China Think Tank Calls for End to One-Child Policy


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.


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.

India: Three Million Girls are ‘Missing’


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.

Africa: Why Investing in Africa’s Youthful Population Can No Longer Wait

BUNMI MAKINWA, Director of the United Nations Population Fund – Africa, argues that “we need to recognise that the demographic dividend is no guarantee, and neither will it occur by itself. This is an opportunity that must be harnessed now for great gains in the future.”


The African Union’s ministers in charge of youth have underscored the need to harness the potential of the youthful population on the continent for its transformation. At the end of their two-day Conference in Addis Abba (12-14 Sept 2012), they tasked the AU Commission and the Economic Commission for Africa to identify policy recommendations for African governments in order to adequately address the challenges of young people.

This is a welcome development, and it’s heart-warming news.

Africa’s youth bulge

The notion of a demographic transition resulting in a youth bulge in Africa has been evident in the last 10 years. But it is gratifying that this is beginning to receive some attention among various policy makers on the continent. Ultimately, it should be the central focus of development strategy at the regional and national levels.

Currently, Africa is the most youthful continent in the world. At least 35 per cent of its more than one billion population is between the ages of 15 and 35. Experts estimate this could double by 2045.

In 2010 young people aged 15-24 years accounted for slightly more than 20 per cent of the total African population. In East and Southern Africa specifically, those aged between 10 and 24 years make up 32 per cent of the population of 125 million.


Ageing in the Twenty-First Century: A Celebration and A Challenge

A new report from the UN Population Fund and advocacy group HelpAge International,  Ageing in the 21st Century: a Celebration and a Challenge, deems that:

Population ageing is one of the most significant trends of the 21st century.

It has important and far-reaching implications for all aspects of society. Around the world, two persons celebrate their sixtieth birthday every second – an annual total of almost 58 million sixtieth birthdays. With one in nine persons in the world aged 60 years or over, projected to increase to one in five by 2050, population ageing is a phenomenon that can no longer be ignored.

Ageing in the Twenty-First Century: A Celebration and A Challenge analyses the current situation of older persons and reviews progress in policies and actions taken by governments and other stakeholders since the Second World Assembly on Ageing in implementing the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing to respond to the opportunities and challenges of an ageing world. It provides many inspiring examples of innovative programmes that successfully address ageing issues and the concerns of older persons.

The report identifies gaps and provides recommendations for the way forward to ensure a society for all ages in which both young and old are given the opportunity to contribute to development and share in its benefits. A unique feature of the report is a focus on the voices of older persons themselves, captured through consultations with older men and women around the world.

The report, which is the product of a collaboration of over twenty United Nations entities and major international organizations working in the area of population ageing, shows that important progress has been made by many countries in adopting new policies, strategies, plans and laws on ageing, but that much more needs to be done to fully implement the Madrid Plan and fulfil the potential of our ageing world.

Full Report: Ageing in the 21st Century: a Celebration and a Challenge 

England and Wales: Where are all the Babies?


The latest census release may be restating the figures we mapped back in July, but it includes one difference – the population of each local authority in England and Wales by single year of age. Which means we can look at where all the babies aged under one were in 2011, and where the big increases have been since the population estimates ten years earlier in 2001. It shows big increases across the two countries, except for 22 local authorities where the numbers of babies went down. And the biggest increases? London, the Midlands and the North. There’s lots of nuances in the data – what can you tell us about it? Click on a local authority to see the data – and use the dropdown menu.  SEE INTERACTIVE MAP.

Ex-Apple Boss Tackles Poverty in India with Mobile Technology


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.


Uganda: 1.2 Million Babies Born Yearly


THE population of Uganda has grown from 4.8 million people in 1950 to 33 million people as per UDHS (2011).

With the current rate of population growth of 3.2 per annum implies that about 1.2 million babies are born every year.

The country’s population is expected to double yet again in 22 years to 55 million people. If the current trend continues, it is projected that by 2050, Uganda will have 130 million people.  READ MORE.

UN Says New Measures Needed to Address Asia Population Issues


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.

12 African Countries End Seminar On Population and Development in China


A three week seminar on population and development for African Countries organized and sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce in China (MOFCOM) and executed by the China Training Center for Reproductive Health and Family Care (CTC) has ended in Beijing and Taicang cities in the People’s Republic of China.

The seminar was held from the 9th – 29th of July 2012. The participants of the seminar include about 12 African countries such as Liberia, Lesotho, Namibia, Botswana, Mauritius, Algeria, Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Zanzibar. The Liberian delegation includes, lawmaker Hon. Larry P. Younquoi, Madam Miatta K. Kiawu and Mr. Stevenson T. Seidi, Executive director and President of the Planned Parenthood Association of Liberia respectively.

According to a release, district eight(8) Representative of Nimba County and Chairman on the House Standing Committee on Planning and Economic Affairs, Hon. Larry P. Younquoi who headed the Liberian delegation also served as keynote speaker for the 2012 World Population Day which was celebrated by the Chinese Government in collaboration with the UNFPA in China. READ MORE.