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
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
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
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
KEY FIND INGS FROM PRB'S 2009. WORLD POPULATION DATA SHEET
By Jason Bremner, Carl Haub, Marlene Lee , Mark Mather, and Eric
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.