Saturday, January 22, 2011

Birth Rate Swings – An Amazing Video

My regular day job involves the analysis of lots of data. I love data. I know you can spin a great tale with amazing clarity - using data. You can also lie with it (not something I recommend).

I came across an absolutely amazing visual the other day – a time-lapse look at the birth rate and average life-span of the countries of the world. You can see this graphic at this link. You can hit the “Play” button and watch the entire fifty years before your eyes. Or, better, you can grab the slider at the bottom and move it around at will.

The graph plots three things – the average life expectancy in years of each nation (x-axis), the average number of births per woman for the year in question (y-axis), and the relative population of the nation (shown as the size of the bubble). Note that you can pause play at any point and hover over any bubble to see the nation name.

Here are some interesting things to note:

• The number of births per woman in China drops remarkably – from around six in 1966, to less than two by 1996. Think about that – the family culture in China changed that dramatically in a mere thirty years, primarily because of government mandates to plan and abort.

• Drag the slider from 1966 through 1977 and then on to 1990. Watch the little blue circle which represents Cambodia – this country goes from an average life expectancy of 45 down to a mere 33 by 1977 (remember, that’s the average at that time!) and then back up to 55. What happened during that time? The rise of the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot, and the Cambodian-Vietnamese war.

• A similar thing happens to the little blue circle representing Rwanda – start the slider at 1983, where the average life expectancy is 47, then drag it to 1993, where the average person only lived to be 26! The speed of that little circle moving to the left is dramatic. During the genocide in Rwanda, it’s estimated that 800,000 people were murdered in under 100 days.

• Drag the entire length of the graph and watch the big orange circle (India) and the big blue circle (China) and how much bigger they get over the 50 year span. China doubles her population during this time frame, and India triples hers.

• Lest we forget things going on in our own country (the largest pink circle), my wife pointed out to me the dramatic decrease in births per woman in the United States – from 3.65 in 1960 to just 2.1 today. Drag the slider carefully around the year 1973 – what happened around that time frame? It was the passage of Roe vs. Wade in this nation.

The dramatic reduction in birth rate over this fifty year span has not “fixed” anything in our culture. Things continue to get worse. As I pointed out in my previous post, population control is not what God is about. The more people who are born with the chance to worship the Lord, the more potential for praise and glory are able to be given to Him. This graph is a sad testament to man’s attempt to “fix” what he thinks is broken with this world. But population isn’t the problem – sin is the problem. And the answer is not trees, birth control or family planning. The answer is Jesus Christ.

1 comment:

Grace said...

Wow...I don't know what else to say. This is disturbing to say the least. It's good that life expectancies have increased but the amount of births is just completely disturbing.