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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘germany

[URBAN NOTE] Five links about cities, from past Toronto and Richmond to future NYC and Barcelona

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  • Scott Wheeler writes about past eminences of Toronto, people like Conn Smythe and Raymond Massey.
  • Joanna Slater writes in The Globe and Mail about the symbolism of Confederate–and other–statuary in Richmond, former capital of the South.
  • Reuters reports on a Vietnamese businessman abducted by his country from the streets of Berlin. Germany is unhappy.
  • Jeremiah Ross argues at VICE that very high levels of tourism in New York City are displacing native-born residents.
  • Looking to protests most recently in Barcelona, Elle Hunt in The Guardian looks at ways to make mass tourism more affordable for destinations.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • Anthrodendum considers the question of what, exactly, is the genre of ethnographic film.
  • Centauri Dreams features authors’ calls for a debate on METI, on sending messages to extraterrestrial intelligences.
  • The Crux reports on the continuing damage caused by the continuing eruptions of Indonesia’s mud volcano, Sidoarjo.
  • Imageo shares a cute time-lapse video from Hubble showing the motion of Phobos around Mars.
  • Language Hat responds to a newly-translated mid-19th century Russian novella, Nadezhda Khvoshchinskaya‘s 1861 novella Пансионерка (The Boarding School Girl).
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money has a depressing extended examination of Trump as reflecting structural crisis in the United States.
  • The LRB Blog looks at the genesis and continuing success of Nicaraguan Sign Language.
  • The Map Room Blog shares a satirical map of Washington D.C., defined by the names that its metro stations should have.
  • Ethan Siegel at Starts With A Bang lists the various worlds in our Solar System possibly hosting life, and notes how you could get an Earth-like world with wildly erratic seasons as in Game of Thrones.
  • Unicorn Booty notes that the German president has signed marriage equality into law. (Also, the country has good LGBT protections.)
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Putin is fine with an asymmetrical bilingualism in Russia’s republics, aimed against non-Russian languages.

[NEWS] Seven links, from drugs in Germany to dolphin cuisine to dual nations in Australia

  • Johann Hari writes for Open Democracy about what may be the beginning of the end of the drug war in Germany.
  • I am not in agreement with Joseph Couture’s argument in NOW Toronto that the Internet has ended gay communities. (Convince me.)
  • Samantha Edwards reports in NOW Toronto controversy regarding the Parkdale feminist street art event. Was it really intersectional?
  • James Cooray Smith wonders–or “wonders”–why some Doctor Who fans are so upset with a woman portraying the Doctor.
  • In MacLean’s, chief Perry Bellegarde argues that more Canadians should be concerned with the too-many deaths of young First Nations people in Thunder Bay.
  • The National Post tells the story of how Australian senator Larissa Walters had to unexpectedly resign her position on account of her Canadian birth.
  • Via James Nicoll, a paper claiming evidence of human presence in northern Australia, in Madjedbebe, 65k years ago.
  • National Geographic tells of the peculiar way some Gulf of Mexico dolphins prepare their catfish. Is it cultural, culinary even?

[URBAN NOTE] Four notes on changing cities from Germany, from Frankfurt to Hamburg to Berlin

  • Bloomberg’s Steven Arons and Gavin Finch observe that Brexit may let Frankfurt emerge as a truly global financial centre.
  • Der Spiegel‘s Alexander Smoltczyk describes how north German port Hamburg is starting to inch towards a bigger global role.
  • Deutsche Welle reports on how, after the G20 meeting, far-left and anarchist groups in Berlin are facing a crackdown.
  • Global News shares Joseph Nasr’s Reuters article reporting on the incomprehension of Arab refugees in Hamburg at that city’s G20 rioters. Why are they doing it?

Written by Randy McDonald

July 10, 2017 at 5:00 pm

[DM] On the recent fall in American fertility rates: Is this American convergence?

The Washington Post was just one of many news sources to note a recent report provided by the National Vital Statistics System of the Centers for Disease Control, “Births: Provisional Data for 2016” (PDF format). This report noted that not only had the absolute number of births fallen, but that the total fertility rate in 2016 was the lowest it had been in more than three decades: “The 2016 total fertility rate (TFR) for the United States was 1,818.0 births per 1,000 women, a decrease of 1% from the rate in 2015 (1,843.5) and the lowest TFR since 1984.” The Washington Post‘s Ariana Eunjung Cha noted that this fall was a consequence of a sharp fall in births among younger Americans not wholly compensated for by rising fertility rates in older populations.

According to provisional 2016 population data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday, the number of births fell 1 percent from a year earlier, bringing the general fertility rate to 62.0 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44. The trend is being driven by a decline in birthrates for teens and 20-somethings. The birthrate for women in their 30s and 40s increased — but not enough to make up for the lower numbers in their younger peers.

[. . .]

Those supposedly entitled young adults with fragile egos who live in their parents’ basements and hop from job-to-job — it turns out they’re also much less likely to have babies, at least so far. Some experts think millennials are just postponing parenthood while others fear they’re choosing not to have children at all.

Strobino is among those who is optimistic and sees hope in the data. She points out that the fall in birthrates in teens — an age when many pregnancies tend to be unplanned — is something we want and that the highest birthrates are now among women 25 to 34 years of age.

“What this is is a trend of women becoming more educated and more mature. I’m not sure that’s bad,” she explained.

Indeed, as fertility treatments have extended the age of childbearing, the birthrates among women who are age 40 to 44 are also rising.

Total fertility rates in the United States were last this low, as noted above, in 1984, after a decade where fertility rates had hovered around 1.8 children born per woman. The United States’ had sharply dropped to below-replacement fertility occurring in 1972, with a sharp increase to levels just short of replacement levels only occurring in the mid-1980s.

There has been much talk this past half-year about the end of American exceptionalism, or at least the end of a favourable sort of American exceptionalism. To the extent that fertility rates in the United States are falling, for instance, this may reflect convergence with the fertility rates prevalent in other highly developed societies. Gilles Pison’s Population and Societies study “Population trends in the United States and Europe: similarities and differences” observed that, although the United States and the European Union saw the same sorts of trends towards lower fertility rates and extended life expectancies, the European Union as a whole saw substantially lower birth rates and lower completed fertility.

The strong natural growth in the United States is due, in part, to high fertility: 2.05 children per woman on average, compared with 1.52 in the European Union. In this respect, it is not the low European level which stands out, but rather the high American level, since below-replacement fertility is now the norm in many industrialized countries (1.3 children per woman in Japan, for example) and emerging countries (1.2 in South Korea, and around 1.6 in China). With more than two children per woman in 2005, the United States ranks above many countries and regions of the South and belongs to the minority group of highfertility nations.

Average fertility rates conceal large local variations, however: from 1.6 children per woman in Vermont to 2.5 in Utah; from 1.2 in Poland to 1.9 in France. The scale of relative variation is similar on either side of the Atlantic. In the north-eastern USA, along a strip spreading down from Maine to West Virginia, fertility is at the same level as in northern and western Europe. Close to Mexico, on the other hand, the “Hispanic” population (a category used in American statistics) is pushing up fertility levels. Over the United States as a whole, Hispanic fertility stands at 2.9 children per woman, versus 1.9 among nonHispanic women [4]. Between “White” and “AfricanAmerican” women, the difference is much smaller: 1.8 versus 2.0.

The highest fertility levels in the European Union are found in northern and western Europe (between 1.7 and 1.9 children per woman) and the lowest in southern, central and eastern Europe (below 1.5). Exceptions to this rule include Estonia (1.5), with higher fertility than its Baltic neighbours, and Austria (1.4) and Germany (1.3), which are closer to the eastern and southern countries.

This overall pattern seems to have endured. Why this is the case, I am uncertain. Even though the United States lacks the sorts of family-friendly policies that have been credited for boosting fertility in northern and western Europe, I wonder if the United States does share with these other high-fertility, highly-developed societies cultural similarities, not least of which is a tolerance for non-traditional families. As has been observed before, for instance at Population and Societies by Pison in France and Germany: a history of criss-crossing demographic curves and by me at Demography Matters back in June 2013, arguably the main explanation for the higher fertility in France as compared to West Germany is a much greater French acceptance of non-traditional family structures, with working mothers and non-married couples being more accepted. (West Germany’s reluctance, I argued here in February 2016, stems from the pronounced conservative turn towards traditional family structures without any support for government-supported changes following efforts by totalitarianism states to do just that, first under Naziism and then in contemporary East Germany.)

It’s much too early to come to any conclusions as to whether or not this fall in American fertility will be lasting. From the perspective of someone in the early 1980s, for instance, the sharp spike in American fertility in the mid-1980s that marked arguably the single most importance divergence between the United States and the rest of the highly developed world would have been a surprise. Maybe fertility in the United States will recover to its previous levels. Or, maybe, under economic pressure it will stay lower than it has been.

(Crossposted at Demography Matters here.)

Written by Randy McDonald

July 4, 2017 at 11:54 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • io9 notes that Livejournal’s mascot Frank the Goat has made one last appearance, thanks to his creator.
  • James Bow announces that, after a month of writing and family, he’s back to his blog.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that the far-right AfD in Germany is trying to stop marriage equality.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money rightly does not understand what people mean by talking of a Trump administration “failing”. It can still wreak terrible damage.
  • The Map Room Blog shares a lovely map of the Arctic circumpolar region of the Earth.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that tourism has become the dominant growth sector of the Greek economy.
  • Savage Minds shares Taylor R. Genovese essay invoking and exploring the magic and ritual of human spaceflight. (More to come.)
  • Understanding Society considers and approves of the idea of a guaranteed minimum income, necessary supplement in a time of scarce good jobs.
  • Unicorn Booty notes the many ways in which Trumpcare will leave queer LGBTQ people worse off.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy’s Dale Carpenter again engages, after Texas’ ruling, with the idea of equality for all married couples.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that only a small fraction of Russia’s planned spending on the Arctic has actually materialized.

[NEWS] Seven queer links, from parades as resistance to apps to out schoolchildren

  • NOW Toronto shares photos of the Pride Toronto parade.
  • blogTO notes that, in a recent ranking, Toronto is one of the best cities in which to not be straight in the world.
  • Bloomberg notes the importance of gay pride parades, as self-assertion and resistance, in the age of Trump.
  • Kevin Ritchie’s cover article for NOW Toronto looks at the successes and innovations of drag in the era of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
  • VICE looks at the extent to which gay life has been transformed by the culture of the app.
  • If all it took for Germany to move towards same-sex marriage was to introduce Merkel to a nice couple … well done. The Los Angeles Times reports.
  • Laurel Gregory of Global News looks at research into children who have been out throughout their school years. I can scarcely imagine.