Population

Pyramids in the Middle East

Pyramids in the Middle East

Much has been made of the fact that the the crowds protesting in Egypt against former President Hosni Mubarak consisted mainly of young people. This should not, however, be surprising. Any crowd picked randomly from the Egyptian population would consist mainly of young people. 61 percent of Egyptians are under 30 years old, and more than half of the population is under 25. Barely 10 percent of the country’s population is over 50, and fewer than one in 200 is over 80. Hosni Mubarak is 82, and much of the military leadership that replaced him is not far behind. Many young Egyptians, particularly in the cities, are relatively well educated but unable to find employment, and they like people in the rest of the...

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Phnom Penh and Svay Rieng

Phnom Penh and Svay Rieng

March 8, 2009 When I first visited Cambodia in 2005, I did what most tourists here do. I flew in to Siem Reap, spent a couple of days touring the famous ancient temples at Angkor, and then left the country. I came back for a few days in October 2006, this time to visit the capital city Phnom Penh. All I knew about the city was that it was the site of Tuol Sleng and Chuong Ek, and I wanted to visit both. Tuol Sleng was a prison during the Khmer Rouge era (1975 – 1979), and the place where more than 20,000 people were brutally interrogated and tortured. They were then usually taken to Chuong Ek, one of Cambodia’s “Killing Fields,” where they...

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Move over, Emma Lazarus

In my last posting I mentioned that the US does not face the problems of a declining population confronting countries like Russia, Japan, and Italy. I noted that the US population is continuing to grow, and that most of this growth is a consequence of immigration. Although immigration will help us avoid many (mainly economic) problems, it also presents us with a number of (mainly social and political) challenges. Not surprisingly, immigration has given rise to some heated debates, epitomized recently by the actions of and reactions to some recent decisions by Board of Supervisors of Prince William County, Virginia. Prompted by local concern at increasing immigrant populations in the area, the Board enacted some of the strictest anti-illegal immigration policies in the country....

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A word of thanks to my students, from a Baby Boomer

We read a lot these days about the population paradox: the fact that in most of the developed world, population size is stable or declining, and it’s aging. In most of the developing world, in contrast, populations are young and increasing, very rapidly in some cases. In 2025, Japan’s population will have shrunk by 10 million people, while the population of Democratic Republic of Congo will increase by 50 million. The US doesn’t face the same dire population crisis as most other developed countries. Thanks mainly to immigration, our population will continue to increase. Despite this, the population will age as baby boomers get older, and the ratio of retirees to workers will increase. This means that the burden on tomorrow’s workers (that’s you,...

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