Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
In the small town of Nagoro, population 35, one woman is trying to save her village from extinction by creating life-sized dolls for every inhabitant who either dies or moves away.
Japan has experienced rural to urban migration for decades now; simultaneously, Japan's fertility rates have dropped far below replacement level. While Tokyo is still bustling, small villages are shrinking to the point of disappearing. This is a haunting and yet touching tribute to these emerging ghost towns. It seems like a memorial to enshrine a sense of place before the memory of this place is forever eradicated--like a an earthen dam .
According to new Pew Research demographic projections, by 2050 there will be near parity between Muslims (2.8 billion, or 30% of the population) and Christians (2.9 billion, or 31%), possibly for the first time in history. Read more at http://pewrsr.ch/projections.
This video is a sneak peak at some of the statistical projections from the Pew Research Center on what the world of religion will look like in 2050. Here are the other highlights:
Animating the changing shape of the world population pyramid. For more multimedia content from The Economist visit our website: http://econ.st/1xqEZhX.
This is an incredibly powerful and remarkably well-done video by the Economist (see related article here) that is reminiscent of a TED-ED lesson on the importance and value of population pyramids. This video goes nicely with this article from the World Bank entitled "The End of the Population Pyramid" which highlights the demographic changes that will be reshaping global demographics in the next 50-100 years.
"In a paper published Thursday in Science, demographers from several universities and the United Nations Population Division conclude that instead of leveling off in the second half of the 21st century, as the UN predicted less than a decade ago, the world's population will continue to grow beyond 2100."
These articles from the Guardian and National Geographic were the first I'd heard of the new population projections for the future. For many years it was assumed that the global population would level out at around 9 billion; while that is still within the range of possibilities but these new projections indicate that it is much more likely that the total global population will be much higher than that. The geographic implications of this are far reaching.
"Although we seldom think about them this way, most American communities as they exist today were built for the spry and mobile. We've constructed millions of multi-story, single-family homes where the master bedroom is on the second floor, where the lawn outside requires weekly upkeep, where the mailbox is a stroll away. We've designed neighborhoods where everyday errands require a driver's license. We've planned whole cities where, if you don't have a car, it's not particularly easy to walk anywhere — especially not if you move gingerly.
This reality has been a fine one for a younger country. Those multi-story, single-family homes with broad lawns were great for Baby Boomers when they had young families. And car-dependent suburbs have been fine for residents with the means and mobility to drive everywhere. But as the Baby Boomers whose preferences drove a lot of these trends continue to age, it's becoming increasingly clear that the housing and communities we've built won't work very well for the old."
Population change is frequently a concern of city planners at the local level. This article shows that major demographic shifts are going to mean major changes in our patterns in our cities as we become a 'greying' society.
"There are 1.2 billion people between the ages of 15 and 24 in the world today — and that means that many countries have populations younger than ever before. Some believe that this 'youth bulge' helps fuel social unrest — particularly when combined with high levels of youth unemployment. Youth unemployment is a 'global time bomb,' as long as today’s millennials remain 'hampered by weak economies, discrimination, and inequality of opportunity.' The world’s 15 youngest countries are all in Africa. Of the continent’s 200 million young people, about 75 million are unemployed.
On the flip side, an aging population presents a different set of problems: Japan and Germany are tied for the world’s oldest countries, with median ages of 46.1. Germany’s declining birth rate might mean that its population will decrease by 19 percent, shrinking to 66 million by 2060. An aging population has a huge economic impact: in Germany, it has meant a labor shortage, leaving jobs unfilled."
The median age of a population call be a quite telling statistic--almost a surrogate for a population pyramid. I post this with a special attention to Sub-Saharan Africa; the youngest 15 countries in the world are all in Africa, one of the major demographic realities confronting African economies and politics. Here is a map with the median age of U.S. counties.
"For 75 years, Finland's expectant mothers have been given a box by the state. It's like a starter kit of clothes, sheets and toys that can even be used as a bed. And some say it helped Finland achieve one of the world's lowest infant mortality rates."
This is a fascinating article that can be a great case study to share with students to allow them to analyze the factors that can improve infant mortality rates. In Finland the government provided oversight to improve infant mortality rates, pre-natal care and promote good parenting in a way that has had tangible results.
Last night I had the pleasure of attending a tremendously entertaining and incredibly informative professional development evening at the APHG reading (that isn’t an easy combination to pull of either, and he did marvelously). Dr. James Johnson is a trained geographer teaching in the School of Business at the University of North Carolina. His talk, entitled “Disruptive Demographics: Implications for Global Competitiveness” (PDF file available here-- video of an earlier version is here) follows in a tradition of superb presentation at the reading; in 2012, Roger Downs gave a great professional development presentation on geographic expertise.
Demographic transformations are dramas in slow motion. America is in the midst of two right now. Our population is becoming majority non-white at the same time a record share is going gray.
The demographic shifts in the United States are transforming the cultural fabric of the country and this interactive feature from the Pew Research Center explores some of these changes. Interracial marriage, declining fertility rates, migration, economic opportunities and politics are just some of the issues that can be seen in these excellent populations pyramids, charts, videos and graphs.
This atlas shows how the population is changing - growing in some parts of the country, while shrinking in others. The maps show the entire United States by county, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2010 Census and Esri. How do things look in your neighborhood?
The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs produces easy-to-use population charts and graphs (including population pyramids). This image (courtesy of Hans Rosling) shows the impending changes on Brazilian society based on changing fertility rates. How is this chart an example of population momentum and of the Demographic Transition Model?
Hans Rosling explains a very common misunderstanding about the world. CC by www.gapminder.org
Radical Cartography, brought to you by Bill Rankin
I was recently reminded of the graph and thought is was worth sharing again. This is an excellent spatial graph that helps to explain the distribution of the human population. Why do we live where we live? The longitude map is still fascinating, but has less explanatory power. What would be brilliant is a graph that charted population by latitude (as this does) AND charts the amount of land at each given latitude. Click here for Frank Jacobs analysis on the "Strange Maps" blog.
Some countries are getting old. Others are staying young — and getting much bigger.
These time-lapse demographic charts help to visualize the impacts of the demographic transition principles on a society. In the GIFs of the United States and Japan for example, you can clearly see the baby boomer generation and the 'greying' processes respectively.
Don’t Panic – is a one-hour long documentary broadcasted on BBC on the 7th of November 2013.
The visualizations are based on original graphics and stories by Gapminder and the underlaying data-sources are listed here.
Hans’s — “All time favorite graph”, is an animating bubble chart linking health and wealth which you can interact with online here and download offline here.
Population growth in an important topic that is connected to economic development. If you've seen Hans Roslings TED talks, this is an hour-long version of many of the same concepts and data visualizations. His Gapminder data visualization tool, it is a must see for geography teachers to show the connections between population statistics and developmental patterns--let students see the data. This is an article that looks at a different factor, arguing that overpopulation isn't the real issue.
"CATHOLIC Argentina, Mexico & Phillippines have more babies born per woman than MUSLIM Indonesia, Iran & Turkey."
Gapminder is a tremendous resource that I've shared in the past and total fertility rates is an ideal metric to see in this data visualization tool. As Hans Rosling said in one of his TED talks using Gapminder, religion and total fertility rates are not as connected as previously thought. In this particular mode, you can see how three predominantly Catholic countries (Philippines, Argentina and Mexico) compare in Total Fertility Rates to three predominantly Muslim countries (Indonesia, Turkey and Iran).
Questions to Ponder: Historically many have assumed that Catholic and Muslim populations would have higher birth rates; why is this changing? How important a factor is religion in changing fertility rates? What are other factors impact a society's fertility rate?
"The world divided into 5 regions, each with the population of China."
This map from Amazing Maps (a great follow on Twitter) is a clever way to divide the world into 5 equal population regions. In many world regional courses, discussion of Asia might be 1/4 of the course content, while the "NATO and the Americas region" might be about half of the class. Also, think about "the World News" that you see on TV: how much coverage do each of these 5 regions receive? Why is our news coverage unevenly distributed?
This map would go together nicely with this one to show the demographic importance of South and East Asia.
The American birthrate is at a record low. What happens when having it all means not having children?
The demographic transition is an important model in human geography that explains many of the declining birth rates in the more developed parts of the world and the high fertility rates in less developed countries. This is often discussed within a demographic and economic context. This article from TIME Magazine struck quite a nerve recently. While it noted that from 2007 to 2011 the fertility rate dropped 9% in the United States, it wasn't the statistical analysis that got people talking (here is another article on the topic). What did strike a nerve was the discussion of the cultural shifts that are at the roots of this demographic decline, the cover picture that glamorizes a childfree life and a subtitle (when having it all means not having kids) that idealizes not having children. The demographic transition has what some call a 'cultural lag' where a large family size is still culturally preferred even if it no longer makes the same agricultural and economic sense as it did in the past. This piece demonstrates the new secularized 'post-cultural lag' values that see children as obstacles to preferable career paths and a limitation on their freedoms. For one commentator that was opposed to this article's cultural perspective see this article. While these pieces are decidedly not neutral on the subject, that is the point; opinions widely differ on the cultural impact of these demographic shifts.
"David Greene talks to writer Jeremy Miller about the American Centroid. That's the place where an imaginary, flat, weightless and rigid map of the U.S. would balance perfectly if all 300 million of us weighed the exact same."
Every 10 years the centroid (the center of U.S. population) is calculated using the latest census data. As the map above shows, the centroid has continued moved west throughout history, but in the last 60 years has moved to the south and west. The recent shift to the south coincides with the mass availability of air conditioning (among other factors) which opened up the Sun Belt. In this article in Orion Magazine, Jeremy Miller discusses the historical shifts in the spatial patterns of the U.S. population and the history of the centroid. you can listen to podcast versions of this article as well, one by NPR and a much more detailed one by Orion Magazine.
Questions to Ponder: Would the centroids of other countries be as mobile or predictable? Why or why not? What does the centroid tell us?
Deaths of white people outnumbered births for the very first time in US history, the Census Bureau revealed Thursday. The census predicts that significant drops in birth rates v death rates will be regular by 2025.
The United States as a whole does not have demographic numbers similar to European countries with declining populations...but 'white' America does. The NY Times also noted that this statistical benchmark happened, but it was quietly mentioned with many other demographic statistics without an analysis of how this will impact the United States.
Question to Ponder: how will this impact the United States in coming generations? What will the cultural, economic and political impacts be? Why explains the differents between the distinct populations in the United States?
|Suggested by Maria Fernandes|
The UN projects Kenya to grow older and healthier
This is a fabulous map---but is the statement true?
I present this map (hi-res) without any context to my students and ask the question: is this statement true? How can we ascertain the truthfulness of this claim? What fact would we need to gather? This exercise sharpens their critical thinking skills and harnesses the assorted bits of regional information that they already have, and helps them evaluate the statement.
The answers to these questions can be found here.
|Suggested by Tara Cohen|
| ~ Jonathan V. Last (author) More about this product |
What to Expect When No One's Expecting: America's Coming Demographic Disaster [Jonathan V. Last] on Amazon.com. *FREE* super saver shipping on qualifying offers. Look around you and think for a minute: Is America too crowded?