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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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population

Here Comes the COVID-19 Baby Bust

By now, the pandemic has disrupted Americans’ daily lives for nearly as long as a baby typically spends in the womb. This means that many children conceived in mid-March are weeks away from joining us in this disorienting new world, but just as notable are the children who won’t be joining us—the babies who would have been born were it not for the ongoing economic and public-health crises. These missing births, which could end up numbering in the hundreds of thousands in the U.S., will make up what’s been called the ‘COVID baby bust.’ The U.S. could have hundreds of thousands of fewer births next year than it would have in the absence of a pandemic.” SOURCE: The Atlantic

Changes in birth rates can have so many explanations because the the reasons for starting (or not starting) a family can be incredibly personal; part of that complexity requires that we recognize that those choices made by individuals are made within the economic, cultural, and political context of the places that they live. The pandemic has has obviously reshaped people’s plans about so many things in their life–including whether to have children, or when to have children.

GeoEd Tags: declining population, population.

India’s Surging Pollution Problem

As winter approaches each year, a haze of toxic smog envelopes vast swaths of northern India, including the capital New Delhi, forcing authorities to shut schools and restrict the use of private vehicles. Unlike southern parts of the country, most arid regions of northern India, including New Delhi, struggle with dust, a common air pollutant. Environmental experts say New Delhi’s topography hobbles efforts by authorities to stave off the spike in pollution. In recent years, the problem has been exacerbated by the burning of crop residues in Punjab and Haryana states, part of the farm belt that borders New Delhi. Relatively prosperous farmers from Punjab and Haryana, India’s grain bowl, have started using mechanised harvesters to gather the rice crop, partly to overcome the problem of rising labour costs.” SOURCE: Al Jazeera

Mexico City has a reputation for horrible air pollution–and rightfully so–but Delhi’s air pollution is worse and this year it is off the charts. Much of India faces air pollution problems, but northern India, and especially Delhi sees the convergence of urban, agricultural, demographic, and environmental factors to exacerbate the problems. Geographic problems are often intertwined and is a good issue to use a S.P.E.E.D. or E.S.P.N. activity.

GeoEd Tags: urban, agriculture, population, environment, pollution, South Asia, India.

Refugees in a New Home

An Eritrean family reunited in Providence, RI.

Usually when we are talking about refugee topics, we think about it the immediate problems in refugee camps and the conclusion of all these problems will be resettlement of the refugees to a safer place…or so we think.  I love this video for so many reasons, but especially because it concentrates on the many obstacles confronting refugees AFTER they are resettled in a new country.  This documentary, Home Across Lands (FULL 1-hour version available here. The 8-minute version is available on Vimeo) was produced a little over 10 years ago by a Pawtucket, Rhode Island-based film company. This film is an intensely local portrayal of the many difficulties for refugees in a new country. Many haven’t heard about Eritreans refugee camps in Ethiopia, but this article from the Irish Times will give some context on the issue.

Questions to Ponder:

1-Why did so many of the Kumana need to leave Eritrea?    

2-What were the economic difficulties of living in the Shimelba refugee camp?

3-What are some some of the political/legal challenges for refugees in a refugee camp?

3-What are some of the cultural struggles for refugees upon arriving to the United States?

4-What are some of the economic difficulties for refugees upon arriving to the United States?

5-How does the fact of refugees leaving impact their original homeland and it’s culture? How does the fact of refugees arriving to a new place impact their new home?

GeoEd Tags: RhodeIsland, refugees, population, migration.

The water tap at the Shimelba refugee camp

Do we really live longer than our ancestors?

The wonders of modern medicine and nutrition make it easy to believe we enjoy longer lives than at any time in human history, but we may not be that special after all.” SOURCE: BBC

This BBC article explores many of our assumptions about demographic issues before statistics were recorded.  This article especially looks at the notion that our life span has been increasing throughout history.  This would be a good article to get some background information about stage 1 of the demographic transition.  In a nutshell, the article’s premise is that just because life expectancy is increasing, it does not mean that our lifespan is the main reason.  The main reason life expectancy has improved is that more children are surviving their early years not because we have extended the lifespan of elderly so much.

GeoEd Tags: medical, population, statistics, mortality.

Using the National Atlas of Korea in the APHG classroom

Global fertility rates have been steadily dropping since 1960 and South Korea is probably the best example to use to discuss the rapid shifts in this trend (Bloomberg article “The Global Fertility Crisis” and NY Times article “End of Babies” are a good global overview that came out recently).  Above is the 2019 NCGE presentation that shows how to use the National Atlas of Korea in the APHG classroom using population as the prime case study (here are the powerpoint, slideshare, and PDF version).  Below is a post previously published here with supplemental resources on this exact topic for greater context.

South Korea is the world’s first country to have a total fertility rate below 1 (in 2019, it dropped to 0.98). It may not be the largest population of the 86 declining populations (114 countries have TFRs above replacement level), but it makes for an incredibly important case-study to explore emerging demographic patterns because in the coming years, it probably won’t be the only country with a TFR below 1.

Korea Pyramid
Population pyramid from the National Atlas of Korea

South Korean governments at multiple levels have implemented some pro-natalist policies (tax-benefits, cash incentives, maternity leave, paternity leave, etc.), and the TFR continues to drop. The economic reasons for this demographic decline make it a textbook example of a highly-developed economy where raising children is very expensive in a post-industrial, overwhelmingly urban context. However, I think more time should be spend investigating the cultural patterns that led more and more young adults to either postpone child-rearing or skip it all together. In South Korea, as in other countries, marriages are becoming more infrequent, but the social stigma associated with raising a child out of wedlock remains very strong (only 2% of births are to unwedded mothers). Many women returning to the workforce find that child-care options are limited they struggle to find the same wages that they had before they started a family. Even before without children though, women in South Korea are confronted with the highest gender wage gap among OECD countries. As reported in the WSJ, “South Korea has a strong economy, fast internet—and a big gender gap.” Korean work culture expects long hours, after hours social gatherings, and other practices that make it difficult to workers, but especially women, to find a manageable balance between having a career and a family. Many corporations are reluctant to hire/promote/mentor women that might conceivably conceive and leave the company.

Korea Fert
South Korea’s declining fertility rates (source).

Today, many Korean families see having no children as the only way to survive/improve their quality on life given the economic and cultural context within which they are operating. The government has been pouring millions of dollars to reverse this pattern but the fertility rate continues to drop. The video below gives an introduction to the issue.

This video provides a more in-depth look into the issue (turn on the closed captioning)

GeoEd Tags: South Korea, declining population, population, gender, labor.

Good resources to understand South Korea’s Declining population:
National Atlas of Korea: Population Projections.
QZ: South Korea’s birth rate just crashed to a new alarming low
CityLab: South Korea is trying to boost its birth rate. It’s not working.

A slightly larger than average South Korean family

 

Migrants in the United States

FT_19.01.31_ForeignBornShare_ImmigrantshareofUS_2

” Nearly 14% of the U.S. population was born in another country, numbering more than 44 million people in 2017, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. This was the highest share of foreign-born people in the United States since 1910, when immigrants accounted for 14.7% of the American population. The record share was 14.8% in 1890, when 9.2 million immigrants lived in the United States.”  Source: Pew Research

The percentage of residents in the United States that are migrants (born in a country other than the United States) has been rising since the 1970.  This is much higher than the global average of 3.4%, but not surprising given how economic pull factors are reshaping global demographic patterns.  High-income countries attract more migrants; so the demographic impact on the global patterns of migrants is profound.  High-income countries have 14.1% of their residents coming from other countries, where middle and low-income countries average between 1 and 2% for their percentage of migrants in their populations.

Questions to Ponder: What are some of the demographic, economic, cultural, and political impacts of these statistics?  How might this impact certain regions?

Tags: migration, USA, population.

Best Case Study for Declining Populations? South Korea

South Korea is the world’s first country to have a total fertility rate below 1 (in 2019, it dropped to 0.98).  It may not be the largest population of the 86 declining populations (114 countries have TFRs above replacement level), but it makes for an incredibly important case-study to explore emerging demographic patterns because in the coming years, it probably won’t be the only country with a TFR below 1.

Korea Pyramid
Population pyramid from the National Atlas of Korea

South Korean governments at multiple levels have implemented some pro-natalist policies (tax-benefits, cash incentives, maternity leave, paternity leave, etc.), and the TFR continues to drop.  The economic reasons for this demographic decline make it a textbook example of a highly-developed economy where raising children is very expensive in a post-industrial, overwhelmingly urban context.  However, I think more time should be spend investigating the cultural patterns that led more and more young adults to either postpone child-rearing or skip it all together. In South Korea, as in other countries, marriages are becoming more infrequent, but the social stigma associated with raising a child out of wedlock remains very strong (only 2% of births are to unwedded mothers).  Many women returning to the workforce find that child-care options are limited they struggle to find the same wages that they had before they started a family.  Even before without children though, women in South Korea are confronted with the highest gender wage gap among OECD countries.  As reported in the WSJ, “South Korea has a strong economy, fast internet—and a big gender gap.” Korean work culture expects long hours, after hours social gatherings, and other practices that make it difficult to workers, but especially women, to find a manageable balance between having a career and a family.  Many corporations are reluctant to hire/promote/mentor women that might conceivably conceive and leave the company.

Korea Fert
South Korea’s declining fertility rates (source).

Today, many Korean families see having no children as the only way to survive/improve their quality on life given the economic and cultural context within which they are operating.  The government has been pouring millions of dollars to reverse this pattern but the fertility rate continues to drop.  The video below gives an introduction to the issue.

This video provides a more in-depth look into the issue (turn on the closed captioning)

GeoEd Tags: South Korea, declining population, population, gender, labor.

Good resources to understand South Korea’s Declining population:
National Atlas of Korea: Population Projections.
QZ: South Korea’s birth rate just crashed to a new alarming low
CityLab: South Korea is trying to boost its birth rate.  It’s not working.

A slightly larger than average South Korean family

The demographic time bomb that could hit America

“Japan’s demographic crisis provides some lessons for where America might be headed.”

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

This op-ed looks at the demographic trends of Japan’s declining population and tries to see what this might mean for the United States. 

Questions to Ponder: What are the cultural and economic forces that lead to a declining population? What are some of the difficulties that confront countries with declining populations? 

GeoEd Tags: declining population, population, USA, Japan.

Scoop.it Tags: declining populations, population, USA, Japan.

Why China Ended its One-Child Policy

"China has huge ambitions for the 21st century. But it’s demographic problems will be a significant challenge on the way there."

Source: www.youtube.com

I know that YOU know that China ended the One-Child Policy, but many incoming college freshman have a world view about population that is a generation behind on many of the current population trends.  This video discusses most of the APHG population topics using China as the world’s most important population case study–that makes this video excellent to show in a regional or human geography course.

 

GeoEd Tags: China, population, industry, development, statistics, economic, video, APHG.

Scoop.it TagsChina, population, industry, development, statistics, economic, video, APHG.  

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