The History Of The World Population Growth

The UN calculates that there are more than 7 billion living humans on Earth, yet 200 years ago we numbered less than 1 billion. Recent estimates suggest that 6.5 percent of all people ever born are alive right now. This is the most conspicuous fact about world population growth: for thousands of years, population grew only slowly, but in recent centuries it has jumped dramatically. Between 1900 and 2000 the increase in world population was three times greater than the entire previous history of humanity– an increase from 1.5 to 6.1 billion in just 100 years.

A picture of world population in the very long-run fits the pattern of exponential growth (when a population grows exponentially the rate of growth is proportional to the size of the population). Yet an empirical observation of how growth rates have developed in the course of the last century reveals that this pattern no longer holds. The annual rate of population growth has recently been going down. A long historical period of accelerated growth has thus come to an end; the annual world population growth rate peaked in 1962, at around 2.1%, and has come down to almost half since.

Based on these observations, world history can be divided into three periods marked by distinct trends in population growth. The first period (pre-modernity) was a very long age of very slow population growth. The second period, beginning with the onset of modernity (with rising standards of living and improving health) and lasting until 1962, had an increasing rate of growth. Now that period is over, and the third part of the story has begun; the population growth rate is falling and will likely continue to fall, leading to an end of growth towards the end of this century.

In order to study how the world population changes over time it is useful to focus on the rate of change (rather than just levels). The following visualization presents the annual population growth rate, superimposed on the total world population, for the period 1750-2010 (plus projections up to 2100). This is the period in history when population growth changed most drastically. Before 1800 the world population growth rate never exceeded 0.5%, while in the course of the first fifty years of the 20th century it went from 0.8% to 2.1% – the highest annual growth rate in history, recorded in 1962. After this point, it has been systematically going down with projections estimating an annual rate of growth of 0.06% for 2100. Since the rate of growth corresponds to the slope of the line tracing the total world population over time, this means that under these projections we should expect an inflection in growth around the year 2100. In other words, under the assumption that the population growth rate will continue falling more or less at the current pace, population will stop growing before the end of this century.



Read more »


Trading Is Hazardous to Your Wealth

“Individual investors who hold common stocks directly pay a tremendous performance penalty for active trading. Of 66,465 households with accounts at a large discount broker during 1991 to 1996, those that trade most earn an annual return of 11.4 percent, while the market returns 17.9 percent. The average household earns an annual return of 16.4 percent, tilts its common stock investment toward high-beta, small, value stocks, and turns over 75 percent of its portfolio annually. Overconfidence can explain high trading levels and the resulting poor performance of individual investors. Our central message is that trading is hazardous to your wealth.



The white bar represents the net annualized geometric mean return for February 1991 through January 1997 for individual investor quintiles based on monthly turnover, the average individual investor, and the S&P 500. Read more »


The Changes in SDR Weights After China’s Yuan Joined IMF Currency Basket

September 30, 2016

In the most recently concluded review (November 2015), the Executive Board decided that the Chinese renminbi (RMB) met the existing criteria for SDR basket inclusion and therefore, effective October 1, 2016, would join the SDR basket, along with the U.S. dollar, euro, Japanese yen, and pound sterling.

The weights of the five currencies in the new SDR basket based on the new formula are listed below:

  • U.S. dollar 41.73 percent (compared with 41.9 percent at the 2010 Review)
  • Euro 30.93 percent (compared with 37.4 percent at the 2010 Review)
  • Chinese renminbi 10.92 percent
  • Japanese yen 8.33 percent (compared with 9.4 percent at the 2010 Review)
  • Pound sterling 8.09 percent (compared with 11.3 percent at the 2010 Review)

The Chinese RMB met all conditions and operational requirements for being determined freely usable and to be added in the SDR basket at the time of the Executive Board’s decision on November 30, 2015. It was decided to make the new basket effective October 1, 2016 to allow the Fund and its member’s prepare for operations using the RMB.

The next review of the method of valuation of the SDR will take place by September 30, 2021, unless an earlier review is warranted by developments in the interim.

The Review of the Method of Valuation of the Special Drawing Right (SDR) basket is conducted every five years by the IMF’s Executive Board, or earlier if warranted by developments. The purpose of the review is to ensure that the SDR basket reflects the relative importance of major currencies in the world’s trading and financial systems, with a view to enhancing the SDR’s attractiveness as an international reserve asset. The latest review was completed on November 30, 2015.

Read more »


Harvard Management Company: Annual Endowment Report, Sep. 2016

“For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2016, the return on the Harvard endowment was (2.0)%, resulting in a relative return to its benchmark of (300) basis points. The value of the endowment on June 30, 2016, was $35.7 billion. The low interest rate environment and market volatility of the past fiscal year presented a number of challenges to generating returns. However, we recognize that execution was also a key factor in this year’s disappointing results.



The last ten years, inclusive of the global financial crisis, have been challenging for the Harvard endowment. However, over the last twenty years the endowment has returned 10.4% annualized, exceeding the average annual return on the benchmark portfolio of 7.7%. The value of $1,000 invested in the Harvard endowment has significantly outpaced both a traditional US and Global 60/40 mix of stock and bonds over the same time period. Read more »


Capitalization Ratios for Global Systemically Important Banks (GSIBs)

Source: Federal Reserve Y-9C Reports, Securities and Exchange Commission Form 10-K, SNL Financial (Data update as of September 12, 2016).


Tier 1 Capital is a measure of bank’s financial strength, and assigns different weightings to less risky assets. It also includes other instruments that can absorb losses, rather than just focusing on the value of the bank’s equity capital. US regulators have traditionally focused on the leverage ratio, while European regulators have focused on Tier 1 Capital.

The leverage ratio is a measure of a bank’s financial sustainability, and shows how much equity capital a lender has against assets such as loans. Regulators like the leverage ratio because it’s a fairly simple measure of how active a bank is compared to its equity capital and is difficult for a lender to manipulate. The US calculation includes the amount of derivatives banks have on their books. A higher percentage suggests a bank is in a better position to weather losses and defaults.

Read more »


The Big Mac Index and The Purchasing-Power Parity

Big Mac index was invented by The Economist in 1986 as a lighthearted guide to whether currencies are at their “correct” level. It is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity (PPP), the notion that in the long run exchange rates should move towards the rate that would equalise the prices of an identical basket of goods and services (in this case, a burger) in any two countries. For example, the average price of a Big Mac in America in July 2016 was $5.04; in China it was only $2.79 at market exchange rates. So the “raw” Big Mac index says that the yuan was undervalued by 45% at that time.

Burgernomics was never intended as a precise gauge of currency misalignment, merely a tool to make exchange-rate theory more digestible. Yet the Big Mac index has become a global standard, included in several economic textbooks and the subject of at least 20 academic studies. For those who take their fast food more seriously, we have also calculated a gourmet version of the index. Below there are the data as of July 2016.


Raw index















Read more »


Mapping the World’s Jewish Population and Migration Patterns

The map and chart below show where the biggest Jewish populations live and how this has changed over the past century. In 1939, Jews numbered 16.5m people, up from 10.6m in 1900. By the end of the second world war, the Nazis had wiped out one-third of them, sweeping away a thousand years of Jewish civilisation in central and eastern Europe. The death toll might have been even higher, but a flurry of pogroms that started 60 years earlier across the then-tsarist empire had sent waves of Jewish emigrants westward. By the time Hitler struck, some 6m Jews were safe in North and South America and in Britain, with 3m more living in the Soviet Union. From 1948, most of the Jews of north Africa and the Levant emigrated. The break-up of the Soviet Union brought the latest big wave of Jewish migration to Israel in the early 1990s.


Read more »


The charts all inflation watchers need to see

“Getting the inflation call right is one of the most important decisions an investor can make today. Inflation expectations are quite soft, and it’s important to consider such market-based inflation measures in any inflation outlook. The two charts below may be of help as well.

We have seen an incredibly robust period of hiring in the United States, and even if payroll growth is likely to slow somewhat going forward, job gains have greatly outpaced total labor force growth over the past several years. As a result, there are numerous signs that firming wages are on the way, if not here already. Average hourly earnings rose last month at a year-over-year growth rate of 2.6%. Other recent wage growth indicators have also increased solidly, meaning an extended period of fairly anemic wage growth may have come to an end amid increasing labor market tightness. One implication of stronger wage growth: a changing U.S. inflation picture. The chart below shows how stronger wage growth has supported core inflation lately.


Read more »


Vanguard: The Disruptive Innovation Company

Vanguard is one of the world’s largest investment companies, offering a large selection of low-cost mutual funds, ETFs, advice, and related services. From its start in 1975, Vanguard has stood out as a very different kind of investment firm. Vanguard was founded on a simple but revolutionary idea—that a mutual fund company should be managed in the sole interest of its fund shareholders. Founder John C. Bogle structured Vanguard as a client-owned mutual fund company with no outside owners seeking profits.

  • More than $3 trillion in global assets under management, as of December 31, 2015
  • About 175 U.S. funds (including variable annuity portfolios) and about 145 additional funds in markets outside the United States, as of December 31, 2015
  • More than 20 million investors, in about 170 countries, as of December 31, 2015
  • Average expense ratio: 0.18% (U.S. fund expenses as a percentage of 2015 average net assets)


Vanguard is different from the rest

Vanguard's unique ownership structure, the Vanguard funds own Vanguard

Read more »


Religiosity is the Highest in World’s Poorest Nations

“Gallup surveys in 114 countries in 2009 show that religion continues to play an important role in many people’s lives worldwide. The global median proportion of adults who say religion is an important part of their daily lives is 84%, unchanged from what Gallup has found in other years.

Each of the most religious countries is relatively poor, with a per-capita GDP below $5,000. This reflects the strong relationship between a country’s socioeconomic status and the religiosity of its residents. In the world’s poorest countries – those with average per-capita incomes of $2,000 or lower – the median proportion who say religion is important in their daily lives is 95%. In contrast, the median for the richest countries – those with average per-capita incomes higher than $25,000 – is 47%.

Religion by Income.gif

Read more »


WordPress Themes