The articles contained in this Issue are:
(i)Twenty-five Years of Transition in Asia’s Population and Development:A Review of Progress and Potential. Its abstract reads: “The Asian and Pacific region is in the midst of profound transformation, and the process that accelerated since the middle of the twentieth century has had impacts on every facet of human life. Unprecedented growth in population has been recorded during this period, a trend that will continue well into the twenty-first century, albeit at a declining pace. The region, especially since the 1980s, has also seen rapid economic growth and social progress, despite concerns raised by many that population growth would impede development and progress. Yet, change has not been uniform, and a number of factors account for the extreme diversity that exists today among countries and population groups. Still, despite significant challenges, there is promise that the rapid transformation heralds a future that is far more promising than what appeared a mere half century ago.”
(ii) Empowerment of Women and its Impact on Population. The abstract of this article describes: “The data presented in this article from selected Asian and Pacific Countries show that in the last two decades women have gained significantly in economic and social spheres, such as literacy, enrolment rates, gender inequality in education, age at marriage and participation in formal economic activities. Along with improvements in these empowerment measures, the region has also experienced substantial reductions in fertility, infant and child mortality, and maternal mortality and reported increases in use of contraception. However, not all countries in the Asian and Pacific region have made enough or equal progress in empowering women. Compared with women in many countries in East and South-East Asia, a significant proportion of young South Asian women remain deprived of education beyond the primary level and marry early, with adverse implications for their own health and that of their children.
(iii) Youth and Their Changing Economic Roles in Asia. Its abstract contains: “The youth population of Asia is in the midst of a remarkable transformation with enormous implications for the future of the region. Rapid population growth of the youth population is beginning to ease and to decline in China and other low fertility Asian countries. An increase in spending on human capital has accompanied the decline in fertility rates, however, so that incoming cohorts of youth will be smaller but much more educated than in the past. The rise in education and other factors have influenced the transition into adulthood for youth. They are staying longer in school and entering the labour force at a later age supported by a combination of public and private transfers. A willingness to invest in youth has been an essential element to realizing the benefits of the demographic dividend in Asia.”
(iv) Changing Family Sizes, Structures and Functions in Asia. Its abstract narrates: ”Throughout Asia, family change is occurring, although trends vary significantly between subregions and countries. In most cases common elements are rising levels of female education and labour force participation, reductions in gender-based divisions of labour, fertility decline (partly due to postponement of marriage) and increasing rates of divorce. Families are generally growing smaller. The average age at marriage is rising for both males and females throughout Asia, although from a base that varies greatly. Ageing of populations is a nearly universal trend and, although the proportions of older persons living with a child or grandchild are much higher than in the West, they are tending to decline. The relative roles of family, community and State in supporting the older persons is one of the key issues for the future.”
(v) Migration and Asia: Reflections on Continuities and Change. The abstract of this article describes: “The 25 years since the Asia-Pacific Population Journal was first published have seen momentous change both globally and within Asia. In 1986, Japan was one of the most dynamic economies in the world, with the four “Tiger” economies of Hong Kong, then still a colony, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan Province of China and Singapore not far behind. The reforms in China, implemented from 1979, were well under way but the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had still a few more years of existence before a series of independent nation States were to appear in Central Asia. The term “globalization” had yet to make its way into mainstream development discourse but it is Asia’s uneven but dramatic development, political, social and economic, over those 25 years that has moulded and guided population migrations both within and from the region. Equally, it is Asia’s changing position in the world as it has come to challenge the West that has contributed to and been a result of these changing population flows.