China Think Tank Calls for End to One-Child Policy

JOSH CHIN writes in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL:

With China preparing to usher in new leaders, the drumbeat of semi-official support for reform of the country’s controversial family planning policies continues to grow.

In the most recent development, a think tank affiliated with China’s State Council issued a report saying the country should start loosening one-child restrictions in areas where controls have been strictest as a prelude to eventually doing away with child limits altogether. READ MORE.

CNBC: Governments Organize Matchmaking as Asia’s Birth Rates Fall

Several Asian countries have come up with special programs and innovative ways of encouraging people to get married and have more kids.

RAJESHNI NAIDU-GHELANI writes at CNBC:

For Singapore citizen Kelly Ang, 25, who married a year ago, having a baby is not a top priority. The public relations professional, who works 11 hours a day, said she has no time to raise a family.

“At the moment I think it is difficult if I were to hold my current job and have a child too,” Ang said. “The work-life balance is something that would be a deterrent.”

Ang is one of many young people across Asia whose decision to put off having children is worrying their governments. From Taiwan to Singapore, authorities are stepping in to organize speed dating and other matchmaking events in a desperate attempt to stem falling birth rates. READ MORE.

What’s Holding Back Affordable Housing in India?

The demand is huge but poor infrastructure, antiquated business models, government bureaucracy and lack of financing are all impediments.

From KNOWLEDGE@WHARTON:

When real estate developer Xrbia recently launched a 170-acre housing project in Hinjwadi, a suburb on the outskirts of Pune in Maharashtra, all the 3,400 apartment units were sold within a week. The biggest unit in this apartment complex was 550 square feet and the smallest was close to 250 square feet. The units were priced at Rs. 22 lakh (around US$40,000) and Rs. 9 lakh (US$ 16,000) respectively.

Pointing to the quick sale of these homes, Rajesh Krishnan, managing director and CEO of Brick Eagle, a Mumbai-based land banking firm that acquires land and promotes affordable housing in partnership with developers, says: “In a way, this shows the demand-supply gap [in the affordable housing segment in India]. People physically queue up under the sun to apply for allotment of these houses.” He considers affordable housing in India to be homes that cost less than US$40,000. READ MORE.

India: Three Million Girls are ‘Missing’

From BUSINESS STANDARD (INDIA):

In an alarming trend, the decline in girl child numbers in India has been sharper than the male children in the decade 2001-11, leading to a skewed child sex ratio.

While the decade saw an overall drop in share of children to total population, nearly three million girls, one million more than boys, are “missing” in 2011 compared to 2001 and there are now 48 fewer girls per 1,000 boys than there were in 1981, according to a a government study.

“During 2001-2011, the share of children to total population has declined and the decline was sharper for female children than male children in the age group 0-6 years,” said the study “Children in India 2012-A Statistical Appraisal” conducted by the Central Statistical Organisation.

According to the report, female child population in the age group of 0-6 year was 78.83 million in 2001 which declined to 75.84 million in 2011.

The population of girl child was 15.88 per cent of the total female population of 496.5 million in 2001, which declined to 12.9 per cent of total number of 586.47 million women in 2011.  READ MORE.

India’s Aging Population Vulnerable to Infectious Diseases

SOHINI DAS reports in the BUSINESS STANDARD:

As a large number of India’s population moves towards the 50 plus bracket, The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Report 2012 shows that in the absence of proper healthcare infrastructure and adult vaccination programmes, the elderly population in the country are highly vulnerable to infectious diseases.

India’s population is undergoing a dramatic transition, the report says adding that the proportion of older people is expected to rise three- to four-fold in the next 40 years. India’s population of people aged 65 and over will be second only to China’s. Even conservative estimates predict that the number of people aged 60 and over will reach 323 million by 2050. By then, people in their fifties are expected to account for 30% of the population, while those in their sixties will make up 20%. READ MORE.

Ex-Apple Boss Tackles Poverty in India with Mobile Technology

NAOMI CANTON writes at CNN.COM:

In Juanga, India, a village of less than 3,000 inhabitants, the adults typically work as farmers on small plots of land earning less than $2 a day. They live in extended families in two or three roomed bamboo thatched mud huts, surviving on rice and dahl.

Unable to see the value of education, the parents typically take their children out of school before they turn 16 to earn money. Women frequently deny themselves trips to health clinics and they lack knowledge of basic preventative healthcare measures.

They also lack basics such as drinking water, electricity, food, healthcare and infrastructure, but cell phone towers are often ubiquitous.

One American non-profit organization is using this proliferation of phone masts to bring empowering mobile technology to these destitute villagers. READ MORE.

 

Japan Times: Population of Tokyo to Drop by Half by 2100

Population forecasts are notoriously difficult and nonlinear. Nonetheless, Japan has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world and the Japan Times makes this dire projection today:

FROM THE JAPAN TIMES:

2100 will see Tokyo’s population standing at around 7.13 million — about half of what it is today — with 45.9 percent of those in the metropolis aged 65 or over, a group of academics and bureaucrats has concluded.

Tokyo’s population, which stood at 13.16 million in 2010, will peak at 13.35 million in 2020 before dropping by 45.8 percent from the 2010 census figure 88 years from now, the group, including seven academics and 10 metro government and municipal bureaucrats, said Sunday.

This means the 2100 population will be resemble that of 1940’s Japan, before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

“The number of people in their most productive years will decline, while local governments will face severe financial strains,” the group said in a statement. “So it will be crucial to take measures to turn around the falling birthrate and enhance social security measures for the elderly.”

READ MORE.

Population Growth in Bangladesh

ABDUL BAYES, a Professor of Economics at Jahangirnagar University, writes in the FINANCIAL EXPRESS:

Dr Abdul Mannan, a Senior Research Fellow of the Bangladesh Institute of Development (BIDS) scans through the demographic transition that Bangladesh has passed through over time. I would like to draw heavily on his observations. The historical trend of population growth rate in this country suggests that population almost doubled its size in 60 years for the first time. However, the second doubling took only 30 years – the population of 55.2 million in 1961 increased to 111.4 million in 1991. However, suffice it to say, population has almost doubled in 37 years for the third time from 76.4 million in 1974 to about 150 million in 2011. The demographic structure of Bangladesh’s population suggests that her population will continue to grow for decades to come even if replacement level of fertility is attained by the year 2051. This would be due to the population momentum inherent in the young age structure.

Population trends in Bangladesh from the beginning of 20th century seem to follow a clear pattern: READ MORE.

UN Says New Measures Needed to Address Asia Population Issues

RON CORBEN writes at VOICE OF AMERICA:

BANGKOK — The chief of the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) is calling for Asia governments to give higher priority to women’s development programs. Babatunde Osotimehin says countries should  address increasing population concerns with what he called “foresight and justice”.

Greater empowerment for women

U.N. Population Fund Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin is calling for greater empowerment of women and young girls to address issues of social inequality and to boost economies as women take up greater roles in development.

Before this week’s Asian Population conference in Bangkok, Osotimehin says empowering women would reduce violence against women and help boost economic and social development.  “Violence against women would reduce considerably, it would reduce the issues of teenage and early marriages, and it would reduce those things, which at this point in time are present in many parts of the world, particularly in this part of the world,” he said. READ MORE.

China Entering Demographic Danger Zone, BOJ Official Says

PATRICK HARRINGTON writes at BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK:

China is entering a “danger zone”where a financial crisis may become more likely because of increases in loans and property prices coinciding with an aging of the population, a Bank of Japan (8301) official said.

“If a demographic change, a property-price bubble, and a steep increase in loans coincide, then a financial crisis seems more likely,” BOJ Deputy Governor Kiyohiko Nishimura said in a speech for a conference in Sydney, posted on the central bank’s website today. “And China is now entering the danger zone.”

China is at risk of emulating crises in Japan in the 1990s and the U.S. in the 2000s, according to Nishimura, who cited a Chinese working-age population that is “close” to peaking as a proportion of the total. Demographic changes can provide fertile ground for “malign property bubbles” because of the effect on demand for real estate, he said. READ MORE.