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Population Policy: Controlling Demographic Processes. Dr. TU Jow Ching Division of Social Science Hong Kong University of Science & Technology. Definition of Population Policy.

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Population policy controlling demographic processes l.jpg

Population Policy: Controlling Demographic Processes

Dr. TU Jow Ching

Division of Social Science

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology

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Definition of Population Policy

  • A population policy is one whereby government seeks to anticipate and respond to population trends and prospects in the light of their impacts and anticipates impacts of public policy on population trends themselves.

  • It also directly seeks to influence the determinants of population in order to deliberately alter the size and/or nature of the population.

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  • The best concise definition of population policy is that of McNicoll (1995: 97):

  • '...a coherent vision of the desired demographic future and a coordinated set of actions designed to move towards it '.

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  • Population policies are government actions – laws, regulations, programs – that try to influence the three agents of population change (births, deaths, and migration) as a way to promote social and economic development.

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  • Population policy represents a strategy for achieving a particular pattern of population change.

  • The strategy may consist of only one specific component – a single purpose goal – such as to reduce fertility to replacement level by a specific date

  • Or it may be multifaceted, such as an attempt to improve the reproductive health of women

  • Direct population policy: aimed specifically at altering demographic behavior

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  • Indirect population policy: not necessarily designed just to influence population changes but do so by changing other aspects of life

  • The stated intent of these policies often is to improve the quality of life, consistent with the available resources in a country

  • For example, a policy to increase the educational level of women will improve the quality of life of the affected women in many ways, and it will also increase the likelihood that they will take control of their reproductive behavior and limit family size

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  • Basic elements of formulating a population policy:

  • Assessing the Current and Future Demographic Situations: Relying on population projections based on several sets of assumptions regarding the possible future directions of fertility, mortality and migration changes

  • Population projections are statements about what would happen under a given, specified set of demographic conditions

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  • Establishing a Goal: The demographic future is assessed primarily with an eye toward determining whether projected demographic trends will enhance or detract from the ability to achieve other broad goals

  • Will projected population growth undermine the ability of an economy to develop?

  • Will projected shifts in the age/sex distribution affect the ability of an economy to provide jobs, thereby leading to lower incomes or a greater welfare burden?

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  • Will the projected growth of the population lead to a catastrophic economic-demographic collapse that will drastically restructure world politics?

  • Is continued population growth consistent with a goal of sustainable development?

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  • Population control is rarely an end in itself but rather an “implementing strategy” that helps to achieve other goals (usually general and idealistic in nature), such as improving the standard of living, reducing economic inequalities, promoting gender equality, eliminating hunger and racial/ethnic tension, reducing environmental degradation, preserving international peace, and increasing personal freedom

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  • Ordinarily, policies are motivated by perceived social/economic problems. If current population size, composition, or rate population growth is widely viewed as undesirable, the situation is conducive to the emergence of a social/economic problems.

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  • Because population policies are only a means to one or more of these other ends, it is easy for population policies to be “hijacked” by the proponents or opponents of these other goals, but whatever your goal, if it is discrepant with the projected future, you can use demographic knowledge to propose specific policies to avert unhappy consequences.

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  • Our work does not end there, of course, because once our policies are implemented, we have to continually evaluate them to see whether they are accomplishing what we had hoped and to make sure they are not producing undesirable side effects.

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  • During the 2nd half of the 20th cy, a large number of countries developed population policies that focused on slowing the unprecedented pace of population growth.

  • By the dawn of the 21st cy, most countries had changed their population policies to correspond to new perceptions about population and the appropriate solutions for population problems.

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  • In general, three basic policy orientations that can be adopted to either close the gap or maintain the fitbetween goals and projections:

    • Retarding (slow down) population growth

    • Promoting population growth

    • Maintaining population growth

  • Each policy orientation offers a wide variety of specific means that can be implemented to achieve the desired kind of demographic future.

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  • Retarding Growth: by attempting to manipulate one or more of the three population processes of mortality, fertility and migration

  • Promoting or Maintaining Population Growth:

    • Those experiencing low-fertility, slow- or non-growing developed nations (Europe, east Asia, North America) prefer a higher birth rate , typically as hedge against immigration and/or as a perceived stimulus to the economy.

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  • Those countries in Africa and the Middle East where population growth is viewed as too low because the population size is perceived as being too small to achieve national objectives.

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  • For countries facing population aging, a feasible population objective would be:

  • Ultimate stationarity (constant birth rate equals constant death rate, and constant age/sex structure, ultimate ZPG), with the same ultimate population size

    • by adjusting fertility upward to the replacement level but with no migration

    • by fixing fertility at current level but with a constant inflow of net migrants of just the amount calculated to culminate in the same outcome

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  • Replacement migration is a possible solution to population decline and population aging

  • Replacement migration refers to the international migration that would be needed to offset declines in the size of population, the declines in the population of working ages, as well as to offset the overall aging of a population

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  • Projection period: 60 Years

  • Calculations are made of the amount of replacement migration that would be necessary for Hong Kong to offsetthe expected declines in the size of the total population and working-agepopulation, as well as to offset the overall aging of the population

  • The “rejuvenating” effect of migration on the host population had been fairly modest

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  • Four Scenarios

    • A. The medium variant with zeromigration after 1996

    • B. The migration required to maintain the size of the totalpopulation at the highest level it would reach in the absence of migration after 1996

    • C. The migration required to maintain the size of working-age population (15 to 64 years) at the highest level it would reach in the absence of migration after 1996

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  • D. The migration required to maintain the ratio of the working-age population to the retired-age population(population 15-64 / 65 or older) at the highest level it would reach in the absence of migration after 1996

  • The time period covered from 1996 to 2056

  • The age and sex structure of the migrants is assumed to be the same for Hong Kong in order to permit comparisons between them

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  • Results

  • Scenario A serves as a backdrop, in order to measure, by comparison, the effects of the migrations assumed in the other scenarios.

  • Hong Kong would lose 2.09 millions people between 1996 and 2056

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  • The population aged 15-64 years would declineearlier and fasterthan total population

  • The proportion of the population aged 65 years or older would continue to increase rapidly, and, in 2056, would reach 49.2% for Hong Kong

  • In the absence of migration after 1996, Hong Kong would see their population start declining before 2056

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  • Scenario B keeps the size ofthe total population at the maximum level it would reach in the absence of migration. The dates at which this maximum will be reached: forHong Kong= 2006 (6.36 millions)

  • The total number of migrants needed to keep the total population constant at its maximum size until 2056 would be 428,593 (6.73%) for HK

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  • Scenario C keeps the size of the population aged 15-64 years at the maximum level it would reach in the absence of migration.

  • The dates at which this maximum will be reached: 2011(4.7 millions) for Hong Kong

  • The total number of migrants needed to keep the population aged 15-64 constant until 2056 would be 718,482 (9.04%) for HK

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  • Scenario D keeps the potential support ratio at its 1996 level

  • The datesat which this maximum will be reached right at the beginning of the projection period (1996 (7.05) forHong Kong)

  • The total number of migrants needed to keep the potential support ratio constant until 2056 is extremely large. It is 22.1 millions (18.76%) for Hong Kong

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  • Scenario B:

    • HK: Total immigrants and their descendants(2056) = 2.2 millions, 35.1% of the total population (6.36 millions)

  • Scenario C:

    • HK: Total immigrants and their descendants(2056) = 3.8 millions, 48.0% of the total population (7.94 millions)

  • Scenario D:

    • HK: Total immigrants and their descendants(2056) = 113.5 million, 96.5% of the total population (117.6 millions)

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. Hong Kong Population Pyramid in 1996

(1)Constant Peak Population Size in 2056

(3) Constant Peak Support ratio in 2056

(2) Constant Peak Working Population in 2056

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  • The numbers of migrants needed to offsetdeclines in the working-age population are significantly larger than those needed to offset total population declines

  • The levels of migration needed tooffset population aging (i.e., maintain potential support ratios) are extremely larger and seem out of reach for Hong Kong

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Replacement Migration under different Scenarios in Hong Kong

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  • The relation between population size and migrant age

    • Withincreasein age at entry, the expectation of life after migration decline, and so does the reproductive value of a (female) migrant

    • A higher mean age by one year implies an additional ?? percent of migrants required to achieve any given ultimate population size

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  • Net migration is the only way to preventpopulation decliningif fertility remains inadequate

  • The cost of this solution is relative to the proportion of the population migrant

  • It is independent of the magnitude of the annual migrant inflow

  • It is a function of the reproductive value of female and the expectation of life after migrating, both dependent on the age distribution of migrants

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  • The “cost” of migration can be reduced by lowering the mean age at entry of migrants

  • The moredifferent (e.g., higher fertility and mortality) the migrants are from the receiving population, the greater the “cost”

  • As the mean age at entryincreases, the mean age of the migrant population becomes older, and itsweight in the total population larger

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