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July 2012 Volume 19 Number 3
Global: Remittances, Polls, Population
Remittances. Remittances to developing countries, which reached $372 billion in 2011, more than official development aid and foreign direct investment, are expected to rise more in 2012. Remittances rose fourfold between 2000 and 2011, and are poised to continue increasing at double digit rates.<< back
India received $64 billion in remittances in 2012, followed by China, $62 billion; Mexico, $24 billion; and the Philippines, $23 billion.
Polls. Gallup, which conducted polls in 150 countries between 2009 and 2011, reported that 13 percent of the world's adults, some 640 million people, would like to emigrate. Almost a quarter of these potential migrants, 150 million, would like to move to the US, led by 22 million Chinese, 15 million Nigerians, and 10 million Indians.
Population. The world's population, 7.1 billion in 2012, is growing by 1.2 percent or 85 million a year. Poverty and population growth go together; most of the world's population growth occurs in the poorest countries.
The world's population was 1.6 billion in 1900 and 6.1 billion in 2000. There are several reasons for rapid 20th century population growth, among them death rates that fell faster than birth rates due to public health improvements. During the 1960s, population growth rates in Kenya and Pakistan topped four percent a year.
Fertility has declined only marginally in countries such as Uganda, where women had an average of seven children in the 1970s. With 35 million people, Uganda has a million births a year, twice as many as Germany, which has 82 million residents.
The total fertility rate (TFR) is the average number of children a woman would have if fertility at a point in time remains constant over her lifetime. For example, if the TFR is 2.1, the population of a country will be stable. The UN used fertility levels between 2005 and 2010 as the base for making population projections. It assumed that TFR in developing countries would decline, so that their population would grow from about six billion today to eight billion in 2050 and 8.8 billion in 2100.
If, on the other hand, fertility rates in developing countries remain at today's levels, the population of today's developing countries would be almost 10 billion in 2050 and 26 billion in 2100, highlighting the importance of the declining fertility assumption. However, fertility remains high in many sub-Saharan countries, including population giants such as Nigeria, where women average almost six children and many prefer large families. Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, has a population of 167 million that is expected to double by 2050.
Fertility has declined much faster in many developing countries recently than in today's industrial countries. For example, US women had an average seven children each in 1800, and it took until 1930 for fertility to decline to 2.1. In Bangladesh, by contrast, fertility declined from about seven children per woman in 1970 to less than three by 2005.
How many people have ever lived on earth? There is no way to answer this question, but demographer Carl Haub uses reasonable assumptions to suggest that the answer may be about 107 billion people born on earth, including 7.1 billion alive today. One reason for the large number of births is that many babies died; by some estimates, half of babies born died in Iron Age France.
There were perhaps 300 million people on earth in 1AD, including perhaps 45 million in the Roman Empire. By 1650, the world's population was about 500 million and by 1800 one billion (www.prb.org/Articles/2002/HowManyPeopleHaveEverLivedonEarth.aspx).
The demographic dividend combines population dynamics and economic development to suggest that developing economies can achieve a powerful economic boost when fertility declines, reducing the number of children and thus dependency and freeing more women to work. If local and foreign investment creates jobs, the result can be an economic surge that pushes economic growth toward 10 percent a year, as in Asian Tiger economies.
The key age group includes those 15 to 29, the so-called youth bulge. If women in this age group have fewer children than their mothers, more can work for wages, providing a demographic dividend that can fuel economic growth. However, if those in the youth bulge cannot find jobs, and fertility remains high, there is the potential for conflict from frustrated youth.
South Korea provides an example of a demographic dividend. Per capita income rose about six percent a year between 1965 and 1990 as fertility declined from six children per woman to two. By 1980, half of the Korean work force was between 15 and 29, and the dependency ratio fell from 80 per 100 workers to 60.
ILO. Guy Ryder, director of ILO's international labor standards and fundamental principles and rights at work, will become ILO director general in October 2012.