China’s population time bomb is about to explode

“the CCP has recently adopted policies intended to encourage the young generation to have more children. However it’s proving much more difficult to achieve this than it was to bully people to have less. A measure of Xi’s desperation is his de facto order last May that China’s 2 million military personnel must take part. The rest of the population are unimpressed by the various material incentives to increased fertility.
Like it or not, following Xi’s prolonged, ineffective Zero Covid lockdown the young people of China are increasingly inclined to passive resistance to the Party’s transactional interference in their private lives. Since the pandemic hit, Chinese social media have been full of nihilistic, disaffected exchanges between young people about the gap behind Xi’s fabricated ‘China Dream’ and their own hopeless existence. No amount of state censorship has stifled this.

The realities are stark. Last year, 11.6 bn Chinese graduates tried to enter the workforce. One in five is likely to remain unemployed. Others who did find work are victims to an obsolete ethic of unrewarded hard work and sacrifice. They prefer to do the bare minimum and abandon vain hopes of career advancement, an approach known as “lying flat”. Xi has singled this idea out for strong criticism but has nothing to offer in return. Worse still, in one speech he told the young five times to toughen up and learn to “eat bitterness”. They are not the least impressed by his exhortation to ‘seek self-inflicted hardships’ in the new economic normal.

Increasingly, Chinese people realise that their leaders have abandoned all pretence of a reliable social contract in justification for single-party rule. Neither they, nor the free citizens of Taiwan, have the least faith in talk of China’s “glorious rejuvenation”.”

Guns, Germs, and Drugs Are Largely Responsible for the Decline in U.S. Life Expectancy

“So why did U.S. life expectancy trends slow and then peak in 2014? And what, if anything, can policy makers and politicians realistically do to make increasing it a priority? As noted above, the big recent dip largely resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. A 2023 Scientific Reports article “estimated that US life expectancy at birth dropped by 3.08 years due to the million COVID-19 deaths” between February 2020 and May 2022. But let’s set aside that steep post-2020 downtick in life expectancy resulting from nearly 1.2 million Americans dying of COVID-19 infections.

A 2020 study in Health Affairs chiefly attributed the 3.3-year increase in U.S. life expectancy between 1990 and 2015 to public health, better pharmaceuticals, and improvements in medical care. By public health, the authors meant such things as campaigns to reduce smoking, increase cancer screenings and seat belt usage, improve auto and traffic safety, and increase awareness of the danger of stomach sleep for infants. With respect to pharmaceuticals, they cited the significant reduction in cardiovascular diseases that resulted from the introduction of effective drugs to lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

So a big part of what propelled increases in U.S. life expectancy is the fact that the percentage of Americans who smoke has fallen from 43 percent in the 1970s to 16 percent now. Smoking is associated with higher risks of cardiovascular diseases and cancers, rates of which have been dropping for decades. In addition, the rising percentage of Americans who are college graduates correlated with increasing life expectancy.

However, since the 2004 peak, countervailing increases in the death rates from drug overdoses, firearms, traffic accidents, and diseases associated with obesity contributed to the flattening of U.S. life expectancy trends.

A 2021 comprehensive analysis of the recent stagnation and decline in U.S. life expectancy in the Annual Review of Public Health (ARPH) largely concurs, finding that “the proximate causes of the decline are increases in opioid overdose deaths, suicide, homicide, and Alzheimer’s disease.” Interestingly, the U.S. trend in Alzheimer’s disease prevalence has been downward since 2011. In addition, the ARPH review noted that “a slowdown in the long-term decline in mortality from cardiovascular diseases has also prevented life expectancy from improving further.” So enabling and persuading more properly diagnosed Americans to take blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering medications would likely boost overall life expectancy.”

Public Schools Must Face the Reality of Shrinking Enrollment

“there’s every indication that the initial public school enrollment shocks from the pandemic won’t rebound any time soon. Educators need to be prepared for a new normal where school choice programs are widespread, families are increasingly choosing options outside of traditional public schools, and public school spending has to be reined in to serve smaller student populations.
Several factors explain why public school student populations are shrinking. Parents were dissatisfied with the prolonged periods of online learning and forced masking at their schools during the pandemic, and the negative effects on students of keeping schools closed have been well-documented. One analysis from the Associated Press found that from 2019 to 2022, “the average student lost more than half a school year of learning in math and nearly a quarter of a school year in reading.” Many of the deep-blue districts that kept schools closed the longest paid the biggest price for that decision, in terms of both enrollment losses and academic backsliding.

Meanwhile, the private education market seems to be booming. According to a study published in February 2022 by the Urban Institute, the pandemic exodus of students from public schools coincided with a sustained increase in private schooling and homeschooling. The 33 states (plus D.C.) with available data saw a more than 4 percent enrollment jump at private schools between fall 2019 and fall 2021—which is unsurprising, given that private schools returned to in-person learning much more quickly than public schools did.

The private education market is also evolving away from traditional classroom formats. The same Urban Institute study found that the 21 states (plus D.C.) with available data saw a more than 30 percent increase in homeschooling in the same timeframe. “Microschools”—tiny private schools that operate in nontraditional settings such as libraries and churches—have also grown substantially. Mike McShane of the pro–school choice group EdChoice told The Wall Street Journal last month that microschools now likely serve between one and two million students.

If public school enrollment isn’t rebounding after the pandemic waned, that’s a sign that families are largely sticking with these new learning settings. This momentum will likely continue thanks to the flurry of school choice programs that were either adopted or expanded in the 2021, 2022, and 2023 state legislative sessions.

There is another critical piece behind the decline in public school enrollment that shouldn’t be overlooked. NCES projections of stagnating and declining school-age populations in many of the nation’s large and coastal states actually predate both the pandemic and the recent surge of school choice. These two factors seem to have accelerated population changes that many school systems were going to soon confront anyway.”

America’s white majority is aging out

“Generation Z will be the last generation of Americans with a white majority, according to census data. The nation’s so-called majority minority arrived with Generation Alpha, those born since about 2010.
Barely two decades from now, around 2045, non-Hispanic white people will fall below half as a share of the overall U.S. population.

Those conclusions, and the numbers behind them, seem simple enough. Yet, some scholars contend that the numbers are wrong, or at least misleading, and that the looming ascent of a majority-minority America is a myth.”

“: By 2045, more than 18 million people will claim two or more races. Subtract them from the total, and the population of non-Hispanic white people leaps from 49 percent to 52 percent of the remaining population, their majority status restored.

“Whites are going to be the largest group in this country for a long time,” said Richard Alba, distinguished professor emeritus in sociology at the City University of New York.

“In a sense, we’re forming a new kind of mainstream society here, which is going to be very diverse. But whites are going to be a big part of that. It’s not like they’re going to disappear and be supplanted.”

Alba argues that the census itself is “locked into a way of thinking that dates to the 20th century, and that’s the idea that people are only one thing when it comes to ethnicity and race.”

It makes sense: Back in 1980, non-Hispanic white people made up about 80 percent of the American population. Black and Hispanic people, Asian Americans and others split the remaining 20 percent. They were the statistical minority, and demographers used that term to describe them.

Today, multiracial Americans are the fastest-growing racial category in the census, a group projected to double in size between 2020 and 2050.

Alba and others said they believe even that number is a dramatic undercount.

People of mixed race “have relatively fluid identities,” Alba said. “They can think of themselves as white, they can think of themselves as minority, or they can think of themselves as mixed.”

Consider an American with three grandparents who are non-Hispanic white people, and one who is Black, Hispanic or Asian. Simple math suggests labeling that person as white. But long-standing American tradition might favor a “minority” identity.

The practice of labeling mixed-race Americans as minorities dates to the 1600s and the racist “one-drop” rule, which held that a person with any Black ancestry should be counted as Black.

The nation engaged in racial reductivism as recently as 2008, scholars say, when America unblinkingly identified its new mixed-race president as Black.”