"Exercise 1 Demographic Data as Social Indicators"
Rajkumar s/o Dorajoo SC2208 Exercise 1: Demographic Data as Social Indicators The crude birth rate of Singapore in 1975 is 17.6, which is much lower than that of Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Thailand and Nigeria. Most of these countries were and still are mainly agricultural countries. When people are engaged mainly in farming, children become a valuable source of labour in the farms. These are evident in the many rice, rubber and oil palm plantations in Malaysia, rice plantations in Thailand and Indonesia and the many mining communities in Nigeria. In some of these societies, men are accorded with more respect and importance and are the sole breadwinners and they also carry on the family line. Thus, families with daughters will continue trying for sons. In most of these societies, children are seen as symbols of wealth due to the cultural and religious beliefs of the people and reflect the parents’ virility. In The Philippines, for example, Roman Catholic Churches oppose the use of artificial birth control and thus, since 84% of the population are Roman Catholics, the birth rate of the country was a very high 38.2, almost on par with Indonesia’s 38.4. This although The Philippines’s population was almost 3 times smaller than Indonesia’s (48.0 million in The Philippines in 1980 and 148.3 million in Indonesia on 1980). Crude birth rate in Singapore in 1995 was 12. Generally all countries decrease in birth rate from 1975 to 2001. This is because as the country undergoes further economic development, urbanizes and industrializes, more people work in offices instead of farms where children are not permitted to work till their much older. More machines are also used in farms and thus fewer workers required. Families also do not feel the need to produce many children to ensure that some of them will survive as improved medical and health care and hygiene reduce infant mortality rates. Women also become more educated and do not see themselves only as child bearers and are unwilling to give up careers and get married at a younger age and thus, the child bearing age decreases. Family planning is also widely practiced and some governments give incentives to keep birth rate low. Also, as society progresses, the desire for material things such as cars and houses increases and it is easier to maintain a high standard of living with a small family. However, the rural population in certain countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and Nigeria is still high and this contributes to the still high birth rates. Therefore, although the birth rates decrease they still remain high. In Singapore the crude birth rate decreased only a little (5.6) as the birth rate was already low to start with in 1975 and the population was small. Also, since 1987, the government has been trying to implement measures to encourage people to have 3 or more children if they can afford it due to the falling fertility rate. The monetary incentives include tax relief and rebates for the first 4 children and child care subsidies. Other incentives include childcare leaves and priority of housing and primary schools. For Australia, the decrease in Crude birth rate from 1975 to 2001 was even less than Singapore (3.7 for Australia compared to 5.6 in Singapore ) due to the country’s size, and already small population compared to the other countries. Crude death rate in Singapore in 1975 was 17.6 and this is significantly lower than the other countries except Australia. This is due to a number of factors. Diseases such as the Ebola virus, AIDS virus in Nigeria and malaria in many rural parts of Thailand, Indonesia and The Philippines, lack of clean water and sanitation in many rural areas, lack of health care, war such as ethnic and religious tensions in Nigeria and Indonesia and lack of education on proper hygiene and proper nutrition. By 2001, Singapore’s crude death rate reduced by 0.9 to 4. The low death rate is due to the fact that it was already low to start with. The government also set aside funds and care for the elderly with a whole range of insurance plans that provide a full range of care services including old age needs. Charitable organizations with the support of the government also raise funds to provide free or subsidized check-ups for the elderly and rehabilitative services. Also, in Singapore more elderly-friendly features have been installed in homes such as non-slip tiles and emergency buttons for elderly living alone to summon help. In general the decrease in the crude death rate shows us that the country has improved in health care (able to purchase vaccines and better medications such as malaria pills), improved in medical facilities such as clinics and hospitals, improved in hygiene and sanitation, improved in the availability of food, improved in transportation of the food to the people and improved in educating the people on the knowledge of health and healthy behaviour. Infant mortality is also a key factor in death as well as birth rates. In 1980, the infant mortality rate in Singapore was 12 per 1000 live births. This was almost the same for Australia, 11 per 1000 live births, while the other countries were many times more for example Nigeria’s infant mortality rate was almost 10 times higher at 117 per 1000 live births in 1980. When the infant mortality rate is high people tend to have more children in the hope that a few will survive and thus, the birth rate is increased as compared to Nigeria’s crude birth rate which was 50.2 in 1975 with Singapore’s just 17.6 in 1975. Infant mortality is also high in places where infanticide is practiced. By 2001, all countries experienced almost 50% reduction in infant mortality rates ( 31 to 8 in Malaysia, 12-3 in Singapore) except for Nigeria, which reduced by just 7 to 110 per 1000 live births in 2001. This clearly indicates that the medical facilities and health care has not improved significantly. Also, the prevalence of diseases such as the AIDS virus plays a vital role in Nigeria. Life expectancy helps us predict how long a person will live in a particular country. If it is low, then the country is less developed with a lower level of standard of living, lower levels of medical facilities and lower amounts of proper nutrition. In 1980, Singapore’s life expectancy was 71 higher than the countries in the region but still 3 less than Australia. In 2001, it increased to 78 and remained higher than the countries in the region but still 1 less than Australia. How much the life expectancy increases will tell us how much the country has improved medically, nutritionally and economically. For example Malaysia’s life expectancy improved from 67 to 73 from 1980 to 2001 while that of Nigeria’s didn’t improve at all and stayed at 46. From this we know that Malaysia has made more significant developments from 1980 to 2001. Looking at the total population of the countries, we can see that all of them increased from 1980 to 2001. The amount of increase depends on the birth rate, death rate, infant mortality as well as migration and emigration ( in the case of Singapore which depends a lot on foreign labour ). The amount of increase whether a small one or a large one shows how much the country has grown economically as it can support a larger population. For example, Malaysia’s population increased by 72% from 1980 to 2001 with a rise from 13.8 mil to 23.8 mil. This together with a significant drop in infant mortality and death rate and an increase in birth rate and life expectancy shows that the country has both the land space and is improving economically with sufficient nutrition for its people as it can support such a large increase in population. For Singapore, although the population rose by 70.4% from 1980 to 2001 with a rise from 2.4 mil to 4.1 mil it still remained a low 4.1 mil. This shows that the land space is limited and it cannot support a very large population. The labour force force shows the number of people supporting the population. The bigger the labour force, generally the better the improvement of the country as it shows that a higher percentage of people are able to get jobs, less are unemployed and more are skilled. In Singapore the labour force was 1 mil supporting 2.4 mil in 1980 and 2 mil supporting 4.1 mil in 2001.Although it grew by 100% it is still very small and has to tap on foreign talent to supplement the work force. Carbon dioxide emission per capita and commercial energy use per capita shows the development of the country as the bulk of it is used in industries. For Singapore, CO2 emission per capita was 13.7 metric tons in 1999, more than the ASEAN countries but lower than that of Australia, 18.2 metric tons. This shows the industrial edge Singapore has over her neighbours. Also, the amount of increase shows the amount the country has improved in the industrial sector. For example, Malaysia emission of CO2 increased by 170% from 2.0 metric tons in 1980 to 5.4 metric tons. Thailand had the most increase, almost 267% from 0.9 metric tons to 3.3 metric tons but a part of this is due partly to the number of vehicles and the number of traffic congestions in places such as Bangkok. Singapore used the most amount of oil by 2001, 6120 kg, even more than Australia, 5744 kg. This shows that the improvement made by the country in an economic sense such as the industrial sector, for example setting up of Jurong Island, as well as the improvements made in the standard of living, for example more people owning cars. This can be compared with Nigeria which had its oil consumption decreased by 4% from 1980 to 2001 with a decrease from 743 kg of oil to 710 kg of oil.