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The Sustainability of Demographic Progress Around the World

  • David A. PlaneEmail author
Chapter
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Part of the New Frontiers in Regional Science: Asian Perspectives book series (NFRSASIPER, volume 24)

Abstract

In contrast to the current enthusiastic embracing of the concepts of sustainability and adaptation, the idea of progress has, in recent times, fallen out of vogue. Sack (Progress: geographical essays. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2002) noted: “contemporary science rarely thinks of nature in terms of design. Nature is constantly changing, but, generally speaking, it has no preferred direction or goal.” In this paper, I examine the concept of demographic progress and speculate about the types of regional science and population geographic research that will be critically needed as we transition into a post-demographic transition world, one in which countries and people are confronted with the economic and societal issues attendant to population momentum, aging, and shrinking labor forces, together with significant global environmental change. I track the recent course of a number of demographic indicators for countries from around the world to argue the case for an ongoing role for demographic progress. As humans grapple to harmonize their affairs and adapt their socioeconomic systems on a planet now embarking on a radically altered demographic course, I argue that relatively predictable population trends can and should inform a policy-relevant agenda for regional science research capable of contributing to sustainable human progress.

Keywords

Progress Sustainability Population trends Demographic indicators Demographic transition theory 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Geography and DevelopmentUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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