Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Typical of News – leaves it up to the imagination!

Just recently, the Daily Mirror reported that marriages had declined over the past four years every year. So in 2011 when there were 200,214 marriages, by 2014 it had dropped to 175,728.

No explanations were given, no hints at possibilities just stating a fact. This was attributed to the Census Department, so the explanation was presumably for them to make, which they had failed to give in the article, see link.

Of course it is for us to speculate. Would it have something to do with a birth rate decline and total births declining 20 years earlier, once the baby boom generation had produced kids? I don’t know. However it would have been useful to give some rational explanations as to why it would have happened.

It is very IMPORTANT that we take these statistics and make important planning and policy decisions, before we face an unforeseen problem. It is always best to foresee an outcome, when we have date from which we can extrapolate.

The 12% decline in marriages is statistically significant, especially as it has been on a steadily declining trend, and explanations will help us in determining if people are either getting married late, or there is a shortage of marriageable age males!

On the other hand environmental factors that may have affected fertility then is finally resulting in this, and could be a sign of declining population earlier than we envisaged. With declining fertility rates, we must look at other patterns, of whether it is due to education, where people decide wantonly to have fewer kinds or if it is environmental, where pollution and other factors, affect male and female reproductive capacity.

Only once we have some answers to these questions can we begin to take practical steps to correct an imbalance, if that is what is required, or explain away factors such as the forced separation of married women of reproductive age for long periods from their homes by foreign employment, affecting the family size.

Sri Lanka has been pretty adept at keeping various census data through the years, but has been impossibly inept in interpreting the data available to assist the Government in making correct forecasts for policy planning purposes.   

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