Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
The Industrial Revolution gets credit for kicking off the world's human population explosion, but new research suggests we should look further back.
“If you dig further in the past," Stutz told Emory University, "the data suggest that a critical threshold of political and economic organization set the stage around the start of the Common Era. The resulting political-economic balance was the tipping point for economies of scale: It created a range of opportunities enabling more people to get resources, form successful families, and generate enough capital to transfer to the next generation.”
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.
"If you think the United States is every immigrant's dream, reconsider. Sure, in absolute numbers, the U.S. is home to the most foreign-born people — 45.7 million in 2013. But relatively, it's upper-mid-pack as an immigrant nation. It ranks 65th worldwide in terms of percentage of population that is foreign-born, according to the U.N. report 'Trends in International Migrant Stock.' Whether tax havens and worker-hungry Gulf states, refugee sanctuaries or diverse, thriving economies, a host of nations are more immigrant-dense than the famed American melting pot. Immigrants make up more than a fourth (27.7 percent) of the land Down Under; two other settler nations, New Zealand and Canada, weigh in with 25.1 and 20.7 percent foreign-born, respectively. That's compared to 14.3 percent in the United States."
"The Sahel’s ability to produce food is not keeping pace with its growing population, and global warming will only exacerbate the imbalance, according to a new study. Among the 22 countries making up the arid region in northern Africa, the population grew to 471 million in 2010 from 367 million in 2000, a jump of nearly 30%. As the population grew rapidly, the production of crops remained essentially unchanged. Using satellite images to calculate annual crop production in the conflict-ridden Sahel belt, south of the Sahara desert, the researchers then compared output with population growth and food and fuel consumption."
"No one has found out how to help Denmark's falling birth rate. Until now. Spies Travels announces a competition where you have to make a baby to win."
Not all countries are concerned about overpopulation; Countries like Japan are in steep decline in terms of their population. Denmark is a country that is seeking to to encourage higher fertility rates (and this travel company is using this salacious ad to promote the it and themselves, but there is some actual demographic analysis in there). Singapore's National Night was another innovative campaign to boost fertility rates (warning: the video is provocative). Russia is also trying to boost fertility rates with a similar idea, but another major part of their strategy is to reaffirm traditional sexual norms in society.
Tag: declining populations.
"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.
"While 62 percent of the total U.S. population was classified as non-Hispanic white in 2013, when public schools start this fall their racial landscape will reflect a different America."
A new report new shows the changing demographics in American education and how it differs from that of the general population. 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. What are some of the reasons and what are some of the impacts?
Have you even wanted to explore an interactive map of the United States and be able to click on any neighborhood to see the local population age structure and compare that to the national, state or county data? If not, you don't know what you've been missing. This is a fantastic resource that lets you and your students explore the data AND ask spatial questions. It's definitely one that I'll add to my list of favorite resources.
"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.
Both Hispanics and Asians been among the fastest-growing racial/ethnic groups in recent years, but since 2010, number of Asians have increased at a faster rate.
It is often noted that the cultural composition of the United States is undergoing a shift, referred to by some as the "Browning of America." The story of Asian and Hispanic growth in the United States are occurring simultaneously, which makes many assume that they are growing for the same reasons. The data clearly shows that this is not the case.
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.
Similar to Iceland, Australia's population is also highly clustered.
Questions to Ponder: Why is Iceland's population so highly clustered? What is it about the red (and white) areas on the map that explain this pattern? What other layers of information do we need to properly contextualize this information?
"Population statistics are like crystal balls -- when examined closely, they can help predict a country's future (and give important clues about the past). Kim Preshoff explains how using a visual tool called a population pyramid helps policymakers and social scientists make sense of the statistics, using three different countries' pyramids as examples."
This is an incredibly powerful and remarkably well-done TED-ED lesson on the importance and value of population pyramids. This lesson goes nicely with this article fro 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.
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.
Birthrates are falling around the world. And that’s O.K.
Why do commentators, like Chicken Little, treat this worldwide trend as a disaster, even collective suicide? It could be because declines in fertility rates stir anxieties about power: national, military and economic, as well as sexual. In reality, slower population growth creates enormous possibilities for human flourishing. In an era of irreversible climate change and the lingering threat from nuclear weapons, it is simply not the case that population equals power, as so many leaders have believed throughout history. Lower fertility isn’t entirely a function of rising prosperity and secularism; it is nearly universal.
This op-ed from the New York Times provides excellent material for discussing demographic issues, especially regarding declining populations. Many countries do fear the demographic uncertainty and are actively encouraging pro-natalist policies (with salacious ads such as Singapore's National Night and a Travel agency's 'Do it for Denmark' campaign). The author of this article though, seeks to quell those fears.
"Only 2% of Australia's population lives in the yellow area. "
Questions to Ponder: Why is Australia's population so highly clustered? What is it about the yellow (and white) areas that explain this pattern? How does this map of rainfall add to our understanding? What other layers of information do we need to properly contextualize this information?
Just for fun, here is a Buzzfeed list that highlights the dangerous biogeography of Australia. Maybe this is why people aren't living in the yellow region.
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.