lunes, 22 de agosto de 2016

MercatorNet: Focus on Finland

MercatorNet: Focus on Finland

Focus on Finland

Focus on Finland

Births are at their lowest number in history.
Shannon Roberts | Aug 22 2016 | comment 1 

The headline in the Finnish media last week “Population projections reveal shocking future trends” almost suggests that the country has only just awakened to the fact that its birth rates have been below replacement since 1969. 
Preliminary data from Statistics Finland released last week shows that in the first six months of this year 26,517 children were born, the lowest number in the history of Finland as an independent state in a comparable time period. 
Finland is home to fewer and fewer children and Statistics Finland predicts that the number of pensioners will potentially exceed the number of 18-40 by 2029.  There will be a corresponding long-term decline in the number of young and middle-aged workers, as the following table produced by Yle depicts:

As with all of Europe, lowered fertility accounts for much of the change, together with longer life expectancy.    Statistics Finland reports that since 1969 the birth rate has been below the population regeneration rate of 2.1 children per woman. In 1901 Finnish women gave birth to an average of almost five children. Today the total fertility rate is 1.65 children. The birth rate steadily dropped through the 20th century, rising again slightly to a peak of 3.47 during the late 40’s and early 50’s, and then continuing its decline. 
So many Finns are currently moving abroad that, as a result of both this and low birth rates, the country's population of 5,493,577 would cease to increase this year if it were not for immigration into the country.  In 2015 Finland's total population increase was a mere 370 people, as shown in the following table also produced by Yle:
Thus, Finnish society will look decidedly more elderly in the years to come.


I've been reporting on LGBT issues for some time now at Conjugality, MercatorNet's blog on the future of marriage. I'm afraid that it's all a bit of a mystery to me -- how to explain this kind of orienttion, how it has been normalised, how it can attract so much public sympathy. But that's OK, because it turns out the experts don't really know a lot more than the rest of us. 
“Sexual orientation and gender identity resist explanation by simple theories,” write psychiatrist Paul R. McHugh and epidemiologist Lawrence S. Mayer in a major new study in The New Atlantis. “There is a large gap between the certainty with which beliefs are held about these matters and what a sober assessment of the science reveals. In the face of this complexity and uncertainty, we need to be humble about what we know and do not know.” 
The report is well worth reading for yourself, but we've summarised some of its major findings below. 

Michael Cook 

Let’s have a SCIENCE-based debate about LGBT issues
Michael Cook | CONJUGALITY | 22 August 2016
A landmark report from the US questions cliched views of homosexuality and transgenderism
Will women ever be able to compete against men in Olympic events?
David Bishop | FEATURES | 22 August 2016
Optimistic predictions have failed to materialise.
Beauty is only skin deep
Jennifer Minicus | READING MATTERS | 22 August 2016
Character trumps looks in this charming fairy tale.
Focus on Finland
Shannon Roberts | DEMOGRAPHY IS DESTINY | 22 August 2016
Births are at their lowest number in history.
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