Posts

Pros of Immigration

While many view immigration as a cultural crisis, the pros of immigration are significant. Immigration is a point of contention as immigrants change the face of a population and bring their own culture with them. Moreover, immigrants receive criticism if they do not fully integrate, by not speaking the country’s primary language. Some people simply feel there’s no room for immigrants. They fear their jobs will be taken or undercut by the low wages some immigrants are willing to work for.

In spite of these concerns, it is undeniable that immigrants infuse much needed vitality into the economy. They build businesses, create jobs and bring new perspectives. Most importantly, welcoming immigrants supports and promotes an international standard of human rights. Everyone should be able to settle somewhere safe, healthy and stable—especially if their native country is not so.

Below is an immigration case study of sorts, demonstrating the economic benefits of immigration in Japan, the U.S., and Western Europe.

Japan

Plagued by an aging population and declining birth rates, immigration provides Japan with a new source of young workers. The Japanese Health Ministry predicts that by 2060, the country’s population will fall to 86.74 million. This is a 40 million decrease since 2010. Currently, 20 percent of Japan’s population is over 65 years old. As a result, this burdens Japan’s shrinking workforce with the funds for their pensions and healthcare. But immigration into Japan ensures the nation’s economy can maintain itself as people retire.

Japan is historically unwelcoming to immigrants, believing peace and harmony to be rooted in homogeneity. As such, the nation’s immigration policy reflects this. Japan only allows a small number of highly skilled workers into the country. This policy has been in place since 1988 to combat labor shortages. However, this is no longer enough to combat Japan’s worsening economy. In 2018, labor shortages in the nation were the highest they had been in 40 years.

However, the pros of immigration in Japan are clear. Without it, Japan faces an incredibly insecure economic future. With no sign of population growth, the nation’s perpetually shrinking workforce will become unable to support its retired citizens. However, immigrants can round out the workforce in Japan. And they can neutralize any economic woes the nation might face in the future by preventing labor shortages.

USA

The cultural and economic contributions immigrants have made to America are vast, overwhelmingly advantageous and long-lasting.

A study done by economists at Harvard, Yale and the London School of Economics found US counties that accepted more immigrants between 1860 and 1920 are doing better today as a result. These counties have significantly higher incomes, higher educational achievement, less poverty and lower unemployment because immigrants provided the low-skilled labor needed to support rapid industrialization. Undeniably, immigrants have always and still continue to increase economic growth in America.

Similarly, immigrants in the U.S. have been integral to innovation and entrepreneurship. Half of all startups in America worth over a billion dollars have been founded by immigrants. Eleven of these startups employ more than 17,000 people in the U.S. Some of these companies, such as Uber and WeWork, have significantly changed American culture. They modify the way Americans live their daily lives. Therefore, the pros of immigration in the U.S. are grounded in the diversity of thought brought by immigrants, necessary to further American innovation and economic growth.

Western Europe

Like Japan, Western Europe is battling an aging population and declining birth rates. Fertility rates are expected to hit zero in the next decade. Consequently, this region may not be able to sustain its expansive social welfare programs as its workforce shrinks and retired populations grow. In Germany, the median age is 47.1 years, the oldest in Western Europe. This is only slightly younger than Japan’s 47.3 years. Besides convincing its native populations to have more children, immigration is their only alternative.

Immigration into Western Europe is an undeniable win for both the immigrants and the host countries. Many new immigrants in Western Europe have escaped unstable regimes, religious persecution, and economic downturn in North African and Middle Eastern countries. Thus, immigrants give the region a younger workforce that is able to sustain the region’s expensive social benefits. In return, Western Europe provides immigrants with jobs, stability, and a safe place to live.

While still a very divisive topic, the pros of immigration lie in its plethora of economic benefits. It is undeniable that immigration has always been the driver of economic growth, despite all of the criticism. Immigration provides immigrants with an alternative to oppressive regimes and other instability, of course. And the pros of immigration for nations absolutely outweigh the cons.

Jillian Baxter
Photo: Pixabay

mobile family planningJanani, an affiliate of DKT International, has started a mobile family planning project. Twenty outreach teams in vans provide family planning services to rural and hard-to-reach areas in India. This helps expand access to family planning options.

The vans specifically visit regions where family planning is unavailable and where birth rates are exceptionally high, like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. According to the last India National Family Health Survey in 2005-2006, the average birth rate in Bihar was 4.0 children and the average birth rate in Uttar Pradesh was 3.82 children. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have the highest and second highest birth rates in all of India. Even so, the mobile family planning project can help women postpone or eliminate the option of pregnancy.

Janani offers IUDs, tubal litigation, condoms, oral contraceptives, injectables and emergency contraceptives for women. Additionally, the project offers non-scalpel vasectomies for men. This project helps promote long-term contraceptives, like the IUD, and permanent methods, like tubal litigation and vasectomies.

Doctors, nurses/midwives, van coordinators, attendants and drivers all make up each team. About four to nine people are in each van to serve Indian communities. The vans have a counseling chamber, audio-visual equipment and medicines and equipment needed for IUD insertion. The nurse/midwives are trained for counseling and IUD insertion in Patna at the Surya Clinic and Training Centre, which is owned by Janani.

The teams in each van serve around 10 to 15 new clients and about five to eight follow-up clients per day. Each team also makes up to 15 days of visits per month. Janani serves between 2,000 and 3,000 new clients and 1,000 and 1,500 follow-up clients each month. While it is important to care for new clients, it is also beneficial to conduct follow-up appointments with previous clients.

Janani aims to help women and men in rural and low-income areas. Improved access to family planning can help individuals who do not want to have children. Additionally, this could help keep more children out of poverty, considering that women may not want to have children if they are in a low-income household. Furthermore, this could help address the issue of overpopulation in India. Solutions such as mobile family planning are innovative and reach individuals who previously may not have access to family planning options.

Ella Cady

Sources: DKT International, Impatient Optimists
Photo: Needpix.com

unregistered_births_developing_countries
What if you did not have a birth certificate, driver’s license, passport or health insurance card? There is no way of proving who you are. This is the reality for some children in developing countries.

Millions of people, mostly in the developing world, were not officially registered when they were born. In wealthy countries like the U.S., almost every birth is registered upon arrival with a government agency and documented with a birth certificate.

But in much of Africa and Asia, documentation only happened for a fraction of newborns. And living as an undocumented person is a lifelong problem. You cannot obtain a driver’s license, passport or a health insurance card.

Kerry Neal, a child protection specialist with UNICEF, explains, “A birth certificate is the document from which all others spring. Without one, it can be hard to get into school, get exam certificates, get a passport or even a SIM card for your phone in some countries. You often need to show proof of identity and citizenship to get medical and social services.”

Without proper documentation, children cannot prove their age. This causes children more likely to be trafficked, conscripted or forced to work or marry while underage.

Births should also be registered because governments need to know how many people are being born where in order to plan for services such as schools, hospitals and roads. Birth registrations are the best way to track demographics.

This information piqued the interest of President Obama.

“Earlier in June, President Obama signed the Girls Count Act, which authorizes the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development to promote birth registration systems around the world.”

The issue of birth registrations has also been getting increasing attention from UNICEF. In December 2013, UNICEF published groundbreaking reports.

The reports estimated that some 230 million children under the age of five, one out of three children worldwide, never had their birth registered.

The reasons for the million of births never registered are unknown. Some parents in the developing world may not have known about the process, found it too difficult, too expensive or a combination of all these reasons.

Often, registration offices are only found in cities. Many rural families cannot afford to take time off of work, and to spend the money required for the trip. Statistically, children in urban areas have higher registration rates than those living in rural areas.

Parents may also hold religious views that do not support government registration of children. In some areas of the developing world, there may not even be a government system available for registering the births.

For example, the UNICEF report found that in war ravaged Somalia and Liberia, fewer than five percent of births are registered.

Without proper documentation, some children do not exist. This leads to a life full of problems, including lack of schooling, underage trafficking and inability to apply for a job.

Lack of documentation is negatively affecting the developing world. With the help of the Girls Count Act, future generations of children hold a chance to be registered, and to live their life with proper documentation.

Kerri Szulak

Sources: Take Part, UNICEF
Photo: Save the Children

baby_china
Recent studies show that people with Asian descent are 1) living longer but 2) having fewer babies. Why have the birthrates dropped?

It seems that although the “perfect number” of children hasn’t dropped in the past decades – it’s at two kids – the actual feeling that having children “is necessary” has definitely declined. Parents tend to think twice these days before deciding to continue their legacy; inability to provide for the kids and personal goals with which childbearing would interfere seem to be the backbone of people’s reasoning.

The Korean government, for one, has noticed this statistical decline, and attempted to affect it by offering improved maternity leave and other similar privileges. However, these seem to be only weak incentives for couples merely considering postponing childrearing. Speculatively, more long-term measures – such as guaranteed education for the children’s future – may be needed instead.

If it remains unchanged, the birth rate decline may cause Japan’s population to decline at 38% every 30 years. Growing up during high levels of economic growth, prospective parents today are more apprehensive of having children as the economy is now worse off.

In an attempt to alleviate the danger of this sharp decline, governments worldwide have funded and employed new strategies. In Singapore, for example, eleven new dating agencies were endorsed by the government. Marriage coordinators, speed dating events, and matchmaking agencies are on the rise now precisely for that reason; leaders are attempting everything within their reach to solve the growing issue.

Private companies and governmental agents alike are working hard to sway the statistics of declining birthrates in Asia. When faced with overpopulation, this does not sound like an issue at all. However if things remain unchanged, twenty or so years down the road the real issue will become that much more apparent. There will be a smaller youth population, creating discrepancies in the economy and in social strata alike.

– Natalia Isaeva

Sources: East West Center, CNBC
Photo: Telegraph

Birth Rates and Poverty in Niger
Niger is the seventh poorest country in the world. It is an example of the multitudinous effects of extreme poverty. With high political instability, high levels of gender inequality, high birth rates, high levels of malnutrition and ethnic conflict, attempts to lift Niger out of poverty have often failed because of the magnitude and multitude of problems to be faced.

The population of Niger works largely in fishing and farming. As a result, they are unusually susceptible to natural disasters and climate conditions. A 2005 drought that led to a massive food shortage had devastating effects on the people and the economy, with the IMF forgiving 100% of the nation’s debt, roughly $86 million USD. In 2010, famine wiped out many people and the country reported the outbreak of multiple diseases, with deaths due to diarrhea, starvation, gastroenteritis, malnutrition and respiratory diseases.

Education levels in Niger are among the lowest in the world, with many children unenrolled and children often forced to work instead of study. Nomadic children often do not have access to schools.

The high birth-rates in Niger are a problem, as they contribute to an expanding population whose families cannot support them. This is partly as a result of the belief that the greater the number of children one family has, the greater the chance that a family will be lifted out of poverty when one finds success.

– Farahnaz Mohammed
Source: Richest.org, DW.DE
Photo: Niger Delta Rising

Birth Rates Decrease As People Rise Out of Poverty
Many people argue that deaths resulting from poverty are an unfortunate solution to overpopulation. They assume that raising families out of poverty will only give them more resources to support ever more children. However, the evidence actually shows that birth rates decrease as people rise out of poverty. This is because parents are often forced by high child mortality rates to have several children to ensure that they will have someone to care for them as they age. When these families are no longer living in extreme poverty, they can be more confident that their children will survive, allowing them to have fewer children. According to the World Health Organization, both the actual death and the fear of death of a child results in higher fertility rates, regardless of a family’s size or income level.

Over the last two decades, reduced levels of extreme poverty in numerous countries, including Guatemala, Cambodia, and Namibia, has coincided with a decrease in average family size to about half. Since the 1960s, Latin American women’s fertility rates have decreased from about 6 to between 2 and 3. This has resulted from decreased child mortality rates, as well as improved maternal health and family planning education in many areas. USAID has been instrumental in helping many Latin American countries, such as the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, start family planning programs. Most of these programs have become self-sustaining and are preparing for USAID’s gradual departure.

While poverty is an extremely reliable indicator and contributing cause of high birth rates, a society’s treatment of women must also be considered. In societies where women are disenfranchised, birth rates tend to be high and inflexible. This shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise, given that in these societies girls are taken out of school at a young age, females are often victims of multiple forms of violence, and most women have minimal knowledge of or power to enact family planning strategies. Many women are essentially forced into prolonged motherhood, which can be incredibly damaging to their health, as well as their children’s. With improved family planning education around the world, the lives of 1.6 million children under five could be saved each year.

A woman’s education level is an excellent indicator of her fertility. Well-educated women are much more likely to have smaller families. It is important to note that the education of women does not necessarily cause lower fertility rates. Instead, education is just one aspect of improved social standing for women, and it is likely that this improved status leads to smaller families, not to mention improved women’s health in general.

It is essential to recognize that decreasing levels of extreme poverty will also help minimize the problem of overpopulation. When families no longer live in fear of unacceptable child mortality rates, they decrease their fertility levels. Part of this effort to decrease birth rates also includes family planning education for both men and women and improved societal standing for women.

– Katie Fullerton

Sources: USAID, USAID Blog, Population Institute, Global Issues
Photo: Hatter

Grasshoppers are the Food of the FutureCould this be your next meal? It may have to be; grasshoppers are the food of the future.

Overpopulation is a real concern for the planet and for “quality of life standards” for every person on the planet. It is estimated that the global population will reach 8 to 10 billion in the next few decades, and with this, a whole new way of life will have to be adopted to meet our needs.

A major transition will have to occur in regards to the food we eat and how food is grown, managed and distributed. Current habits will not be able to keep pace with growing demands. One thing that will have to be downsized is the cattle industry. It is simply not sustainable and efficient for feeding beef to more and more people, and its environmental effects will become even more of a liability.

The solution? Farming and harvesting insects. It takes very little water and transport fuel compared to livestock, grains and even vegetables. It is also far more efficient than raising cattle. One hundred pounds of feed produces 10 pounds of beef. The same amount of feed would produce more than four times that amount in crickets. They are high in protein, iron and calcium, making them a logical food choice; it is already utilized in many regions of the world.

– Mary Purcell

Source: The Borgen Project, howstuffworks.com
Photo Source: thejackieblog.com