Roberts, Shannon
88 Articles at Lifeissues.net

Articles

New! Why progress might have peaked 40 years ago

Arguing that population is the cause is simplistic.

Date posted: 2017-07-15

Family is high on Russia's agenda

President Putin explains why.

Date posted: 2017-07-07

The world as 100 people.

Some recent statistics to make you feel grateful.

Date posted: 2017-06-21

China's population may be smaller than official data suggests

Researchers suggest 90 million fewer people.

Date posted: 2017-06-02

Will atheists soon die out?

If the non-religious have no babies, the religious may indeed inherit the earth.

Date posted: 2017-06-02

Should Americans have paid maternity leave?

Most Americans say yes.

Date posted: 2017-05-23

10 demographic trends shaping our lives

Has your world changed?

Date posted: 2017-05-21

Demography as power

How children have historically protected political and moral values

Date posted: 2017-05-04

Parental leave for grandparents

Cuba is well aware of its demographic woes and continues to think of ways to turn its low fertility rate around. The latest initiative is to give parental leave to the grandparents of newborns.

Date posted: 2017-04-01

The large countries shrinking the fastest

Amid historic worries about population growth, people often forget that many countries around the world are, or will soon be, shrinking in size.

Date posted: 2017-02-21

U.S. immigrants prop up marriage

More immigrant families are traditional families

Date posted: 2017-01-17

U.S. divorce rate at 35 year low and more births within marriage

The latest positive U.S. family statistics.

Date posted: 2016-11-27

European youth returning to the family farm

More traditional values could be a by-product.

Date posted: 2016-11-04

Migration can prop up population but it can't prop up culture

International migration is changing the face of the globe.

Date posted: 2016-11-04

Population engineering ideology rears its ugly head

There has recently been a resurrection of academics in favour of population engineering for the purpose of climate change and emissions reduction

Date posted: 2016-09-27

The work-family-childcare-life balance

How are parents around the world actually managing the juggle?

Date posted: 2016-08-02

Where will the UK's 850,000 Poles go?

They may help boost the fertility rate in their home country.

Date posted: 2016-07-31

Families lack time and money

What Canadians say would improve family life for them.

Date posted: 2016-07-11

The disappearing third child

Why Canadian parents say no to three

Date posted: 2016-07-11

India's declining fertility

Population panic turns to concern about fertility problems.

Date posted: 2016-06-06

Do you wish you were a 1970's mum?

Birth rates are not recovering post-recession.

Date posted: 2016-06-05

The joy of siblings

Reflecting on changes to China's one child policy has often meant discussing the effects of a one-child family. Even after the recent change to a 'two child policy', Chinese couples overwhelmingly continue to choose to have only one child. The policy has become culturally engrained.

Date posted: 2016-04-30

More couples are 'living apart together'

America's largest demographic conference was held last week to discuss new demographic trends shaping the world. One research presentation focused on a new category called Living Apart Together" (LAT) is apparently emerging.

Date posted: 2016-04-13

CRISPR is a world - changing technology

Personally, my first reaction is to find this sort of technology unnatural and vaguely repellent. My second reaction is to distrust humankind with this kind of power given our penchant for often doing the wrong thing, especially when considering its potential application to human embryos rather than the farm animals and food we are talking about in this case.

Date posted: 2016-03-26

China's wife shortage

Millions of Chinese bachelors feel crippled by the pressure to find a wife in a country where there a few to be found.

Date posted: 2016-03-17

Mei Fong's 'One Child'

Mei Fong's recently released book One Child gives a harrowing insight into the continuing social cost of China's one child policy. An investigative journalist within China for many years, and of Chinese descent herself, throughout the book she touches on the unnatural destruction of family, the lack of dignity the policy afforded women (extending to downright brutality and late-term forced abortions), and the commodification of something as sacred as children.

Date posted: 2016-03-04

Will Japan bow to immigration pressure?

Japan has historically been wary of immigration, introducing foreign worker schemes to avoid it. The Japan Times has just published a five part series discussing the problems caused by the country's low birth rate and shrinking, ageing population, evidencing increasing concern for the country's plight.

Date posted: 2016-01-30

Talking about family 'not PC' according to Hungarian Prime Minister

In his opening address to the Budapest Demography Forum, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban insisted that the European Union cannot afford to rely on immigration to build its future instead of families and children, when family is the centre of human development.

Date posted: 2015-11-19

The best places in the world to die

Apparently the United Kingdom is the best place to die, followed by Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Belgium and Taiwan.

Date posted: 2015-10-18

Canadian seniors outnumber children for first time ever

The figures represent a fundamental and unprecendented shift from historic trends, and it remains to be seen whether Canada has done enough planning to deal with the challenges it will bring.

Date posted: 2015-10-18

Japan faces unprecedented population contraction in 2015 census

While we often point out the low fertility rates around the world, in most countries the size of the population isn't actually contracting - yet. However, that is not the case in Japan any longer.

Date posted: 2015-09-23

The joys of parenting

Apparently parenthood makes a person more unhappy than divorce, unemployment and even the death of a partner, according to a study published this month in the journal Demography. If this is what journals and papers around the world are headlining, it doesn't bode well for future birth rates.

Date posted: 2015-09-05

How our ageing population influences the economy

Our time of life affects they way we use our money - whether we are looking to borrow or whether we are looking to save, whether we want a safe investment with a guaranteed return, or whether we want to take a risk. As we all know, there are currently a lot more elderly people in the world than ever before.

Date posted: 2015-08-22

Women have not always lived longer than men

It turns out that women have not always lived longer than men. A new study supported by the United States National Institute on Aging reveals that the trend only began during the turn of the 20th century.

Date posted: 2015-08-01

The rise of the 'elder orphan

There are unprecedented numbers of childless and unmarried individuals among the aging Baby Boomer population, leading researchers to coin the new phrase 'elder orphans'.

Date posted: 2015-07-08

No one is winning from the world's lack of children

Claims the West is declining due to low fertility rates are exaggerated according to a new study by the University of Oxford. It is a hopeful finding.

Date posted: 2015-05-11

The EU has fewer and fewer children

Figures released by the European Union's statistics agency late last week show that the number of children aged less than 15 in the 28-member bloc decreased by 10 million over the last twenty years, and it is a trend that is set to continue.

Date posted: 2015-04-28

A reason for hope

On this day over 2 billion Christians around the world are celebrating Jesus' resurrection and the great joy and hope the Easter season brings. It is a hope which transcends world circumstances, such as the killing of Christians in Kenya, that we find ourselves struggling to comprehend.

Date posted: 2015-04-22

Russian demography deteriorates

Many are anxious that Putin be stopped both because of his questionable conduct towards his own people and his irreverence for international law. However, demography has a hold on Russia's future power which Putin in well aware of.

Date posted: 2015-04-22

Sex educators urge births

The sex educators preaching to our teenagers are beginning to realise that, if they want young people to view having babies in a positive light, they might have to change their focus from simply drumming home how not to get pregnant.

Date posted: 2015-04-22

A society working for a rich elite?

Debate stirred by International Women's Day has been thought-provoking. The media abounds with encouragement for women in CEO positions and strategies for how more could and should get there.

Date posted: 2015-04-07

Let's be neighbourly

Last week I watched a tragic news article about a block of Christchurch flats where, on two separate occasions within the last couple of years, a resident has died in their apartment and not been discovered for over a month. What does this say about interaction between neighbours and family support structures?

Date posted: 2015-04-07

More money in the bank means fewer babies

What is interesting is that fertility rates are lowest among women who are educated and receive higher incomes in many countries around the world.

Date posted: 2015-03-12

Google's glaring omission

March 8th was International Women's Day. In the words of the organisers, the day represents an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women, advance and appreciate them.

Date posted: 2015-03-12

Countries are fighting for working age population

There are outcries about immigration in a number of countries around the world. Yet the economic reality remains - most of those countries need more working age people. Will we soon see more competition amongst countries to entice the most attractive immigrant's from around the world?

Date posted: 2015-03-12

Improved economy not improving US fertility rates

Apparently many believed that the United States birth rate would recover once the economy does. However, now that the economy and average wages are indeed starting to go up, it seems that the fertility rate remains stubbornly low.

Date posted: 2015-02-27

Catholic family size confusion

There are some Catholics who need to be reassured that they are not compelled to keep on having children without regard to their circumstances - perhaps they misunderstand this teaching and the Pope wishes to clarify it in order to help and guide them.

Date posted: 2015-02-23

Retirement a distant dream for some

In many cultures children have traditionally been expected to look after their elderly parents. I think it is lovely tradition that it would be a shame to lose. However, more and more elderly people are finding themselves working long past traditional retirement ages, largely because there are fewer and fewer children to support them.

Date posted: 2015-01-19

What do we know about our aging world?

During the next 5 years, for the first time in history, the number of people in the world aged 65 years and older will outnumber children aged 5 years or younger.

Date posted: 2014-12-12

Should they be driven off the road?

Giving up driving takes away so much independence for an elderly person that it is no wonder many are very hesitant to give it up.

Date posted: 2014-12-10

Chinese journalist shocked at conditions for elderly

A visit to the hospice in China where her father was recently moved left her shocked at the conditions for those who did not have family to sit with and look after them, and worried about the dignity of the elderly in China in general - even more so given the increase in the elderly population to come.

Date posted: 2014-10-30

A renewed global focus on the rights of children

It is interesting that, once a child is born, family law principles all seem to boil down to "the well-being of the child". At least in theory. Yet, before birth, in conceiving children, society seems to place so much more weight on the adult's 'right' to that child at any cost or 'right' to be happy than on a child's well-being and natural need to have a stable family unit to fall back on.

Date posted: 2014-10-26

Australian academics moot trading in children

Two Australian legal academics have mooted the idea that, as emissions trading schemes are so in vogue, one way to reduce population growth is to include family planning in carbon markets.

Date posted: 2014-10-19

An aging prison population poses problems

Prisons around the world are fast finding that they need to learn to deal with older inmates - one more societal institution to be affected by the aging population.

Date posted: 2014-09-22

Dubai: a city over-run by males?

Dubai's gender imbalance is 'unnatural' according to a report released last week by the Dubai Statistics Centre. The statistics show that 75.77% of Dubai's population of approximately 2.2 million are men, and just 24.23% are women - second only to Qatar who has a higher gender imbalance still.

Date posted: 2014-09-14

South Koreans to become extinct by 2750

South Koreans will be extinct by 2750 if nothing is done to stop the nation's falling fertility rate, according to a recently released study by The National Assembly Research Service in Seoul.

Date posted: 2014-09-14

China's (pet) population rising fast

While human babies might not be increasing much in number in China despite the relaxation of the one child policy, pets are becoming much more prevalent.

Date posted: 2014-08-30

Will we all be African one day soon?

Will we all be African again one day soon? It's not as far-fetched as it sounds. There has been an unprecedented demographic shift this century towards an increasingly African world.

Date posted: 2014-08-30

Moody's warns investors: Aging to reduce economic growth worldwide

The Moody's Global Credit Research Team, which regularly prepares reports for investors and finance firms, warned investors this month in a special report that 'the unprecedented pace of aging' will slow economic growth over the next 20 years worldwide.

Date posted: 2014-08-16

Chinese 'baby boom' yet to materialise

When China relaxed its one child policy late last year onlookers around the world expected a cultural shift. The Chinese government and investors predicted a baby boom, with government officials making the application process cumbersome lest too many people apply at once.

Date posted: 2014-08-16

New Zealand among most ethnically diverse countries

New Zealand has a uniquely ethnically diverse society, according to a recently released New Zealand demographical report. I was surprised to learn that as many as one in four people living in New Zealand in 2013 was born in another country. In fact, Auckland (New Zealand's largest city) is one the most immigrant-dependent cities in the world, with 39 percent of Aucklanders born overseas.

Date posted: 2014-07-23

Japan faces pilot shortage

The latest demographic news from Japan is good news for pilots, but bad news for travellers. Thousands of flights in Japan could be cancelled this summer because the country's rapidly aging population has led to a nationwide shortage of pilots.

Date posted: 2014-07-22

American Dream merely a fantasy

Are rags-to-riches stories really the birth-right of every American? Maybe not.

Date posted: 2014-06-25

Iran's 14 point plan for population growth

It is a new reality around the world that fertility is a government issue and children must now be encouraged in case we end up with none at all in generations to come (or not come).

Date posted: 2014-06-08

Japanese panel proposes urgent measures

Japan is finally starting to sit up and take notice of its fertility dilemma. Adding to our discussion of Japan recently on the blog, a Japanese government panel investigating solutions to the problem released its proposals on Tuesday this week.

Date posted: 2014-05-21

Rare footage of a birth control pioneer

A newsreel archive company has recently uploaded 85,000 historic films made between 1896 and 1976 onto Youtube (under than name British Pathe if you want to check them out. One in particular relates to demography.

Date posted: 2014-05-04

Why you shouldn't take alarmist population predictions seriously

Caring about the environment, caring about people and encouraging new life can and should go hand in hand. Sadly, that is not always the way passionate environmentalists view things.

Date posted: 2014-04-21

The dependent generation

Shockingly, almost half of Europe's young adults still live with their parents, despite the fact that they are likely more highly educated than them. This record level of dependency has both social and demographic implications.

Date posted: 2014-04-06

Elderly population spurs small business

At a time when health systems the world over are grappling with a higher proportion of older people in the face of demographic change and increasing costs, baby boomers are stepping in to fill some of the gaps.

Date posted: 2014-04-06

"Generation Maybe"

Are today's 30-somethings commitment phobes? In his recent book German author, Oliver Jeges, certainly paints this portrait of his peers, going so far as to call them "Generation Maybe". He claims that his generation is indecisive about faith, relationships, work, diet, values and ideology. Drowning in a world of freedom and a myriad of choices, they flit between possibilities unsure where to settle.

Date posted: 2014-04-06

Fertility treatment pioneer calls for cautionFood keeping pace with population

The renowned Lord Winston of Hammersmith is in New Zealand at the moment visiting schools to educate students about infertility and the dangers of waiting too long to have children.

Date posted: 2014-03-20

Food keeping pace with population

Many people have a vague idea that too many people could have something to do with the existence of hunger in the world. This is often used as an argument for population control.

Date posted: 2014-03-20

Rwanda twenty years on

I was interested to see how Rwanda is doing demographically almost exactly twenty years on from the genocide which occurred in 1994. During that time over 800,000 members of the Tutsi ethnic group were killed by their Hutu neighbours and Hutu moderates were also eliminated in the killing spree which left a third of the country's population either dead or in refugee camps abroad.

Date posted: 2014-03-20

When to bite the bullet and have a baby

Statistics released this week show that women in New Zealand between the ages of 35 and 39 are having more babies than women aged 20 - 24 for the first time. In fact, the average age of first time mothers in New Zealand is now one of the highest in the developed world. The number of babies born in 2013 in New Zealand was also the lowest number since 2003, down 4% from 2012.

Date posted: 2014-03-03

Demography on campus

Demographic issues are increasingly being recognised as important around the world.

Date posted: 2014-03-03

How to maintain the brains of aging employees

More companies are investing in their employees' health as the workforce ages. Germany's main rail service, Deutsche Bahn, is one such company that is embracing - or at least accepting - demographic change and an aging workforce. It wants to keep its experienced workers until they are over 65, so is taking active steps to do so.

Date posted: 2014-03-03

Fewer siblings changes personality

It has long been known that birth order affects personality to some extent.

Date posted: 2014-03-03

Chief medical officer warns British women

The British government's chief medical officer has recently warned women that they may remain childless if they leave having children too late, once again stirring the debate about the rising age of mothers.

Date posted: 2014-03-03

Some go hungry, while others are obese

One in eight people go to bed hungry according to the latest figures. That's more than 840 million people every day, despite the fact that enough food is produced to go around.

Date posted: 2014-01-20

More governments are worried about fertility rates

A recent United Nations fertility report collates some interesting statistics about the fertility of the world as a whole. Put simply, - and no surprises here - it finds that the developed world is not reproducing at the rate necessary to ensure the replacement of generations.

Date posted: 2014-01-19

Study show complementarity of men and women's brains

A new brain connectivity study published last week has found that men and women's brains really are wired differently - surely something that is already clear to anyone who lives, works or generally associates with both men and women?

Date posted: 2013-12-22

The social cost of no siblings

It was recently announced that China's one child policy will be relaxed. Families are to be allowed a second child if at least one parent is an only child. Currently, only families with two only-child parents are allowed to have two babies.

Date posted: 2013-12-22

Roma migrants increase fear of immigration in the UK

Fear and contempt is increasingly the way the ever more marginalised Roma are viewed in Europe. Some argue that the two trends are worrying and mutually reinforcing: marginalisation breeds contempt, and vice versa, and that the only escape from this trap is to invest in the education of the Roma people.

Date posted: 2013-12-04

South Korean women say no to babies

Despite enticing incentives from the government, South Korean women struggle with the choice to leave their careers to raise children. The modern South Korean woman is ambitious. She has worked hard for her career and is hesitant to give it up.

Date posted: 2013-11-10

The secret to never-ending life still not found

The demographic story we usually hear is one of people living longer and longer and more people than ever blowing out 100 birthday candles. However, a new study in the United Kingdom has found that this may not actually be forever the case.

Date posted: 2013-10-22

Increasing urbanisation in New Zealand

The results of New Zealand's first census in seven years (it is usually every five years but was postponed due to the Christchurch earthquake) have been awaited with anticipation for some time now. The results show a significant shift in population from the provinces to the country's largest city, Auckland.

Date posted: 2013-10-22

Will demography mean the United Kingdom soon overtakes Germany?

Changing demography is affecting economies around the world, and we could see a shift in the power of the world's major players over the next few years. Broadly speaking, the winners will be those who have enough people in their work forces. That means fertility rates above replacement level and immigration which is higher than emigration.

Date posted: 2013-10-22

We need to plan now for the ageing

For the first time in history, by the year 2050 people over 60 will outnumber children under the age of 15. Is the world ready for this massive demographic change? A recently released United Nations report suggests not.

Date posted: 2013-10-22