless, while the TFRs of these groups were quite distinct, the TFR declined for all groups between 1990 and 2001.

6.  “Demographics: The Downfall of Saudi Arabia“, Adam N. Goetz, Master’s Thesis, Naval Postgraduate School’s Department of National Security Affairs, December 2003 — Summary:

Threats to Saudi Arabia have historically been categorized as external, reference immediate neighbors, and internal via conservative Islamic opposition groups. The United States, because of its security arrangement, has guaranteed the sovereignty of Saudi Arabia. Opposition groups within the Kingdom, while attracting recent attention, are placated through concessions to the Ulema and direct payment.

However, primary destabilization of the Saudi regime today is due to stress placed upon the Saudi economy and ruling structure by an unprecedented population growth within the Kingdom over the last two decades. The argument is that growth in the Kingdom has rapidly outstripped the regime’s ability to provide for it, undermining the key pillar of the Royal Family’s ruling legitimacy. This thesis explores stress placed upon the Saudi regime through its population growth. Due to effects of relative deprivation, the Saudi populace is demanding government participation, calling to question personal regime expenditures, and the motivations of regime foreign policy, especially in relation to the United States.

This study will briefly address courses of action available to the Royal Family, current effects of population growth upon the Saudi economy, and the regional and international consequences of a failed Saudi government.

7.   “Power and Population in Asia“, Nicholas Eberstadt, Policy Review, February/March 2004 — “Demographics and the strategic balance”  Opening:

Few would contest the general proposition that the population factor bears directly on the course of the friendly – and sometimes unfriendly – competition between states in the world arena today. Problems arise, however, when we try to move from the general to the specific. How, exactly, do human numbers (population size, composition, and trends of change) affect the ability of governments to influence events beyond their borders – or affect the disposition of a country’s interactions with outside actors? And this is no less important for the would-be strategist: How can we use population indicators to anticipate, with some reasonable hope of accuracy, the impact of yet-unfolding demographic forces on the balance of international power? This essay explores these questions for the world’s largest strategic arena: the great Asian/Eurasian expanse.

Auguste Comte, the nineteenth-century French mathematician and sociologist, is widely credited with the dictum “Demography is destiny.” …

8.  “The Graying of the Middle Kingdom: The Demographics and Economics of Retirement Policy in China“, The Center for Strategic & International Studies, April 2004

See the many other demographic reports by CSIS at their Global Aging Initiative.

9.  “In The Long Run, We Are All Debt:  Aging Societies And Sovereign Ratings”, S&P Ratings Service, 18 March 2005 — Summary:

Without concerted policy and fiscal reforms, aging populations will lead to intense pressure on the public finances and sovereign ratings of five of the world’s leading developed countries in the coming years. This report covers the Republic of Italy (AA-/Stable/A-1+), together with the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of France, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America (all rated AAA/Stable/A-1+). The study is part of a special report on social security, corporate pension plans and retirement savings to be published in Standard & Poor’s CreditWeek on March 30, 2005, which examines the effects of these programs on individuals, companies and financial markets.

“Without further adjustment either to the current fiscal stance or to social security and health care costs, the general government debt-to-GDP ratios of France, Germany, and the U.S. will surpass the 200% of GDP mark by the middle of the current century,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Moritz Kraemer. “This will result in deficits that will be more akin to those currently associated with speculative-grade sovereigns.”

Assuming no change in their current fiscal stance and policies governing age-related spending, sovereign ratings could begin to fall from their current levels early in the next decade. By the 2020s, the downward pressure on ratings would greatly accelerate, and by the late-2030s, all but Italy would drop below the investment grade divide.

10.  “Shrinking Cities, the Hidden Challenge”, Yale University, Fall 2005 — No longer an English translation online.  This paper aims at casting light on the hidden challenge of shrinking cities. Its main hypothesis is that in the current debate on the effects of demographic change and city management shrinking cities are widely neglected but will be a major urbanization issue in the near future.

11.  “Immigration in an Aging Society:  Workers, Birth Rates, and Social Security“, Center for Immigration Studies, April 2005 — 20 pages

12.  “Canada:  Prepare for the Long-Term Growth Slowdown“, Wojciech Szadurski, Global Insight, 15 February 2006 — Excerpt:

A recent survey of economists, business analysts, and pension fund managers by Watson Wyatt found that median expectations of long-term real GDP growth in Canada stands at 3.0%. Unless they wake up to the demographic reality, Global Insight thinks the Canadian business community may be in for a big disappointment.

13.  “Will China Grow Old Before Getting Rich?“, Goldman Sachs, February 2006 — Excerpt:

China’s unrivalled economic growth over the past quarter-century has surpassed all records and created a new standard in the history of economic development. With an average annual real GDP growth rate of 9.6% from 1978 to 2004, China’s pace of growth is faster than that achieved by any East Asian economy during their fastest-growing periods.

Nonetheless, demographers have warned that rapid ageing will limit China’s future growth prospects and that the demographic tailwind will turn into a significant headwind. China has benefited from strong raw labour growth from the late 1970s until now, but the future demographic outlook suggests that the growth of the labour force will slow and ultimately decline after 2030.

… Two forces drive these changes: 1) increased longevity, which is raising the number of elderly, and 2) the one-child policy, which has slowed the growth rate of young adults in the population. The implication for workforce growth is immediate and significant. When more workers reach retirement age and growth of the young adult population slows, the dependent per- worker ratio will increase and the “demographic bonus” will end.

Many observers are thus concerned that “China may get old before it gets rich”. Ageing has been perceived almost exclusively as a problem for industrialised economies, following years of urbanisation and industrialisation. Fewer people have associated ageing with a developing country where labour is often ample and the cost of child-raising inexpensive. China may be an exception. Although it is still considered a developing country by many standards, China has the fastest ageing trend among the 14 developing economies in the BRICs and the N-11.

Our analysis suggests that by the time China becomes an “aged society” in 2027, it will probably be considered a developed country, although it will still be considerably poorer than the US or Japan on a per-capita income basis. We believe the rapid build-up of human capital and the continued release of surplus labour from the agriculture sector will mitigate the negative influences on the labour supply from ageing.

14.  “China’s Growth to 2030: The Roles of Demographic Change and Investment Premia“, Rod Tyers and Jane Golley, College of Business & Economics, Australian National University (May 2006) — 36 pages.  Abstract:

China’s economic growth has, hitherto, depended on its relative abundance of production labour and its increasingly secure investment environment. Within the next decade, however, China’s labour force will begin to contract. This will set its economy apart from other developing Asian countries where relative labour abundance will increase, as will relative capital returns.

Unless there is a substantial change in population policy, the retention of China’s large share of global FDI will require further improvements in its investment environment. These linkages are explored using a new global demographic model that is integrated with an adaptation of the GTAP-Dynamic global economic model in which regional households are disaggregated by age and gender. Interest premia are integral with projections made using these models and in this paper their influence on China’s economic growth performance is investigated under alternative assumptions about fertility decline and labour force growth.

China’s share of global investment is found to depend sensitively on both its labour force growth and its interest premium though the results suggest that a feasible continuation of financial reforms will be sufficient to compensate for a slowdown and decline in its labour force.

15.  “Demographic Changes, Saving, and Current Account in East Asia“, Soyoung Kim and Jong-Wha Lee, Asian Economic Papers, Spring/Summer 2007 — 32 pages

16.  Speech by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General introducing their new publication Launch of “A Profile of Immigrant Populations in the 21st Century”, 20 February 2008 — Report summary and how to access are here; Home page for OECD Migration Project.

17.  “Demography and development in Russia“, UN Development Program, 28 April 2008  — Excerpt:

Demographic development in Russia that to a large extent has much in common with the European one is characterized by the following trends:

  1. It is already for forty years that fertility in Russia cannot provide for the simple replacement of its population; mortality in men of working age is as high as it was a century ago.
  2. Beginning from 1992, mortality in Russia has consistently exceeded fertility: the loss of population has amounted to approximately 12 mln individuals and was partially compensated for by 5.5 mln due to migration gains.
  3. Should current reproductive trends (low fertility and high mortality) remain, they could lead to a nationwide population of 125-135 mln by early 2025 and as low as 100 mln by 2050
  4. The age and gender structure of the population has been severely distorted, which has and will have negative effects on reproduction.
  5. The ageing of the population is continuing, as a result of which the size of the working-age population will fall by up to 1 mln annually already by 2020-25, thus raising the dependent load to 670- 750 and 900-1000 by 2050, which will negatively influence economic growth rates. This will inevitably lead to increasing the retirement age in the near future.

… Russia is one of the few countries in the world where life expectancy has decreased in comparison to 1960s levels. Russia is behind developed countries in terms of life expectancy by 15-19 years for men and 7-12 years for women. … The Russian phenomenon of hypermortality comes to be observed primarily in working-age populations: compared to the majority of countries that have similar level of economic development, mortality in Russia is 3-5 times higher for men and twice as high for women.

18.  “Do Muslims Have More Children Than Other Women in Western Europe?“, Population Reference Bureau — The paper they describe appears immediately below. Opening:

Extremely low birth rates in most of Europe have fueled concerns about population decline, yet one segment of the continent’s population—Muslims—continues to grow. The increasing number and visibility of Muslims in Western Europe, juxtaposed with the low fertility among non-Muslims, has led some Europeans to worry that the region will eventually have a Muslim majority, fundamentally changing Western European society. A new study by demographers Charles Westoff and Tomas Frejka challenges this common perception and suggests that the fertility gap between Muslims and non-Muslims is shrinking.

19.  “Religiousness and Fertility Among European Muslims,” Charles F. Westoff and Tomas Frejka, Population and Development Review; 33, no. 4 (2007) — Subscription only.  Abstract:

According to popular belief, the fertility of Muslims in Europe is much higher than that of non-Muslims. This belief stems, at least in part, from the general impression of high fertility in Muslim countries in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. The notion of high Muslim fertility in Europe fuels concerns about Muslims’ increasing immigration, growing numbers, and resistance to assimilation into European society, leading to dire predictions that Muslims are “about to take over Europe” or that “much of what we loosely call the Western world will not survive this century, and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most Western European countries”.

20.  “Japan’s Unprecedented Aging and Changing Intergenerational Transfers“, To be presented at the NBER-TCER-KDI conference on “The Demographic Transition Pacific Rim”, to be held during 19-21 June 2008 in Seoul, Republic of Korea

21.  “The Demographic Transition and Economic Growth in the Pacific Rim“, Andrew Mason, University of Hawaii, Ronald Le, UC Berkeley, Sang-Hyop Lee, University of Hawaii, NBER, 6 July 2008, 37 pages.

22.  “The changing face of Europe“, David Coleman, presented at a conference about Effects of Migration on Population Structures in Europe, held Vienna Institute of Demography of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, 1-2 December 2008

23.  “Ageing and Mortality in the UK“, National Statistician’s annual article on the population, Karen Dunnell,
Population Trends, Winter 2008, no 134, pp 6-23 .

24.  The Graying of the Middle Kingdom Revisited“, Center for Strategic and International Studies, 22 April 2009

III.  Articles and speeches about demography

See these posts listing articles by Spengler about demography:  here and here.

1.  “Power and Population in Asia“, Nicholas Eberstadt, Policy Review,Feb 2004 — Some interesting predictions for China, India, Japan, and Russia.

2.  “The Global Baby Bust“, Phillip Longman, Foreign Affairs, May/June 2004

3.  “A Perspective on the Graying Population and Current Account Balances“, William Poole (President, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis),  8 March 2005 — Note the visuals are at the end.

4.  “The Northern America Fertility Divide“, Barbara Boyle Torrey and Nicholas Eberstadt, Policy Review, September 2005

5.  “The Return of Patriarchy“, Phillip Longman of New America Foundation, Foreign Policy, 1 March 2006 — Subscriber-only.  Alternate site.  Excerpt:

Across the globe, people are choosing to have fewer children or none at all. Governments are desperate to halt the trend, but their influence seems to stop at the bedroom door. Are some societies destined to become extinct? Hardly. It’s more likely that conservatives will inherit the Earth. Like it or not, a growing proportion of the next generation will be born into families who believe that father knows best.

6.  “Russia Faces Demographic Disaster“, Otto Latsis, Moscow News, 12 September 2005

7.  “The Geopolitics of Sexual Frustration“, Martin Walker, Foreign Policy, March/April 2006

8.  “In shrinking Bulgaria, where are the people?“, International Herald Tribune, 10 October 2006 — Excerpt:

In Bulgaria, the overall population decline is considered to be one of the most severe in the world. … The fertility rate – the average number of children per woman – is now 1.3 in Bulgaria, the same as in Germany. The rate needed to keep the population level is 2.2.

9.  World on Fire, By Amy Chua — Book Review.  “Postindustrial society is increasingly a conspiracy by the right-hand tail of the Bell Curve against the rest of us.”

10.  “Japan’s population projected to fall below 90 million by 2055“, The Daily Yomiuri , 21 December 2006

11.  “‘Dump your children here’ box to stop mothers killing their babies“, The Times, 27 March 2007 — Comment on this story by Mark Steyn:

Meanwhile, the last gals in the country still in the procreation business have to be offered E-Z-trash drop-off bins in order to stop them tossing their bairns out the apartment window. By the way, look at the first word of that report, from The Times of London: “Desperate” mothers. Why, in a land of socialized health care and lavish welfare, are mothers so “desperate”? Feckless boyfriends seem to play a part. But then Germany has one of the lowest marriage rates in the developed world.

12.  “Number of children drops for 26th straight year to 17.38 mil“, Japan Today , 5 May 2007 — Excerpt:

The number of children below 15 in the nation came to 17.38 million as of April 1 for the 26th straight year of decline, accounting for a record-low 13.6% of the population, according to an internal affairs ministry population estimate released Friday.

The number was 140,000 lower than last year, and the children’s share of the population declined for the 33rd straight year, according to the survey, which was released ahead of Children’s Day on May 5, a national holiday. The number of boys and girls below 15 decreased by 70,000 each from last year to 8.91 million and 8.47 million, respectively, according to the estimate.

13.  A Demographic Theory of War: Population, power, and the ‘slightly weird’ ideas of Gunnar Heinsohn“, Weekly Standard , 5 October 2007

14.  “Interview: A Continent of Losers” – an interview with Gunnar Heinsohn — This might be his best-know statement of views, in non-academic US circles.  Published in Sappho.  No date.  Summary:

While the European populations are shrinking and the best-qualified young people are leaving, we continue to allow mass immigration of unqualified Muslims, who will soon make our welfare states collapse. Add to this the fact that the Muslim world has built up a “youth bulge”, which according to experience will lead to mass murder and whose effects cannot be offset by foreign aid. The originator of these bleak predictions is the German sociologist Gunnar Heinsohn, who believes that the game is over for Europe.

… The 63-year-old sociology professor at the University of Bremen published his findings in his sensational and politically incorrect book Söhne und Weltmacht: Terror im Aufstieg und Fall der Nationen [Sons and World Domination: Terror in the Rise and Fall of Nations], published in 2003. The book became widely known and discussed after the prominent German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk had characterised it as being as groundbreaking as Karl Marx’s Das Kapital. Sloterdijk thought that the book might pave the way for a new realism within a field that might be labelled “Demographic Materialism”.

15.   “Japan eyes demographic time bomb“, BBC, 19 Nov 2007 — “In the first of a series on Japan’s population crisis, the BBC’s Philippa Fogarty looks at what the demographic changes mean for Asia’s economic giant.”

16.  Globalisation and Population Trends: Implications for Labour Markets and Inflation“, Opening remarks by Mr Malcolm Knight BIS Conference in Honour of Palle S Andersen, Basel  (3 December 2007) — Abstract:

“The Conference on “Globalisation and population trends and their implications for labour markets and inflation” was organised by the BIS on 3 December to honour the late Palle Andersen, who was a leading BIS macroeconomist for over two decades and made many important contributions to these topics. The integration of emerging market economies into global production processes has arguably influenced labour market policies and wage setting behaviour in advanced industrial countries through three main channels. First, increased international labour mobility has helped to ease supply constraints in labour markets. Second, the relocation of production has curtailed the bargaining power of workers and trade unions. Third, the opening of markets for goods and, increasingly, services to international competition has intensified competitive pressures on producers.”

17.  “War of the Babies–When Modern Warfare and Demography Square Off, Demography Wins“, Gary Brecher (aka The War Nerd), Taki’s Magazine, 6 May 2008 — Excerpt:

So there’s a shocking lesson that military buffs have been slow to face: military superiority doesn’t matter nearly as much right now as birthrate and sheer ruthless will. … To succeed in the post-1918 world, the world Woodrow Wilson dreamed up where “small nations” have rights even if they can’t defend them, you need to use slower, less obviously military methods, like birthrate and immigration.

18.  “No Babies?“, New York Times Magazine, 29 June 2008

19.  “Baby Bust!“, Kerry Howley, Reason, July 2008 — “The world is panicking over birthrates. Again.”

20.  “Demographic challenges ahead need not be dangerous“, Thomas P. M. Barnett, op-ed in Scripps News, 4 July 2008.

21.  “A comedy of areas“, Spengler, Asia Times, 10 September 2008 — There will not be any Georgians or Ukrainians in the not-so-distant-future.

22.  “Sex, drugs and Islam“, Spengler, Asia Times, 24 February 2009

23.  “Drunken Nation: Russia’s Depopulation Bomb“, Nicholas Eberstadt, World Affairs, Spring 2009 — Chilling reading about Russia’s demographic decline.  Excerpt:

4 thoughts on “Demography rules”

  1. RE: Hudson and Den Boer on societies which have large surpluses of young, unattached men.

    This theory seems plausible from a purely biocehmical perspective. Young, unattached males produce the largest amounts of testosterone relative to other men. Gettting married causes a drop in this level, which drops again when that man fathers children. Paired men produce more oxytocin, which strengthens bonding behavior and counteracts the aggresive-potentiation of testosterone to a degree.

    This is an intriguing theory, time should show weather it is accurate or not. Purely on this basis, the PRC and India had better walk on eggshells near one another, it seems.

    I’ll leave analysis of the skyrocketing birthrates in the Muslim world to others.

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