[general_devel] ASIA-PACIFIC POPULATION GROWTH FALLS TO LOWEST OF DEVELOPING REGIONS – UN REPORT
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Tue Apr 21 16:11:17 BST 2009
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Subject: ASIA-PACIFIC POPULATION GROWTH FALLS TO LOWEST OF DEVELOPING REGIONS –
Date: Tue, 21 Apr 2009 10:00:05 -0400
From: UNNews <UNNews at un.org>
To: <news9 at secint00.un.org>
ASIA-PACIFIC POPULATION GROWTH FALLS TO LOWEST OF DEVELOPING REGIONS – UN REPORT
New York, Apr 21 2009 10:00AM
The Asia-Pacific region’s annual population growth has fallen to 1.1 per cent,
the lowest rate among the world’s developing regions, according to a statistical
snapshot released today by the United Nations.
Death rates have fallen but birth rates have come down more rapidly, according
to the Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific 2008, released today by the
UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
The Yearbook is a compilation of statistical data from a wide range of sources,
providing a detailed picture of the major economic, social and environmental
trends over the past two decades.
This year’s report finds that the number of children born per woman fell to 2.4
for the period 2000-2005, down from 2.9 per woman for the previous five years,
not only reducing growth but also aging the region.
“We are familiar with population ageing in countries like Japan but the same
phenomenon is now evident in many countries,” said Noeleen Heyzer, UN
Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP.
“Once the total fertility rate falls below the replacement rate of 2.1, we can
expect the region’s population to start shrinking,” she added.
Fertility has fallen below replacement level in 16 countries, including China,
Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand. In some countries, such as Niue, Georgia,
Armenia and the Russian Federation, the population is already falling, according
to the Yearbook.
A number of countries still have fertility rates above 3.0 children per woman –
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic,
Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Tajikistan and Timor-Leste.
Among other predominant trends, the Yearbook studies migration, which it says
continues to shape the region, reinforcing the effects of falling birth rates
particularly in small island states in the Pacific where emigration rates can be
15 per cent of the population or more.
Migrants from these and other countries are heading for the region’s richer
economies. They now make up more than 40 per cent of the populations of
Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as moving farther afield.
Even with the falling birth rates and emigration, the sheer size of the
population and rapid industrialization of many parts of the region continue to
take a toll on the environment, the Yearbook notes.
In China and Viet Nam, between 1992 and 2002, for example industrial water
withdrawal more than tripled.
In other areas, the Yearbook noted that disaster-related deaths ballooned as
cities were hit by over-crowding, with a total of 28 major earthquakes, floods
and typhoons affecting more than 101 million people, killing more than 223,000
and causing more than $103 billion worth of damage in 2008 alone.
For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news
Vern Weitzel (Mr.) BSc, BA, MA, M Env Man & Dev
<vern at coombs.anu.edu.au> <vern.weitzel at gmail.com> <vernweitzel at mac.com>
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