Stories written by Joseph Chamie

Overfed and Underfed: Global Food Extremes

Global food extremes of chronic undernourishment and obesity have brought about a bipolar world of hundreds of millions of underfed and overfed people. Of the world’s population of 7.5 billion the proportions suffering from chronic undernourishment and those afflicted by obesity are similar, approximately 11 percent or together about 1.6 billion people. However, as with most global averages, the levels of both chronic undernourishment and obesity vary enormously among regions and across and within countries.

The Rise of One-Person Households

A significant global demographic change having far-reaching consequences yet receiving scant attention is the rise of one-person households.

Understanding Unauthorized Migration

Growing numbers of men, women and even children in every major region of the world are joining international streams of unauthorized migration. This global movement of humanity’s desperate is taking place despite walls, fences, barriers, guards, patrol ships, warnings and nativist political rhetoric. Governments of origin, transit and destination countries are struggling on how best to manage unauthorized migration flows.

320 Million Children in Single-Parent Families

Of the world’s 2.3 billion children 14 percent - or 320 million - are living in single-parent households, most often headed by single mothers. Those children aged 0 to 17 years and their single mothers and single fathers face special challenges, including economic hardships, social stigma and personal difficulties, that require society’s attention and assistance.

Population Growth Extremes: Doublers and Decliners

While the world’s population of 7.4 billion is growing at 1.1 percent per year – about half the peak level of the late 1960s – enormous differences in demographic growth among countries are increasingly evident and of mounting concern to countries and the international community.

The Historic Reversal of Populations

It first happened in Italy in 1995. Five years later it happened in six additional countries, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Japan, Portugal and Spain. Today the total number of countries where it has occurred stands at 30, including most members of the European Union. In fifteen years that number is expected to nearly double and include Australia, Canada, China, Russia, South Korea and the United States (Table 1).

Failing States: Many Problems, Few Solutions

Regardless of whether they are called fragile, failed, or failing states, scores of countries around the globe are plagued by overwhelming problems with few solutions in sight. Moreover, the instability and dire straits of these countries are spilling across national borders, destabilizing neighboring countries and regions, while posing enormous challenges for international organizations and donors.

Outsourcing Jobs, Insourcing Labour & Increasing Profits

For decades “outsourcing” jobs from wealthy developed countries to low-wage developing countries has been a major strategy of many corporations, industries and businesses to increase profits by reducing labor costs and operating expenses.

2 Billion Couples and 10 Relationship Challenges

The relationship challenges that the world’s 2 billion couples confront vary considerably by circumstances, including age, sex, education, income, marital status, family size, length of relationship, urban-rural residence, customs, religion and region of the world. Nevertheless, 10 major challenges among married and cohabiting couples may be identified across countries.

57 Million Deaths in Perspective

The number of deaths worldwide in 2015 was approximately 57 million. Those deaths represent 0.78 percent of the world’s population of 7.3 billion. In comparison, 140 million births occurred in 2015, resulting in a global population increase of 83 million people.

Opinion: Retirement Unlikely Option for Most People

Pensionable retirement ages and government pension programs have been established for men and women in countries around the world. Nevertheless, retirement remains an unlikely option for most people.

Opinion: Women on Reproductive Strike

Women are having fewer than two children on average in 83 countries, representing nearly half of the world’s population. And in some countries, such as Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, Singapore, South Korea and Spain, average fertility levels are now closer to one child per woman than the replacement level of about two children (Figure 1).

Opinion: Demography and Destiny

The demographic revolutions the world is experiencing are profound and far-reaching, affecting virtually every aspect of human society. Whether in politics, business, international relations, environmental affairs or even personal matters, understanding the fundamental demographic changes underway and anticipating their juggernaut consequences can contribute considerably to the setting of meaningful goals, designing effective strategies and achieving genuine progress.

Opinion: The Century of the Centenarians

With improving life styles, advances in medical science and technologies and declining mortality rates at older ages, the 21st century is witnessing the remarkable rise of centenarians, people who are aged 100 years or older.

Opinion: The Writing on the Western Wall

The writing on the Western Wall is evident to most Israelis: “דמוגרפיה היא גורל” or “demography is destiny”. Those unwilling to acknowledge the prophetic message are either deceiving themselves or simply ignoring it in order to avoid facing the implications of demography for Israel’s future.

State of Palestine in Overtime

The large majority of countries, and most of the people in the world, already recognise Palestine as an independent state.

Mega-Cities, Mortality and Migration

As the international community marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, one question worthy of some reflection is: Is world population better or worse off demographically since the establishment of the U.N.?

Warming, Wildfires and Worries

World leaders from government, finance, business, science and civil society are attempting to negotiate a legally binding and universal agreement on climate change at the upcoming 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference being convened in Paris in December.

Humanity’s Future: Below Replacement Fertility?

Is below replacement level fertility the future for humanity? The answer to this seemingly simple question regarding human reproduction is not only of considerable demographic concern, but also has enormous social, economic and environmental consequences for the planet.

True Gender Equality for Both Women and Men

Numerous international and national efforts have focused on gender equality and the empowerment of women. The United Nations, for example, has convened four world conferences on women - Beijing in 1995, Nairobi in 1985, Copenhagen in 1980 and Mexico City in 1975 - and Member States have adopted various international agreements, such as the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Decline Before Fall of Berlin Wall

As the world marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the famous Berlin Wall leading to the reunification of the country and the end of the cold war, a little noted event occurred nearly two decades before the fall that ushered in a trend having profound consequences for the future of Germany as well as for Europe:  German births declined below deaths.

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