THE DEMOGRAPHIC FATE OF intelligent SPECIES: October 2016

Friday, October 21, 2016

Spain's population to drop by 11% by 2050

Happily retired, no plan to conquer any New World
Without unexpected events, Spain is on course to lose 11% of its current population come the year 2050. In 34 years, its population will be much smaller and older. The Catholic family, full of kids, is no longer the rule in places like Spain or Italy. They now have, instead, among the lowest fertility rates on Earth.

Spain by 2050 will be a depopulated nation dominated by elderly and single people, according to a report that predicts the country will have lost 5.3 million inhabitants, or 11% of the current population, by the middle of the century.

Spain’s low birth rate and high life expectancy are seen as a demographic problem that the report, released by the national statistics office on Thursday, expects to become more entrenched.
While the fertility rate is predicted to rise slightly, from 1.33 to 1.38, births will fall overall because there will be fewer women of childbearing age. The average age at which Spanish women have their first child is expected to rise from 31.9 to 33 years.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

China's new 2-child rule won't lead to demographic boom

Did they fight for fewer and fewer descendants?
China's 2-child policy, introduced in 2015, is not likely to bring big changes to its population trajectory. Under the new policy, China's population is now projected to peak at 1.45 billion in 2029, instead of a 2023 peak of 1.4 billion if the one-child rule remained. Afterwards, at an estimated birthrate of 1.81 babies/woman, similar to that of the U.S. or Denmark, China will begin a slow and long demographic decline, like other East Asian nations. Although it was forced upon them at first, the Chinese have over time come to embrace the one-child family. Now that they are free to have two children, many will still deliberately choose to have only one, similarly to their Korean or Japanese neighbors. With China and India converging demographically with Western nations, the global demographic picture will be very different in 2116.

With 1.37 billion people, China currently has the world's largest population. It will peak at 1.45 billion in 2029, compared with a peak of 1.4 billion in 2023 if the "one-child" policy that restricted most urban couples to one child and rural couples to two if their first was a girl had continued, according to the study, published in the medical journal Lancet.
The study says it assumes that the total fertility rate, or births per woman, will rise from the current 2.01 in rural areas and 1.24 in urban areas to 2.15 and 1.67, respectively, in the next decade. That takes into account a lower socioeconomic level in rural areas and the fact that ethnic minorities are allowed three or more children. It estimates a combined total fertility rate of 1.81 in 2030.

Cai Yong, a demographer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who wasn't involved in the study, said he thought its total fertility rate projection of 1.81 in 2030 was "overly optimistic."

Lower fertility in China "is no longer a depressed result of restrictive policy," Cai said, adding that Chinese are likely to opt to pour their resources into just one "high quality" child instead of multiple children. They are also increasingly postponing or forgoing marriage and childbearing, he said.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The extremely low odds of us being the only civilization mean we are likely not alone.

How would the Kryptonians view this alien from Earth?
"The universe is a pretty big place. If it's just us, seems like an awful waste of space." by Carl Sagan.

If there was only us in the whole history of the universe, the probability would be less than one in 10 billion trillion. That is less than 1/1000000000000000000000000. Billions of trillions of stars exist only for us to follow the Kardashians? Seems like a pretty weird plan from the Big (wo)man upstairs. Or there's no such plan at all? And civilizations are all around us, in both space and time? Blooming and fading like wildflowers?

Using this method, Frank and Sullivan calculated how unlikely life would be if there has never been another example of intelligent life among the universe’s twenty billion trillion stars, or even among just our own Milky Way galaxy’s hundred billion.

The results? Less than one in ten billion trillion. "To me, this implies that other intelligent, technology producing species very likely have evolved before us," said Frank. And when the equation is scaled down to include just our galaxy, the numbers are not as extreme.

However, the universe is more than 13 billion years old. "That means that even if there have been a thousand civilizations in our own galaxy, if they live only as long as we have been around -- roughly ten thousand years — then all of them are likely already extinct," explained Sullivan. "And others won't evolve until we are long gone."

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

One million immigrants are still not enough to turn Germany's demography around.

If only more could sing the Internationale!
Welcoming a number of refugees like in 2015 and prime minister Merkel is now close to losing her seat. Yet that many may still, technically, not be enough to turn Germany's demography around. Can many more be realistically brought in under a democratic regime, where a big part of the already present population will use votes to defend their interests? And immigration would only delay the aging problem for a while, until the immigrants' children become locals, with local reproductive patterns. Or should Germany go the way of Japan where, instead of immigration, they are building robotic exo-skeletons to help 70-years-olds jogging around? Immigration could be a good idea for individual nations, yet it won't work on the planetary scale half a century from now, when the likes of Mexico, India... will have also aged. Unless we allow in some E.T. immigrants?

While the record number of migrants entering the country will slightly increase the population, not even a million migrants will reverse Germany’s long-term population decline. Olga Poetzsch, a spokesperson for the Federal Statistics Office, said that a look at the past shows that phases of high net immigration to Germany are usually followed by sharp drops.
The latest population projections still predict a long-term shrinkage, for two reasons, says Poetzsch. The large cohort of “baby boomers” (those born between 1955 and 1965, approximately) will start to die off, pushing annual deaths above one million. At the same time, the number of women of child-bearing age will decrease. Even if the birth rate jumped from 1.4 to 1.6 children per woman, overall births would still decline in the long term.

“Developments in fertility and mortality that might prevent such high numbers for the deficit of births are currently not in sight,” Poetzsch adds.

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