Tuesday, July 5, 2011

World Population Day - 1974

World Population Day
1. Fertility is declining globally, heading toward replacement levels. This simply means that women are having fewer children. Although we continue to add more people in the world, population growth seems to be inexorably heading toward maintenance levels. The trend is fairly easy to identify: comparing the ratio of girls to boys in school versus the total fertility rate for the period 1960-2009, you can see that as girls become more prevalent in school, the fertility rate falls. Most of the high-population countries have already seen their population fertility rates fall under 3 births per woman. Managing total population growth is all about figuring out what the “replacement level” is for a population and getting as close to that as possible: it will vary, depending on the situation, but is typically between 2 and 3 babies per family. Very small shifts can lead to population aging or robust population growth. However, at this point the only top-30 population countries with fertility rates above 3 per woman are Sudan, Pakistan, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

World Population Day2. Infant mortality is declining globally as health improves. Since more children are surviving past the age of 5 and into childhood and youth, this means a natural increase in the population–many poorer nations used to have a lot more babies but infant mortality was very high, so the net population growth was lower. It also means that the population has begun to age a bit because once children are past the age of five the odds of their surviving into older age is higher.

3. Globally increasing life expectancy. In the 1960s, the world was dramatically divided between those countries with a life expectancy under about 50 years, and those with a life expectancy nearing 70. In the mix of the “top 30 countries,” only a small handful were in the latter category, and they were mostly Western: the United States, the UK, Italy, Germany, Ukraine, Spain, Argentina, and Japan. The remainder had life expectancies under 50 years. Indeed, many were closer to 40: Nigeria, the Dem. Repub. of the Congo, and Indonesia are examples. As the past half-century progressed, however, remarkable progress was made in raising the life expectancy. By the early 1990s the situation had all but reversed: the only countries with life expectancies lower than about 60 were Bangladesh, Sudan, Tanzania, Nigeria and the Congo. Today, the three holdouts are the Congo (wracked by war), Nigeria, and—in a stunning reversal—South Africa, which has been deeply scarred by the impact of HIV/AIDS.

Singapore has just experienced a 'watershed' General Election and many voters have commented about the government policies. Thus I think it is timely to show this stamp that reflected one of the much talked about policy of the Singapore government in its yester-years.

The stamp was issued in August 1974 (if I am not wrong the date is 9th August, our national day). There were 3 stamps (10 cents, 35 cents and 75 cents) and two of them bear this message 'Plan Your Family Small' at the top of the stamp). This was a commemorative issue for the World Population Year.

It was the national policy to control the population back then. Families were encouraged to keep their size small, and two children per family was preferred.

This of course is starkly different from the situation today, where the government is giving out major bonus to families in order to maintain or grow the population. The declining birth rate is used as a justification for the much discussed immigration policy.

No comments:

Post a Comment