UN Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs,
with support from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)

96-12: Population Today, Vol. 24, No. 12, December 1996


This newsletter is being made available by the Population Information 

Network (POPIN) of the United Nations Population Division/DESIPA and the 

Population Reference Bureau, with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon 



                            Population Today

          Monthly newsletter of the Population Reference Bureau

                     December 1996, Vol 24, No. 12

     Please note: The graphics that appeared in the printed copy

of Population Today have not been included here. For a complete

copy of Population Today, send $2.00 to Population Reference

Bureau,1875 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 520, Washington, D.C.


     In this issue:  **  Census 2000 Plan, Family Planning Aid

Controversial on Capitol Hill  **  Are More Immigrants the

Answer to U.S. Population Aging? **  Spotlight on Hong Kong **

News and Resources **  1996 Annual Index  **


     Census 2000 Plan, Family Planning Aid Controversial on

Capitol Hill

By Paola Scommegna

     Eager to adjourn in early October and under pressure to

prevent a government shut-down, Congress passed a flurry of

spending bills with less of the usual wrangling. Some federal

programs fared quite well. The 2000 Census was not among them.

     In the 1970s and 1980s, Congress appropriated most of

what the Commerce Department requested for the decennial

census. Not so nowadays. Congress funded the 2000 Census at

$84.1 million for fiscal 1997, about $20 million short of the

agency's request. Last year's appropriation fell $10 million

short of the amount requested.

     While the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of

Economic Analysis also were funded significantly below their

requests, most other federal statistical agencies received

close to what they requested (see table, p. 2).

     "Congress tends to think two years ahead at most," said

Ed Spar, executive director of the Council of Professional

Associations on Federal Statistics, a group that follows

government action for federal data users. "Congress wants to

cut funds now, while the Census Bureau is laying the

groundwork for a census four years from now."

     Also, the controversy over the 1990 undercount

undermined Congress' confidence in the Census Bureau,

according to Spar.

     "Census officials need to do a better job convincing Congress

how the money will be used and what impact the cuts will

have," he said.

     That lack of confidence on Capitol Hill was reflected in

opposition to the Census Bureau's 2000 Census plan. To save

money and avoid an undercount, the Census Bureau proposed

reaching at least 90 percent of the households in each county

with the mail-in form or a personal visit, then using

statistical sampling methods to complete the count.

     The plan has been altered to respond to criticism from

members of the Congressional Black Caucus. They were concerned

that census workers would focus their efforts on easier-to-

reach suburban residents and use sampling for harder-to-reach

inner-city dwellers, leading to another minority undercount.

The Bureau now plans to begin sampling after reaching 90

percent of each census tract rather than each county. Census

tracts are much smaller and tend to be more homogenous than


     The harshest criticism of the sampling plan came in a

report by the staff of the House subcommittee that oversees

Census Bureau operations. The report, Sampling and Statistical

Adjustment in the Decennial Census: Fundamental Flaws,

questioned whether sampling would improve accuracy. It also

argued that using sampling would undermine public confidence

in the census and open up the final count to political


     "While the report doesn't have the force of law, it is a

clear statement of sentiment that the Census Bureau will have

to deal with," said Michael Buckley of the Consortium of

Social Science Associations, a group that lobbies Congress on

behalf of social science research.

     He predicts that concerns over sampling will be raised

early in the next congressional session.

Restrictions on international family planning aid continue

     Funding for international population programs in the

foreign aid bill also was contentious this fiscal year. The

Administration was able to eliminate the House-passed "Mexico

City" provisions, which would have put restrictions on U.S.

family planning funds that go to agencies that also provide

abortion services overseas. The President is reported to have

threatened to veto the omnibus spending bill (it included

eight other large appropriations bills) if the Mexico City

provisions had been included. But in the final compromise, the

Administration accepted restrictions on the release of

population aid funds similar to those imposed last fiscal


     Overall, foreign aid fared better this year than last: A

slight increase brought the total to $12.3 billion. Population

programs through the U.S. Agency for International Development

are funded at no more than $385 million_a compromise between

the House-passed level of $365 and the Senate level of $410.

Although the fiscal year began October 1, the restrictions

prevent this money from being available before July 1, 1997.

The funds then will be released in monthly installments, each

representing 8 percent of the total.

     To make fiscal 1997 funds available earlier than July,

the new law requires the assent of both the President and

Congress. By February 28, the President must report to

Congress that the delay in funding is hampering the activities

of international family planning programs, and Congress must

vote to accept the President's findings. If this occurs, funds

will start to be released March 1; if not, the funds will not

be released until July.

     U.S. funding for the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) was set

at no more than $25 million. The bill requires that U.S. funds

to this UN agency be kept in a separate account, none of the

money be spent in China, and the total U.S. contribution be

reduced dollar for dollar by the amount of other donors' money

that the UNFPA spends in China.

Unfinished business

     The full Senate never considered the Family Privacy

Protection Act, which would make survey research on minors

more difficult.  The bill requires written parental consent

before minors can participate in most types of federally

funded research.  Although numerous social science research

associations opposed it, the legislation passed the House last

April as part of the House Republicans' "Contract with

America." Observers expect it to be reintroduced in the next

session of Congress.

     Another bill expected to be reintroduced next session is

the Statistical Confidentiality Act. This legislation would

allow federal statistical agencies such as the Census Bureau

and the Internal Revenue Service to exchange information and

avoid duplicating each other's efforts, but protect the

confidentiality of individuals.


Are More Immigrants the Answer to U.S. Population Aging?

By Thomas Espenshade and Jessica C. Gurcak

     The U.S. population is steadily aging, the result of

both longer average lifetimes and low birth rates. This aging will

force increases in health expenditures, change retirement policies,

have profound effects on Social Security, and may divert

resources currently devoted to children. The median age of the

U.S. population rose from about 28 years in 1970 to 34.6 years

in 1996, and is projected to reach 38 years in 2050 in the

Census Bureau's latest middle-series projections.

     To counteract population aging, some researchers suggest

that more immigrants might help reduce the burden of elderly

on the nation by increasing the number of working-age people.

1 Immigrants are assumed to make a population younger because

the majority are under age 30. The median age of new U.S.

immigrants in 1995 was 28, roughly six years lower than that

of U.S. residents. A careful look at the data, however,

suggests that current levels of immigrants have only a limited

impact on the share of elderly in the U.S. population.

     In 1990, 12.5 percent of the population was over 65

years of age. If no immigration were to occur and fertility

and mortality continued at a moderate level, in the year 2050,

22.3 percent of the population would be over 65. If net

immigration were held to 300,000 per year, 20.9 percent would

be over 65 in 2050, compared with 20.0 percent at 820,000

annual immigrants, and 19.4 percent at 1.37 million

immigrants.2 In other words, more immigrants within a range

centered not far from current levels (about 800,000 per year)

would reduce the future percentage of elderly in the

population somewhat, but not bring it much closer to the

current percentage.

     Given that numbers similar to or somewhat above current

immigration are inadequate to halt short-term population

aging, what levels would be necessary? Demographers Dennis

Ahlburg and James Vaupel address this question by examining

the impact of various levels of immigration on the dependency

ratio, which is the ratio of dependent ages (under 18 and 65

and above) to working ages (18-64) (see figure).3

     The only solution found to stabilize the dependency

ratio at its 1990 level of 0.93 (holding fertility at 1.84

lifetime births per woman and constant 1987 mortality levels)

requires immigration of 2 million per year by 2020 and 10

million per year by 2080. In 2030, the dependency ratio would

reach 1.1, but it would be down to 0.94 in 2080. If

contemporary experience is any guide, the American public

would be unwilling to tolerate such high levels of

immigration. Moreover, with immigration at this level, the

total U.S. population would grow to 700 million, almost three

times the 1990 population.

     Another possibility is to use temporary or "guest"

workers to reduce dependency ratios. Several nations,

including the United Arab Emirates, Germany, and France, have

used such programs in the past. The advantage of temporary

workers is that, taken as a whole, they do not age; as one set

of temporary workers grows old, they return to their home

countries and are replaced by a fresh group of young workers.

While in theory this type of program might be successful in

lowering dependency ratios, in practice nations have had

difficulty repatriating guest workers. In fact, many become

permanent residents, even sending for more family members to

join them in the host country. Therefore, a temporary worker

program is likely to produce demographic consequences similar

to those of permanent immigration.

     The United States already has a de facto temporary

worker program. About 2 million illegal immigrants are

estimated to enter the country each year.4 However, official

statistics cite net illegal immigration at only 200,000 per

year. Therefore, it seems that upwards of 90 percent of all

illegal migrants who enter the United States leave after

working a short period. Assuming that illegal immigrants are

on average no older than legal immigrants, the yearly fresh

supply of young illegal immigrants might theoretically serve

the same purpose as a temporary worker program, especially if

it were the only source of immigration to the United States

and if a way were found to ensure all undocumented migrants

paid taxes.

     But in practice any policy that encourages illegal

immigration would be impossible to maintain. Undoubtedly,

public sentiment would oppose a program that curtailed legal

immigration and at the same time favored large waves of

illegal immigrants.  Moreover, relaxing controls on illegal

immigration might prompt more undocumented migrants to stay,

thereby nullifying the justification for allowing large

numbers of illegal immigrants to enter in the first place.

     Our analysis indicates that using immigration to

manipulate a population's age distribution is an unwieldy

tool, ineffective on a small scale and impractical on a large

one. In addition to being unrealistic from a demographic

perspective, it is also unlikely that massive increases in

immigration would appeal to the American public.

     So what, then, is the solution to U.S. population aging,

if immigration is an unrealistic alternative? Inducing the

public to die sooner is out of the question. While fertility

levels may rise, this will be temporary at best. The most

promising approach lies in living with population aging rather

than trying to prevent it. Public policies need to be

implemented that will cope effectively with an aging

population, planning ahead for an increased burden of



1.   R. Holzmann, "Aging and Social Security Costs," European

Journal of Population 3(1987): 411-37.

2.   Jennifer Cheeseman Day, "Population Projections of the

United States by Age, Sex, Race and Hispanic Origin: 1995 to

2050," U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports

P25-1130 (1996).

3.    Dennis A. Ahlburg and James W. Vaupel, "Immigration and

the Dependency Burden," International Population Conference,

Montreal, 1993, vol. 4 (Liege, Belgium: International Union

for the Scientific Study of Population, 1993): 61-71.

4.   Thomas J. Espenshade, "Undocumented Migration to the

United States: Evidence from a Repeated Trials Model," In

Undocumented Migration to the United States: IRCA and the

Experience of the 1980s, eds. Frank Bean, Barry Edmonston, and

Jeffrey Passel (Washington, DC: The Urban Institute Press,

1990): 159-81.

     This piece was adapted from an article by Thomas J.

Espenshade, "Can Immigration Slow U.S. Population Aging?"

Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 4, vol. 13 (1994):


     Thomas J. Espenshade is Professor of Sociology and Faculty

Associate of the Office of Population Research, Princeton

University. Jessica C. Gurcak is a junior majoring in

economics at Princeton University.


Hong Kong

Population: 6.4 million

Land area: 380 square miles

Births: 12 per 1,000 population

Deaths: 5 per 1,000 population

Infant deaths: 5 per 1,000 live births

Natural increase: 0.7 percent per year

Total fertility: 1.2 births per woman

Life expectancy: 75(male)/81(female)

By Yushi Li

     Hong Kong will revert to Chinese sovereignty on July 1,

1997, as a Special Administrative Region of China. According

to the Basic Law_the new constitution_Hong Kong residents will

retain for 50 years many of the freedoms and rights they have

now. But many wonder how China's Communist government will

change life in Hong Kong, and many residents have made plans

to leave before July 1997.

     Hong Kong was a territory of China until 1841. After

defeating China in the First Opium War (1840-1842), Britain

forced China to cede the land of Hong Kong in a series of

treaties between the two governments. China always considered

those treaties to be unjust.

     Hong Kong is located on the southeast coast of mainland

China just 80 miles southeast of Canton. About two-fifths the

size of Rhode Island, Hong Kong consists of Hong Kong Island,

Stonecutter's Island, the Kowloon Peninsula, the New

Territories, and various surrounding islands. Population

density is 14,482 people per square mile, almost double that

of Los Angeles' 7,427 people per square mile in 1990.

     The growth of Hong Kong's economy has been impressive.

It is ranked as the eighth-largest trading entity in the

world, lending this small country international significance.

Industrial growth in Hong Kong and mainland China's

reemergence in world trade have contributed to this financial

success. Hong Kong is a trading center through which China

exports its products to the rest of the world. Over the past

20 years, the economy has quadrupled in size. In 1994, GDP was

US$132 billion and the GDP per capita was US$21,750.

     Hong Kong's population is 98 percent Chinese and 2

percent other nationalities. The majority of Chinese were born

in Hong Kong, but many were born in mainland China and

migrated to Hong Kong_legally or illegally. In 1992, 77

percent of Hong Kong residents were literate. English and

Cantonese are the official languages, but Mandarin is gaining


     Hong Kong led the way with fertility control policies

and programs in the late 1960s and early 1970s. From 1964 to

1994, population growth declined from an average annual rate

of 4.0 percent to 1.2 percent. The total fertility rate (the

number of children a woman will have in her lifetime) dropped

from 1.5 to 1.2 from 1984 to 1995. Contraceptive prevalence is

high at a 1994 rate of 81 percent, matching the United

Kingdom's rate. Condoms and female sterilization are the

methods most commonly used.

     Many educated young women now concentrate on their

careers and delay marriage. This trend has contributed to the

decline in the birth rate over the past 30 years. In 1994, the

median age for first marriage was 30 years for men and 27 for


     Ten years ago, life expectancy for males was 73; for females,

it was 79. In 1995, those values rose to 75 and 81,

respectively. The infant mortality rate has also improved: in

1984, it was 8.8 per 1,000 infants, compared with 5.0 in 1995.

     The significant increase in population (from 4 to 5

million) in the late 1970s was a result of two different

immigration streams. One migrant group came from China.

Another group came from Vietnam after the fall of Saigon in

1975. Soon after 1975, the Hong Kong government severely

restricted immigration. Recently, illegal immigration from

mainland China has accelerated. These immigrants, many of them

pregnant women smuggled into Hong Kong, hope to reap the

benefits of Hong Kong citizenship for themselves and their

children before it reverts to Chinese sovereignty, according

to news reports.

     Since the agreement to return Hong Kong to China was

announced in 1984, many middle- and upper-class people have

emigrated to other countries, including Canada, Australia, and

the United States. Emigration totaled an estimated 20,000 to

30,000 people per year in the 1980s. In 1992, that number

increased to 66,000 people, but slowed to 62,000 in 1994 and

43,100 in 1995.

Yushi Li is a professor in the Department of Sociology,

Anthropology, and Philosophy at Northern Kentucky University.


NCHS in the fast lane

     Users of National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)

data may have been surprised to receive a copy of Births and

Deaths: United States, 1995 in the mail recently. This new

publication is the result of an expedited flow of data

processing that makes birth and death data available much

faster than under past practice.

     The new report contains tables on births and birth rates

by age of mother, percent of births to teenage mothers,

percent of births to unmarried mothers, and a variety of other

topics, much of it shown by state.

     According to the report, overall life expectancy at

birth in the United States rose to 75.8 years from 1994 to

1995. It increased from 72.4 to 72.6 for males, but decreased

for females, from 79.0 to 78.9. The overall increase in life

expectancy, however, was due to the black population's

increase from 69.5 to 69.8. White life expectancy remained

level at 76.5 years.

     This report also gave early notice of a decline in the

percent of births outside marriage, from 32.6 percent in 1994

to 32.0 in 1995.

     This report is part of NCHS's Monthly Vital Statistics Report

series. To order, call (301) 436-8500. NCHS's home page

address is: http://www.cdc.gov/ nchswww/nchshome.htm.

Population film & video festival

     The third annual 1997 World Population Film/Video

Festival is seeking movies by secondary and college students

that look at the links between population growth, resource

consumption, the environment, and the world's future.

     Submissions may be any length and cinematic form.

Entries must be postmarked by June 15, 1997. Contact WPFVF, 46

Fox Hill Road, Bernardston, MA 01337; (800) 638-9464; fax:

(413) 648-9204; e-mail: info@ wpfvf.com; Internet: http://www.


U.S. AIDS growth rate slows

     Fifteen years after the first reports of unusual

pneumonia cases among homosexual men in Los Angeles, the

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that

recent trends show the U.S. epidemic's overall growth rate is


     Estimates of newly diagnosed cases of AIDS and

opportunistic infections caused by AIDS in the United States

indicate that AIDS cases were increasing at a rate of 5

percent or less per year during 1992-1995, down from rates of

increase of at least 10 percent annually during 1990-1992.

     New York, California, Florida, Texas, and New Jersey

have accounted for over half of the cumulative AIDS cases for

the past two years (1994-1996). The three risk factors for

contracting HIV remain the same: male-male sex, intravenous

drug use, and heterosexual sex with a person in a high-risk

group or who has HIV/AIDS.

     The epidemic is maturing at varying rates in different

areas and populations.  Rates are leveling off in the West and

for whites, but are increasing in the rest of the country and

among blacks and Hispanics everywhere.

     Gender is also a factor. The rate for men has

stabilized, while that for women is increasing. According to

the report, the increase for women reflects past HIV

infections contracted through sexual contact, principally with

intravenous drug-using partners, which are now developing into


     Worldwide, an estimated 17 million adults were infected

with HIV through 1994. Since the first infections were

reported, 1.29 million AIDS cases have been reported to the

World Health Organization (WHO) from 193 countries, but the

true number may actually be as high as 6 million. WHO projects

a cumulative total of 30 to 40 million HIV infections by the

year 2000. [CDC, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report 1, vol. 8(1996);

and UNFPA, AIDS Update 1995.]

New books

     Ending the Explosion: Population Policies and Ethics for

a Humane Future. William J. Hollingsworth. Santa Ana, CA:

Seven Locks Press, 1996. 268 pages. $23.95. ISBN: 0-929-765-


     Europe's Population in the 1900s. David Coleman, ed. New

York: Oxford University Press, 1996. 346 pages. $27.00. ISBN:


     Dividing the Waters: Food Security, Ecosystem Health,

and the New Politics of Scarcity. Sandra Postel. Washington,

DC: Worldwatch Institute, 1996. 76 pages. $5.00. ISBN: 1-





     Capitol Hill lawmakers challenge sampling plan for 2000

Census (Aug. p. 3)

     Census 2000 plan, family planning aid controversial on

Capitol Hill (Dec. p. 1)

     Sampling, simplified forms planned for 2000 Census (May

p. 3)

     U.S. ponders retooling its race and ethnic categories

for 2000 Census (Jan. p. 1)


     The calm before the juvenile crime storm? (Sept. p. 4)

One-third of U.S. children in poverty live in working-poor

families (Aug. p. 4)

     Senate to consider restrictions on research on minors

(Aug. p. 3)

     Teens' risk of AIDS, unintended pregnancies examined

(Aug. p. 1)


     The calm before the juvenile crime storm? (Sept. p. 4)

Concentrating poverty breeds violence (June/July p. 5)


     The carrying capacity debate (April p. 5)

"City Summit" to address global urbanization (March p. 4)

     Earth Day feature: Population, consumption, and the

Earth's future (April p. 4)


     Do working moms anticipate the trade-offs? (June/July p.3)

     Most U.S. unwed mothers are not teens (Nov. p. 3)

     One-third of U.S. children in poverty live in working-

poor families (Aug. p. 4)

     Single parenthood hurts immigrants' economic gains (May

p. 4)


     African men want more children than their wives (Oct. p. 3)

     Experts predict increase in overseas abortions, maternal

deaths (April p. 1)

     Family planning aid target of steep cuts (March p. 3)

     Family planning choice still lags in Vietnam (Jan. p. 3)

     Men and family planning: Focus on Egypt (Feb. p. 3)

     Report calls for new revolution in contraceptive

technology (Sept. p. 1)


     Increasing numbers of migrants challenge policymakers

worldwide (May p. 1)

     Single parenthood hurts immigrants' economic gains

(May p. 4)

     Southern California's immigrants progress rapidly (May p. 5)

     Are more immigrants the answer to U.S. population aging?

(Dec. p. 4)


     Capitol Hill lawmakers challenge sampling plan for 2000

Census (Aug. p. 3)

     Census 2000 plan, family planning aid controversial on

Capitol Hill (Dec. p. 1)

     Family planning aid target of steep cuts (March p. 3)

International family planning aid generates renewed

controversy (Aug. p. 3)

     Senate to consider restrictions on research on minors

(Aug. p. 3)


     Concentrating poverty breeds violence (June/July p. 5)

     One-third of U.S. children in poverty live in working-

poor families (Aug. p. 4)

     UN Food Summit tries to focus world attention on hunger

(Nov. p. 1)

     U. S. poverty myths explored (Oct. p. 1)


     Black history month: A look at the trends shaping

African Americans' future (Feb. p. 1)

     Growing diversity shapes the U.S. population at mid-

decade (March p. 1)

     U.S. ponders retooling its race and ethnic categories

for 2000 Census (Jan. p. 1)


     The 1996 Olympics: And the winner isTonga? (Sept. p. 3)

     Play ball!: Demographics and major league baseball

(April p. 3)


     Brazil (Aug. p. 7)

     Burundi (Sept. p. 7)

     Hong Kong (Dec. p. 7)

     India (May p. 7)

     Indonesia (June/July p. 7)

     Kenya (Jan. p. 7)

     Latvia (Oct. p. 7)

     Nicaragua (Nov. p.7)

     South Korea (April p. 7)

     Turkey (March p. 7)

     United Kingdom (Feb. p. 7)


     Growing diversity shapes the U.S. population at mid-

decade (March p. 1)

     Job gains bypass low-skilled Atlantans (June/July p. 4)

     Southern California's immigrants progress rapidly (May

p. 5)


     China's "missing girls": Prospects and policy (Feb. p.4)

     Do working moms anticipate the trade-offs? (June/July p. 3)

     Most U.S. unwed mothers are not teens (Nov. p. 3)


The carrying capacity debate (April p. 5)

     How many people can the Earth support? (Jan. p. 4)

     Increasing numbers of migrants challenge policymakers

worldwide (May p. 1)

     World population expected to reach 6 billion in early

1999 (June/July p. 1)


     A guide to population-related home pages on the World

Wide Web (Oct. p. 4)


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