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  1. #1
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    Fun With Global Demography

    So I was playing around with data sets from the UN's World Population Prospects publication, 2012 ed., which is the sort of thing you do when you have no life or friends, and I thought I'd share some of my more interesting findings in case others are similarly handicapped.

    First, let's take a look at the list of states that are projected in 2100 to contain at least 1% of the total global population of approximately 10.8 billion people:

    1. India 1547m (14.3%)
    2. China 1086m (10%)
    3. Nigeria 914m (8.4%)
    4. United States 462m (4.3%)
    5. Indonesia 315m (2.9%)
    6. Tanzania 276m (2.5%)
    7. Pakistan 263m (2.4%)
    8. Congo 262m (2.4%)
    9. Ethiopia 243m (2.2%)
    10. Uganda 205m (1.9%)
    11. Niger 204m (1.9%)
    12. Brazil 195m (1.8%)
    13. Philippines 188m (1.7%)
    14. Bangladesh 182m (1.7%)
    15. Kenya 160m (1.5%)
    16. Mexico 140m (1.3%)
    17. Egypt 135m (1.2%)
    18. Zambia 124m (1.1%)
    19. Sudan 116m (1.1%)
    20. Mozambique 112m (1%)
    21. Iraq 106m (1%)
    22. Madagascar 105m (1%)

    There are several interesting things for us here. First of all: Nigeria being right up there with China. And actually, if you extend the projection a little further (to 2114, say, a nice round century) Nigeria may well overtake China as the world's second largest nation. As Keanu Reeves once said: woah.

    Of course, Nigeria may well not be around a century from now, having been nailed together from three distinct cultures for Britain's administrative convenience, and having never really gotten over it. So, that's one of the uncertainties we have to deal with in such projections. But actually it doesn't matter so much because -- surprise -- the Nigerian demographic miracle (or nightmare) turns out not to be confined to national borders. West Africa in general is absolutely exploding with people (as is the rest of the continent, more on that later) so whatever state structures do exist at the time are going to be home to an awful lot of people. Indeed, just as conceivable as national dissolution is a process of unification or expansion giving rise to an India-beating West African superstate.

    But impressive as Nigeria is, the greatest proportional increase relative to the global population distribution in 2014 actually belongs to neighbouring Niger, which more than sextuples its share of humanity from 0.3% (19m) in 2014 to 1.9% (204m) in 2100.

    At the other end of the scale, the most spectacular fall certainly belongs to China, which sees its share of global population decline from 19.2% in 2014 (1394m) to 10% by 2100 (1086m), losing its present #1 ranking in the process. Japan experiences the most severe proportional decline, more than halving its current 1.8% share of global population (rank #10) to a mere 0.8% and below the cut-off. Russia's decline is almost as steep and sees it just miss the 1% cut-off in 2100.

    More to follow at some point, depending on caffeine intake.
    Last edited by Lethe; 18-09-2014 at 07:04 PM.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus rockman29's Avatar
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    India needs to slow down on the fertility... jeebus. They can barely get food, water and electricity to the people they already have!

    And yes I always find it surprising just how many people Nigeria has... people don't commonly mention it when thinking of the world's most populated places.... but it's 3rd of all countries.

    P.S.

    USA at 462 million will be scary. That growth...

    Their fastest growing population is of Hispanics, which make up 50 million of US population now, 15% of their population.

    Also interestingly this or the next year is the first year in US schools (I think before college) that whites will not be a majority.
    Last edited by rockman29; 18-09-2014 at 08:21 PM.

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    In case you didn't notice the predominance of African nations in the above list: there is a predominance of African nations in the above list. Let's zoom out to the regional level to see what's going on.

    Undoubtedly the great demographic story of the 21st century is the rise of Africa -- not just West Africa as discussed earlier, but the entire continent. To be fair, this has been going on for a while now. In 1950, Africa was home to 9% of humanity (229m); today it's 15.7% (1138m), and by 2100 Africa's is projected to be home to 38.5% of humanity (4185m). A fourfold increase proportionally over 150 years -- 18-fold in absolute terms.

    Of course, if Africa is going up proportionally, then other regions must be going down. Taking the longer view, it's Europe* that is ceding the most ground. From being home to 21.8% of humanity in 1950, European representation has already more than halved to 10.3% today, and will decline still further to 5.9% by 2100.

    Consider the scale of that turn-around. In 1950 the population of Europe was nearly two and one-half times the size of Africa's. By 2100, Africa's population will be more than five and one-half times the size of Europe's.

    The other region ceding major ground to Africa is doing so only more recently: East Asia. From 26.4% in 1950, and 22.5% in 2014, East Asia's share of humanity almost halves to 11.6% by 2100.

    * Including Russia within the definition of Europe, but excluding Turkey.
    Last edited by Lethe; 19-09-2014 at 03:02 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman29 View Post
    India needs to slow down on the fertility... jeebus. They can barely get food, water and electricity to the people they already have!
    Actually, like pretty much everywhere else, Indian fertility has been going down for a long time now; going by the medium-series projections (which is what I'm using for all of these figures) India's population peaks in 2063 at 1645m people.

    Imagine if there'd been no partition. :o

    And yes I always find it surprising just how many people Nigeria has... people don't commonly mention it when thinking of the world's most populated places.... but it's 3rd of all countries.
    13th in 1950, 7th today, overtaking the United States for 3rd before 2050, and potentially overtaking China for 2nd around 2115 as the two nations (re)cross the big B heading in opposite directions!

    USA at 462 million will be scary. That growth...
    Yeah, US is still growing, but it isn't enough to prevent a continuing slight decline in proportional terms, from 6.2% of global population in 1950 to 4.5% today to 4.3% in 2100.
    Last edited by Lethe; 18-09-2014 at 08:35 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman29 View Post
    India needs to slow down on the fertility... jeebus. They can barely get food, water and electricity to the people they already have!
    Just a further update on this: according to India's country profile, the net reproduction rate* falls below replacement level (1.0) around 2025. Aided by a skewed sex ratio... =/

    * Copypasta: the net reproduction rate is expressed as number of daughters per woman and represents the average number of daughters a hypothetical cohort of women would have at the end of their reproductive period if they were subject during their whole lives to the fertility rates and the mortality rates of a given period.
    Last edited by Lethe; 18-09-2014 at 09:06 PM.

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    Could the reason why China is trailing be their lady deficit? They're like 50 million women short of equal pairs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    Could the reason why China is trailing be their lady deficit? They're like 50 million women short of equal pairs.
    Here's China's country profile. Doesn't include Hong Kong or Macau and therefore neither do the figures I've generated above #whatevs.

    A skewed sex ratio will certainly impair reproduction* relative to a hypothetical mirror image state with a balanced population, but I don't think it's a significant input in China's declining share of global population for the simple reason that a lot of other nations (including India) have the same problem of skewed sex ratios. Even China's one-child policy is overrated as the explanation. Above and beyond those influences, China is simply a highly visible example of a much broader trend of sub-replacement fertility that is spreading throughout Eurasia (with exceptions for immigrant societies such as UK & France and less developed nations in the Middle East/West Asia) and the world more broadly. Birth rates are declining faster in some societies than others, and this more-or-less corresponds with how developed they are, and therefore both how widespread the availability of contraception and abortion services, and how (dis)advantageous it is to have large families. Consider how expensive and time consuming it is to raise, educate, and generally prepare a child for life in the west today. You can pour 20 years into the little bastards before they even start paying off. When you've got a choice, and (probably) a pension down the track, it's no wonder nobody has kids anymore.


    * Actually there's an interesting story about this. The problem of skewed sex ratios is chiefly attributable to the recent innovation of being able to determine sex in utero via various technological means, chiefly ultrasound, coupled with cultural values and practices that lead parents to favour boys over girls. Enter the chiefly western-funded population control movement from the 1960s onwards. There's significant evidence that these institutions -- which include today's big names like Planned Parenthood -- knew that the adoption of their practices would generate skewed sex ratios in the developing societies in question. The general view was that it was unfortunate but acceptable side-effect in the ostensible task of rescuing the benighted peoples of the world from poverty. But at a certain point, especially when you start looking at what was done in Korea by the US military, you have to ask yourself what was really going on. For more on this subject, check out Mara Hvistendahl's book Unnatural Selection.
    Last edited by Lethe; 19-09-2014 at 02:58 AM.

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    Ok so I ran some numbers on the major European nations, which turned out to be quite interesting of themselves, but moreover revealed something I'd previously missed: the runner-up -- behind Japan -- for the greatest proportional decline amongst nations that currently (i.e. as of 2014) have at least 1% share of global population is in fact not Russia, but Germany. Let's see how it plays out:

    Europe 1950 (21.8%)
    Russia 103m (4.1%)
    Germany 70m (2.8%)
    United Kingdom 51m (2%)
    Italy 46m (1.8%)
    France 42m (1.7%)
    Ukraine 37m (1.5%)
    Spain 28m (1.1%)
    Poland 25m (1%)
    Turkey 21m (0.8%)*


    Europe 2014 (10.3%)
    Russia 142m (2%)
    Germany 83m (1.1%)
    Turkey 76m (1%)*
    France 65m (0.9%)
    United Kingdom 63m (0.9%)
    Italy 61m (0.8%)
    Spain 47m (0.6%)
    Ukraine 45m (0.6%)
    Poland 38m (0.5%)


    Europe 2100 (5.9%)
    Russia 102m (0.9%)
    Turkey 86m (0.8%)*
    France 79m (0.7%)
    United Kingdom 77m (0.7%)
    Germany 57m (0.5%)
    Italy 55m (0.5%)
    Spain 42m (0.4%)
    Poland 26m (0.2%)
    Ukraine 25m (0.2%)

    France is projected to overtake Germany's population around 2050, with the UK presumably following shortly thereafter. Of course most of the difference in the trajectories of UK/Fr and Gr is that the former two nations have much higher levels of immigration. These projections are therefore probably more sensitive than most to explicitly political developments.

    Another way to think of the European story: in 1950, eight European nations were each home to 1% or more of humanity, of 19 total to fit that category. Today the number is already down to three -- including one new entrant (Turkey) and two nations (Turkey and Russia) that are often not considered part of Europe -- and in any case will reduce to zero by 2100.

    * Figures for Turkey do not contribute to totals for Europe, being classified in the UN database under West Asia. Incidentally, it is interesting to note that Turkey's share of global population remains fairly stable -- it's the rest of Europe that changes around it.
    Last edited by Lethe; 19-09-2014 at 04:43 AM.

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus rockman29's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lethe View Post
    Just a further update on this: according to India's country profile, the net reproduction rate* falls below replacement level (1.0) around 2025. Aided by a skewed sex ratio... =/

    * Copypasta: the net reproduction rate is expressed as number of daughters per woman and represents the average number of daughters a hypothetical cohort of women would have at the end of their reproductive period if they were subject during their whole lives to the fertility rates and the mortality rates of a given period.
    That's good, they need fewer people! Lol.

    Also India has a female deficit also. I think the population is 53% male iirc from all the female infanticide.

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    The things I do for people! :P

    Crude Birth Rate is going to exaggerate the demographic difference between nations because, alas, nations with higher birth rates will tend to be lesser-developed nations having higher infant and child mortality rates and lower lifespans as well, and this is certainly the case for India. Still, the long-term trend is clear enough.

    I'd be curious to know what that massive drop in China's CBR from 1965-1975 followed by an increase over the next decade is all about.
    Last edited by Lethe; 19-09-2014 at 06:15 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lethe View Post
    I'd be curious to know what that massive drop in China's CBR from 1965-1975 followed by an increase over the next decade is all about.
    What makes it more strange is the fact that Chinas one-child policy was instituted in 1979.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    What makes it more strange is the fact that Chinas one-child policy was instituted in 1979.
    Sayeth Wikipedia:

    Between 1970 and 1980, the crude birth rate dropped from 33.4 per 1,000 to 18.2 per 1,000. The government attributed this dramatic decline in fertility to the wǎn xī shǎo ("晚、稀、少", or "late, long, few": later marriages, longer intervals between births, and fewer children) birth control campaign. However, elements of socioeconomic change, such as increased employment of women in both urban and rural areas and reduced infant mortality (a greater percentage of surviving children would tend to reduce demand for additional children), may have played some role. The birth rate increased in the 1980s to a level over 20 per 1,000, primarily as a result of a marked rise in marriages and first births. The rise was an indication of problems with the one-child policy of 1979.
    I tend to have more faith in the effect of structural economic developments than explicit government policies, but I've graphed a few other nations now and I've yet to find another that exhibits the sharp changes of China.
    Last edited by Lethe; 19-09-2014 at 09:12 AM.

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    Lesser Hivemind Node Harlander's Avatar
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    Is there any way to know how good those 2100 predictions will be? Presumably they're "barring unexpected huge catastrophe"-esque...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harlander View Post
    Is there any way to know how good those 2100 predictions will be? Presumably they're "barring unexpected huge catastrophe"-esque...
    If you have a time machine on hand, you can go check them out. ;)

    There is a large degree of uncertainty even within the parameters that are actively used to generate the projections. Taking into account all three projection series -- low, medium, and high fertility scenarios -- the publication predicts a world population in 2100 of somewhere between 6.7 and 16.7Bn. Nation-specific projections are going to exhibit even greater variability because the world population projection is immune to fluctuations in immigration/emigration rates.

    And that's before you get to all the stuff the projections can't and don't even try to predict like natural disasters, bio-engineered plagues, famines, reconfiguration of nation-states, rapid population displacement in response to e.g. water shortages, re-emergence of the Old Gods, etc.

    On the other side of the coin, these shifts are often worked so fundamentally into the fabric that they can roll right over events that we would regard as extraordinarily disruptive by the light of the daily news cycle. An illustration of this can be seen in how the population of Afghanistan, in stark defiance of all those Kalashnikovs and Predator drones, has increased by nearly 50% since the US invasion in 2001. Another thing to consider is that even if there is a great deal of uncertainty about the specific numbers involved, relational trends -- e.g. Nigeria/West Africa's rise relative to everywhere else -- will tend to be rather more stable. And it's those that tend to be more interesting anyway.
    Last edited by Lethe; 19-09-2014 at 10:01 AM.

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    Vox published some good charts about this topic a couple days ago:

    http://www.vox.com/2014/9/18/6412059...on-UN-forecast

    Yeah, I was a bit surprised by the coming African dominance (it may have more people than Asia by 2100.)

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    I'm glad I clicked on this thread. That is all. Thank you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt_W View Post
    Vox published some good charts about this topic a couple days ago:

    http://www.vox.com/2014/9/18/6412059...on-UN-forecast

    Yeah, I was a bit surprised by the coming African dominance (it may have more people than Asia by 2100.)
    Thanks for the link. I like how it talks about where different projections diverge, i.e. the underlying assumptions about trends in mortality rates, etc.

    Dependency ratios are another cool stat to look at, and something that really brings home how long-wave the forces that drive these developments are. To take two extreme examples, in 2010 Japan and Germany had 20 children (defined as age >15) for every 100 persons between 15-64 years of age. In contrast, Nigeria that same year had 82 children per 100 persons 15-64 years of age -- proportionally, four times as many. Those are the facts that will be unfolding over coming generations and which all but ensure that the basic shape of these projections will remain intact. It's not really about things that may or may not happen in the future, but rather the straightforward implications of what has gone before and what is the case right now.

    It occurred to me just now that this sort of big picture demography might be the quintessential example of Lord Acton's comments on the import of history: “… because the light that has guided us is still unquenched, and the causes that have carried us so far have not spent their power; because the story of the future is written in the past, and that which hath been is that which shall be."
    Last edited by Lethe; 20-09-2014 at 07:42 AM.

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    As I suspected, the great European-African reversal did not actually begin in 1950, although it certainly seems to have accelerated from that point. 1900 data obtained from previous UN publication:

    Africa 1900: 8.1%
    Africa 1950: 9%
    Africa 2014: 15.7%
    Africa 2100: 38.6%


    Europe 1900: 24.7%
    Europe 1950: 21.8%
    Europe 2014: 10.3%
    Europe 2100: 5.9%

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    Just some other vaguely related stuff I've been fiddling with:




  20. #20
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    About the military expenditure graph; it might be a good idea to include (or make another graph) showing the amount of money spent and not just GDP.

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