World

 

More people lived in urban than rural areas for the first time ever in 2007. This year it is estimated that 54 per cent of the world’s population live in cities and by 2050 it is predicted to hit 66 per cent, a mirror image of the two-thirds living in rural areas at the mid-point of the twentieth century. This is expected to come about as development fuels mass internal migration in Africa and Asia. The UN makes no effort to standardise individual countries definitions of urban: population numbers, density and the proportion not working in agriculture and other are all used by different statistical offices.

Emily Cadman

What to do about British manufacturing? There is hardly a politician in the country who hasn’t called for the sector to get a boost. But the Office for National Statistics is set to stress today that popular perceptions manufacturing is disappearing from the UK are wide of the mark.

New analysis, to be presented by ONS chief economist Joe Grice at a conference on the changing shape of manufacturing, will focus on the sector’s move up the value chain despite an unquestioned reduction in employee numbers. Read more >>

Keith Fray

Estimates of Chinese gross domestic product, released this morning, showed that the rate of growth has sunk to its lowest since the financal crisis. Double-digit expansion may be a thing of the past, but China’s economy is now four times larger than it was at the turn of the century. Measuring China’s GDP using purchasing power parity, the International Monetary Fund estimates that China’s economy will be bigger than the US’s by the end of the year.

More than half of children born in Britain in 2013 had a mother above the age of 30. For the first time since the government began keeping track. The mean age has been rising since a record low in the mid-1970s, after it fell from 29 just before the second world war. The average used by the Office for National Statistics is standardised to take account of the changes in the age distribution of the whole and allows the trends over time to be understood.

A hundred years ago just four countries allowed women to vote: New Zealand, Australia, Finland and Norway. Two world wars accelerated the process, leading to big jumps in the number of countries that granted women the right to vote. Although the breakup of empires following world war one and two also led to big increases in the number of countries. By the year 2000, 147 countries allowed women to vote alongside men.

 

More migrants die crossing the Mediterranean than any other border in the world. In total the Mediterranean accounts for 75 per cent of the world’s migrant deaths. So far this year the Italian navy’s Mare Nostrum rescue operation has saved 100,000 migrant who tried to make the crossing but it is set to be replaced by a smaller and EU-managed force known as Triton.

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