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Volume 64, №. 1, March 2009

20th-Century U.S. Generations
By Elwood Carlson

(March 2009)The myriad decisions we make throughout our lives-choices about education, joining the military, marriage, having children, changing jobs, moving, caring for aging parents, saving for retirement, and dealing with challenges in old age-affect not only our individual lives, but public policy and business practices as well.

Governments formulate laws and policies about child and health care and Social Security based on the life choices they expect us to make. Private businesses make plans based on the life choices they expect from us as employees and customers. The 2008 U.S. presidential election clearly demonstrated that individual choices and expectations vary considerably across U.S. generations. Generational differences in demographic experiences provide some clues about the sources of the generational divide seen in some political, social, and consumption choices.


Volume 64, №. 2, June 2009

Urban Poverty and Health in Developing Countries
By Mark R. Montgomery

The era in which developing countries could be depicted mainly in terms of rural villages is now in the past. A panoramic view of today's demographic landscape reveals a myriad of cities and towns.

By 2030, according to the projections of the United Nations Population Division, more people in the developing world will live in urban than rural areas; by 2050, two-thirds of its population is likely to be urban. The world's population as a whole is expected to grow by 2.5 billion from 2007 to 2050, with the cities and towns of developing countries absorbing almost all of these additional people.

This demographic transformation will have profound implications for health. To understand these consequences, it is important to set aside the misconceptions that have prevented the health needs of urban populations from being fully appreciated. The most urgent need is to acknowledge the social and economic diversity of urban populations, which include large groups of the poor whose health environments differ little from those of rural villagers. On average, urbanites enjoy an advantage in health relative to rural villagers, but health policies for an urbanizing world cannot be based on averages alone. Disaggregation is essential if policies are to be properly formed and health programs targeted to those most in need.

The supply side of the urban health system is just as diverse as the urban population. The private sector is a far more important presence in cities than in rural areas, and urban health care is consequently more monetized. Even in medium-sized cities, one can find a full array of providers who serve various niches of the health care market, ranging from traditional healers and sellers of drugs in street markets to well-trained surgeons. In addition to the socioeconomic and supply-side differences within any given city, there are important differences across cities that warrant attention. Much of the demographic and health literature has concentrated on the largest cities of developing countries, leaving the impression that most urban residents are found in these huge agglomerations. In fact, small cities and towns house the vast majority of developing-country urban dwellers. A number of studies suggest that rates of poverty in these smaller settlements often exceed the rates in large cities, and in many countries small-city residents go without adequate supplies of drinking water and minimally acceptable sanitation. Rural shortages of health personnel and services are receiving attention in the recent literature, but similar shortages also plague smaller cities and towns. As developing countries engage in health-sector reforms and continue to decentralize their political and health systems, allowances will need to be made for the thinner resources and weaker capabilities of these urban areas.


Volume 64, №. 3, September 2009

World Population Highlights
By Jason Bremner, Carl Haub, Marlene Lee , Mark Mather, and Eric Zuehlke

Population change will shape the prospects of regions and countries over the next half century. Future population growth will be almost entirely in the developing world, with the fastest growth in the poorest countries and regions.

During the 20th century, nearly 90 percent of population growth took place in countries classified as less developed (LDCs) by the United Nations-all countries in Africa, Asia (except Japan), Latin America and the Caribbean, and Oceania (except Australia and New Zealand). This remarkable development resulted from an unprecedented decline in death rates in LDCs brought about by the spread of public health measures, health care, and disease prevention, particularly after the end of World War II in 1945. These improvements evolved over centuries in the more developed countries (MDCs), but the LDCs were able to benefit from them much more quickly.

The geographic imbalance in population growth seen over the last century will only intensify in the years to come. Between 2009 and 2050, virtually all population growth will take place in the LDCs. The small amount of population growth projected for MDCs will be largely accounted for by the United States and Canada. In many MDCs, most growth will likely be due to immigration from LDCs. In the United States, however, natural increase (births minus deaths) still accounts for more than 50 percent of annual population growth. While the LDCs are projected to increase from 5.6 billion in 2009 to 8.1 billion in 2050, the MDCs are projected to grow from 1.2 billion to just 1.3 billion.


Volume 65, №. 1, February 2010

U.S. Economic and Social Trends Since 2000
By Linda A. Jacobse n and Mark Mather

This has been a tumultuous decade for the United States. During the first 10 years of the 21st Century, there was a major terrorist attack, a housing meltdown, a severe economic recession, and a significant downturn in the U.S. stock market. Unemployment recently passed the 10 percent mark for the first time since 1983. Household wealth increased somewhat with the stock market gains during the past year, but remains well below prerecession levels. Household net worth dropped by more than $10 trillion during the recession-the largest loss of wealth since the federal government started keeping records of wealth accumulation 50 years ago. Trends in stock market indicators, household wealth, consumer confidence, and labor force participation are widely reported and used to measure the health of the U.S. economy. But less is known about the ways people are adapting to changing economic conditions. In this Population Bulletin, we look beyond employment and income and examine other important aspects of people's lives, including educational attainment, homeownership, commuting, marriage, fertility, and migration trends. With the close of the decade, it is an appropriate time to review how the U.S. population has changed since 2000.


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