The Futility of Annual Top 10 Predictions

In every recent year, a black swan event has made top 10 lists appear quaintly naive and unimaginative. Our list is probably no better.

This time of year, top 10 predictions are all the rage. These lists can be interesting and entertaining but how useful are they really?

This question goes to the heart of forecasting. How futile or how useful is an attempt to forecast the economy, or technology, or world events for the next twelve months? There are three answers. Read more

So You Want a Revolution

You say you want a revolution
Well you know
We’d all want to change the world.____ The Beatles (1968)

Apparently not. Not any more. Not everyone wants to change the world. To the Beatles in 1968, when young people aged less than 30 added up to 52% of the US population, it might have looked like everyone wanted a revolution and that a nascent movement had a deep reserve of younger cohorts ready to push for change. But the percentage of the population aged less than 30 today is only 39% and falling. If 39% vs. 52% does not look like a big difference, consider that 13% of the US population is equivalent to 42 million additional young people who would be among us, if the percentage was the same as in 1968. A quarter to a third (10 to 14 million) would be in their 20s. Read more

AP: Iran Urges Baby Boom

NASSER KARIMI writes at the ASSOCIATED PRESS:

Iran’s new message to parents: Get busy and have babies.

In a major reversal of once far-reaching family planning policies, authorities are now slashing its birth-control programs in an attempt to avoid an aging demographic similar to many Western countries that are struggling to keep up with state medical and social security costs.

The changes — announced in Iranian media last week — came after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described the country’s wide-ranging contraceptive services as “wrong.” The independent Shargh newspaper quoted Mohammad Esmail Motlaq, a Health Ministry official, as saying family planning programs have been cut from the budget for the current Iranian year, which began in March.

It’s still unclear, however, whether the high-level appeals for bigger families will translate into a new population spike. Iran’s economy is stumbling under a combination of international sanctions, inflation and double-digit unemployment. Many young people, particularly in Tehran and other large cities, are postponing marriage or keeping their families small because of the uncertainties. READ MORE.

Irans’ Population Reaches 75 Million

An article in the TEHRAN TIMES says that Iran’s population has reached 75 million.  Per UN estimates, Iran has one of the lowest fertility ratios in the world, 1.59 children per woman.

Article begins here:

TEHRAN – According to the final results of the 2011 National Population and Housing Census of Iran, the country’s population has reached 75,149,669 people, the director of the Statistical Center of Iran said on Tuesday.

According to the census data, men constitute 50.4 percent of the country’s population, and women account for 49.6 percent, Adel Azar told reporters.

He added that rural population constitutes 28.5 percent of the total population of the country, and urban population accounts for 71.4 percent. READ MORE.