Policy Makers And Demographic Patterns Essay

3629 words - 15 pages

The term demography originates from Greek literally translating as ‘people writing’, and, hence refers to the statistical study of human population and its vital statistics: birth, death and migration rates. However, changes in the demographic trends not only involve the study of changes in population size, but also its structure and distribution - as, for example, its age, gender and ethnical distribution. It, therefore, can be equally applied to macro and micro level analysis, where the former is applied to the aggregates of people, groups or societies and the latter – to small groups or families within a community or local area. Periodic counts of the population and its variables are ...view middle of the document...

This essay will, therefore, argue on the importance of demography in policy-making and economic stability, referring mainly to the three vital population variables, the need of its accurate calculations and problems of excesses or deficits, influence of population structure and distribution on infrastructure and its contribution to political campaigns; with references to past and present population policies through manipulation of fertility, mortality and /or migration rates as these factors determine population of any area.
All governments appear to maintain the record analysis of the current and past population trends and changes and
‘design policies, enact laws, and adopt administrative programmes which directly or incidentally influence the components of population growth, the geographical distribution of population and its economic and social characteristics.’ (Johnson,1994: 56)
First of all, the importance of demographic data can be explained through its relevance to welfare maximisation. High mortality and morbidity rates, for example, although not always coupled, contribute to decline of labour and military force or to dependency rates, what can contribute to slowing down of economic growth, international competitiveness and level of investments. A sick person, who cannot participate on the labour market, is potentially putting a burden on national productivity, family or his/her individual economic circumstances, insurance companies and to the economy through hospitalisation and might experience social exclusion. Analysis of population contributes to explanation of causes of changes of its variables and its possible consequences. For example social and infrastructural problems in LDCs can be seen through mortality rates which are considerably higher than in MDCs. World Bank Statistics show that adult mortality rates in Kenya in 1998 were 860 deaths per 1000, comparing to 188 in the UK and 201 in the US and 70 infant deaths more than in the UK (WB, 2000). Analysis of such statistical data and its causes is useful for identifying the gaps in services; as the main causes of mortality are related to the supply of health services, epidemics and shortage of adequate food supply and distribution. Similarly, Findlay and Findlay (1987:14-19) suggested high mortality rates in less developed countries to be showing effects of poor nutrition, health service, environment and education, and high rates of poverty. Thus, ignorance of such data is unacceptable, as there is a danger of failure to recognise and solve underlying problems within a country, like poverty, unemployment, inadequacy of public health provision and so on, what would not only lead to decline of population but bring about social unrests and reduce economic effectiveness. Various attempts with different results have been made by governments in order to reduce mortality throughout the history: Compulsory health insurance (eg Germany 1883, Austria 1888) subsidization of health...

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