Archives for October 2009

Build an Arc Welder from Microwave Ovens: Part 4

The Story So Far

Paul obtained his microwave ovens, wired the garage for 220 volts, extracted the first transformer, and rewinded the secondary. In this segment all he will be doing is to practice with a real arc-welder.

Paul practicing his arc-welding

Paul practicing his arc-welding

Paul decided before he used his homebrew arc-welder (not yet built) he would practice with a factory built arc-welder. He borrowed his grandfather’s arc-welder and tried it out today. He needed a suitable piece of scrap metal which he found in the middle of the road while driving home.

At a suitable distance I took several photographs. My son Steven tells me later that the arc light could damage the sensor in my camera. The welder has the old style 220 volt plug so Paul wasn’t able to use his new outlet in the garage. Our oven uses the older style 220 volt socket so Paul ran the welder from the kitchen.

Paul will be finished with his studies this December so maybe he will have time to finish his own arc-welder. In the meantime check out this video:

External Articles

Build a Microwave Transformer Homemade Stick/Arc Welder Learn from the experts.
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Davis County Early Voting

Jill early voting in the Kaysville City elections

Jill early voting in the Kaysville City elections

This information is for 2009. Do not rely on the information here but use Vote Utah.

I am accustomed to voting early. I don’t feel as rushed because I can pick a day and time that better suits my schedule. Today my wife and I went to Kaysville City town hall to early vote at 2:30 pm. and found there was no waiting. If you wish to early vote then you are too late — today was the last day.

However, there is still the election on Tuesday and I can direct you to information that may be helpful.

Where To Vote

Find election dates, your candiates, registration and voting information

Find election dates, your candiates, registration and voting information

A lot of voting information is located at Leave Your Print. If all you need is to know where to go to vote, wander on over to the Voter Information Website. Enter you name, birth date, county, and house number and your polling place will be shown. The site will also tell you with which party (if any) you are affiliated. A sample ballot is available tailored to your city. Here is where I would go to vote on Tuesday if I hadn’t voted already:

A quick way to find your party affiliation, voting location, and sample ballot.

A quick way to find your party affiliation, voting location, and personalized ballot.

Who To Vote For

The personalized sample ballot is a great help in knowing who is on the ballot. I don’t like to be surprised when I get to the polling booth. My Kaysville City ballot looks like this.

Cities in Davis County will cast votes for mayors and city council members Tuesday 3rd November. Generally one mayor and two council members will be elected. Candidates currently on the ballots include:



  • Joe L. Johnson (Incumbent)
  • Jeffrey L. Novak

City Council

  • Ernie Cox
  • Fred Moss (Incumbent)
  • Thomas B. Tolman (Incumbent)
  • Phill Wright



  • Ron Russell (Incumbent)

City Council

  • Justin Y. Allen (Incumbent)
  • Melissa Hogan
  • Sherri Lyn Lindstrom (Incumbent)
  • Brian M. Plummer



  • Don Wood (Incumbent)

City Council

  • Glen Mills
  • Kathryn Murray (Incumbent)
  • Vern R. Phipps (Incumbent)
  • Bruce L. Young



  • L. Mitch Adams (Incumbent)
  • Carl Rumsey

City Council

  • Blair A. Bateman
  • Joanne Hansen
  • Barbara J. Patterson (Incumbent)
  • Michael Petersen



  • Scott C. Harbertson (Incumbent)

City Council

  • John S. Bilton
  • D. Kevin Poff
  • Jim Talbot
  • Anita Todd

Fruit Heights


  • Todd Stevenson (Incumbent)

City Council

  • Don Caroll (Sagebrush)
  • Bette Hubrich (Sagebrush)
  • Nicole Miller (Pinecone)
  • Eileen Moss (Pinecone, Incumbent)



  • Steve Hiatt
  • Neka F. Roundy (Incumbent)

City Council

  • Brian D. Cook
  • Richard Lenz
  • Gil A. Miller (Incumbent)
  • Jared R. Taylor



  • Steve Curtis (Incumbent)
  • Bob J. Stevenson


  • Mike Bouwhuis (Incumbent)
  • Barry T. Flitton
  • Adam S Gardiner
  • Sherri Lee Tatton

North Salt Lake


  • Leonard K. Arave
  • Lisa Watts Baskin

City Council

  • Matt Hardy (Incumbent)
  • Stewart B. Harman
  • Matt Jensen
  • Hayward B. Oblad

South Weber


  • Jeffery G. Monroe

City Council

  • Sara Lusk
  • Farrell Poll (Incumbent)



  • Chad W. Bangerter
  • Ryan Furniss

City Council

  • Brent L. Andrews
  • Ricky Carlson (Incumbent)
  • Bradford S. Weller



  • Craig Jenkins
  • Jamie Nagle

City Council

  • Matt Kimmel
  • Theresa A. Sheffield
  • Larry D. Shingleton (Incumbent)
  • Robert Whiteley

West Bountiful


  • James Behunin (Incumbent)
  • Ken Romney

City Council

  • George Biada
  • Kent Bond
  • Mark Preece
  • Teresa Thomas

West Point


  • Erik R. Craythorne (Incumbent)
  • Terry Matthews

City Council

  • Andy Dawson (Incumbent)
  • R.Kent Henderson (Incumbent)
  • Shawn Watkins
  • Brogan L. Fullmer

Woods Cross


  • Kent Parry (Incumbent)

City Council

  • Leo Beecher
  • Tamy Dayley (Incumbent)
  • Jon Hadlow (Incumbent)
  • Ryan Westergard

What Bond To Vote For

There is only one bond and if you guessed it was for education you would be right. Seems like there is always a bond for education. The controversy this time around is about whether your taxes will increase or not. The school district claims it is not a true tax increase because an equivalent amount of debt is being paid off. So let’s put it another way: your taxes will decrease if the bond is rejected.

This is the text of the Ballot Proposition:

Official Ballot Proposition for Davis School District, Utah

Special Bond Election
November 3, 2009
Bruce D. Williams
Business Administrator

Shall the Board of Eduction (the “Board”) of Davis School District, Utah (the “District”), be authorized to issue general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed Two Hundred Fifty Million Dollars ($250,000,000) (the “Bonds”) for the purpose of defraying all or a portion of the costs of new school construction, land acquisition, equipment acquisition, and renovation and improvement of existing school facilities, and for payment of expenses reasonably incurred in connection with the acquisition and construction of said improvements and the authorization and issuance of the Bonds; said Bonds to be due and payable in not to exceed twenty-one (21) years from the date of the Bonds?


Passage of this Proposition means that the tax on a $252,000 residence within the District would increase by $156.93 per year.

The tax on a $252,000 business within the District would increase by $285.33 per year.

However, the Board expects to issue the bonds in such a manner that no increase in the current tax rate for debt service will occur.  If the bonds are approved and sold, the current tax rate will continue for more years than if the bonds are not approved.

The foregoing information is only an estimate of tax increases and is not a limit on the amount of taxes that the Board may be required to levy in order to pay debt service on the Bonds.  The Board will be obligated to levy taxes without limitation as to rate or amount in order to pay the Bonds, as provided by law.  The amounts are based on various assumptions and estimates, including estimated debt service on the Bonds and taxable values of property in the District.



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Mormon Church Membership in Utah

General Conference. Photo Credit: LDS Newsroom

General Conference. Photo Credit: LDS Newsroom

Utah Mormon Church Membership

Utah is the most populous state for Mormons in terms of membership (1,823,613) and percentage of the population (68.94%). Utah also has the most stakes (523) and temples (14). Utah is in a three-way tie with Florida and Washington for third place in missions (5).

The table below allows one to compare the Utah membership with other states and to follow the links for additional information.

Utah Mormon History

When the first company of Latter-day Saint pioneers began to journey westward, they did not know their end destination. But on 24 July 1847, when the wagons rolled out of the canyon into the Salt Lake Valley, their destination became apparent. “It is enough,” Church President Brigham Young said as he viewed the valley below. “This is the right place. Drive on.” Young named the area “Deseret,” meaning honeybee, signifying the hive of activity that would soon inhabit the area. The President stayed only 33 days before returning to Winter Quarters in Nebraska to assist other families on their trek. At least 236 pioneer companies of approximately 60,000 pioneers crossed the plains for Utah. With time, they transformed the desert valley into the bustling and prosperous Salt Lake City. (Source: LDS Newsroom)

Table of Mormon Church Membership in the United States

There is a more recent update of this table at U.S. LDS Membership.
Click on the column headers to sort.

State Members % LDS Stakes Wards Missions Temples
Alabama 33,404 0.72 6 41 1 1
Alaska 29,460 4.31 7 48 1 1
Arizona1 368,417 5.81 86 677 4 5
Arkansas 25,296 0.89 5 32 1 0
California 749,490 2.05 159 1,195 17 7
Colorado 133,727 2.75 30 253 3 1
Connecticut 14,338 0.41 4 27 1 0
Delaware 4,585 0.53 1 8 0 0
District of Columbia 2,166 0.37 0 2 0 0
Florida5 129,238 0.71 25 183 5 2
Georgia 72,760 0.76 16 105 3 1
Hawaii 67,106 5.23 15 120 1 2
Idaho 399,427 26.64 115 936 2 4
Illinois 54,424 0.42 12 91 4 2
Indiana 40,139 0.63 11 68 1 0
Iowa 23,301 0.78 7 36 1 0
Kansas 32,116 1.16 7 52 0 0
Kentucky 30,498 0.72 6 40 1 1
Louisiana 27,119 0.63 6 31 1 1
Maine 10,160 0.77 2 14 0 0
Maryland 38,850 0.69 8 66 2 1
Massachusetts 24,114 0.37 4 38 1 1
Michigan 42,422 0.42 8 65 2 1
Minnesota 29,550 0.57 7 52 1 1
Mississippi 20,377 0.70 4 28 1 0
Missouri2 62,217 1.06 14 104 2 2
Montana 44,976 4.70 11 77 1 1
Nebraska 21,890 1.23 4 40 1 1
Nevada 172,330 6.72 33 291 2 2
New Hampshire 8,091 0.61 3 16 1 0
New Jersey 30,280 0.35 5 35 2 0
New Mexico 63,987 3.25 14 89 1 1
New York 74,004 0.38 14 83 4 2
North Carolina 71,737 0.79 15 102 2 1
North Dakota 6,005 0.94 2 7 0 1
Ohio 56,492 0.49 13 91 3 1
Oklahoma 40,683 1.12 7 57 2 1
Oregon 144,808 3.86 36 255 2 2
Pennsylvania3 47,832 0.38 10 74 3 1
Rhode Island 3,608 0.34 0 6 0 0
South Carolina 36,141 0.82 6 46 1 1
South Dakota 9,397 1.18 2 9 1 0
Tennessee 42,102 0.68 10 65 2 2
Texas 269,670 1.13 49 413 8 4
Utah4 1,823,613 68.94 523 4,296 5 14
Vermont 4,302 0.69 1 7 0 0
Virginia 83,225 1.08 19 144 2 0
Washington 253,166 3.91 54 440 5 3
West Virginia 16,491 0.91 4 24 1 0
Wisconsin 23,907 0.43 6 41 1 0
Wyoming 59,970 11.47 16 131 0 0
United States 5,873,408 1.95 1,422 11,151 106 72

Table Notes

1. Gilbert Arizona and Phoenix Arizona Temples announced. Gila Valley Arizona Temple under construction.
2. Kansas City Missouri Temple announced.
3. Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple announced.
4. Brigham City Utah Temple announced.
5. Fort Lauderdale Florida Temple announced.


Membership as of 31 December 2007. Temple information is current. Source: Deseret News 2009 Church Almanac and U.S. Census Bureau National and State population estimates.
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Lose Weight With The Simpleton Diet

Family and friends eating food
If your photograph appears here it does not infer that you should lose weight.

I have been asked by several friends to explain The Simpleton Diet. So here goes.

How much does it cost?

Nothing. Money makes things so complicated, don’t you agree? Besides, nothing is about what it’s worth.

How did The Simpleton Diet get its name?

Its name comes from the fact that even a simpleton can follow it. When I told my wife that I was using The Simpleton Diet she said, “Oh really? That fits.”

How do I get started?

Download the spreadsheet (see below in the section called “The Simpleton Diet Spreadsheet”). To start, you fill in the blue box. All you need is your height in inches (used to calculate your Body Mass Index), the date you want to start, your current weight, and the what you want to weigh at the end of the program.

What else do I have to enter?

At the same time each week weigh yourself and enter your weight in pounds in the orange box. That is it, nothing else to enter.

How is my weight loss goal calculated?

Each week your new weight (hopefully lower) is used to determine the goal for the coming week. Your current weight is simply rounded down to the next whole number. So if you weight 195.7 pounds your goal for the next week is to lose 0.7 pounds. If it was 195.1 it would be 0.1 pounds. If it was 196.0 it would be 1.0 pound. The Simpleton Diet spreadsheet lists the key points of the plan.

How can I lose a lot of weight if the goals are only in tenths of a pound?

Most weeks you will exceed your goal and will lose over a pound.

What should I do if I forget to weigh myself?

Enter the same weight as the week before in the spreadsheet.

What results are measured?

The results are shown in the green box. The one of most interest is the total pounds lost. The average weight loss is also tracked. The most weight lost in a week is shown (as a positive number) and also the least weight lost (shown as a negative number if you gained weight). Weight loss as a percentage is computed and loss of Body Mass Index is displayed. The maximum you can weigh but still be in the BMI normal range is calculated. If you want to be right in the middle of the BMI normal range that weight is also calculated.

What is Body Mass Index?

A measure of someone’s weight in relation to height. To calculate one’s BMI, multiply one’s weight in pounds and divide that by the square of one’s height in inches. The Simpleton Diet spreadsheet has the BMI ranges listed.

Do I have to eat special foods?

No. Remember this is The Simpleton Diet. Special foods would make it complicated.

How I am supposed to lose weight then?

Use your current knowledge and some common sense. For example, people consume a lot of calories through what they drink. So drink more water. If you have a large meal in front of you, save half for later. Eat more salads. Snack on fresh fruits. To prevent boredom eating, compile a list of projects to keep you busy. Check the calories of what you eat and make needed adjustments. Most desserts don’t need to be eaten because you are already full.

Anything else?

Yes, tell your family and friends you are on a diet so that you have an additional incentive to succeed. Oh, and eat hearty!

The Simpleton Diet Spreadsheet

Below is the Simpleton Diet spreadsheet and chart I used to track my weight loss so you can see a real example. From it you can see my start weight was 217.6 with a goal to reach 199 pounds. At the time of writing (26 October) I have lost 10 pounds with a goal to lose 0.6 pounds this week.

Notice that most weeks I have lost over a pound even though the weight goals were less. Here is the link for The Simpleton Diet Excel spreadsheet if you wish to download it and use it for yourself.

Please tell me about your diet and your successes and/or failures.

Simpleton diet results

My Simpleton Diet results. Target weight reached.

The Simpleton Diet Chart

Each plot on the chart represents one week that corresponds to the weight entry in the spreadsheet.

Simpleton diet chart


1 Nov 2009 — Today I barely lost weight (0.2 pounds). This Halloween week the house was full of chips, sugary drinks and candy. At the beginning of the week I snacked on the chips and washed them down with Sprite. I ate some of the candy. Most of us are good at resisting temptation so long as it isn’t in front of us. Remembering that I would be reporting online any weight gains or losses, I quickly pulled my self together and exercised some restraint.
8 Nov 2009 — A one pound loss is right on target. This week I drunk more water instead of the soda I consumed last week. I ate a few Sun Chips instead of regular chips. I noticed my Quaker Granola cereal was a bunch of calories so I switched to Special K topped with fresh raspberries.
15 Nov 2009 — I ate a few too many snacks so no weight loss.
22 Nov 2009 — Even though I had a huge serving of fish, chips, and mushy peas at Little Taste of Britain, I still was able to lose.
29 Nov 2009 — I was fortunate to lose a slight amount even though the hogs were at the Thanksgiving trough.
6 Dec 2009 — I was really focused this week. I either drank water, V8, G2 Gatorade, or milk. This helped a lot as many calories can enter via liquids. I am not a big dessert eater and there were no chips around to snack on. This 2.6 pound loss matches my previous highest loss. Just 3.6 pounds to go to reach my goal.
13 Dec 2009 — There are a lot of snacks around the house that didn’t help so even a small loss was welcome.
20 Dec 2009 — These small losses are still contributing towards my goal. Just 2.6 pounds to go.
27 Dec 2009 — A satisfactory result for Christmas week. At times the snacking ruined my appetite which contributed to weight loss. Not the best way to lose a pound but I will take it.
3 Jan 2010 — A small gain. Chips should be banned from the house. 11 of Lay’s Wavy original chips rack up 150 calories.
17 Jan 2010 — I reached my target weight. I will continue to lose a little more weight but I won’t be posting any more results. If you are curious how I am doing, just ask.

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Missionary Dan Email #38 from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Presented here are portions of Elder Daniel Willoughby’s thirty eighth email from the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission. If anyone wishes to send Daniel a message, write it in the comments and I will make sure he receives it.

Daniel (left) with a member family

Daniel (left) with a member family

Thanks for all the great letters and things. It was really fun to read them all. Thanks for the pictures as well. Paul’s costume made me laugh really hard. Steven’s costume was rad too. Remind me later and I’ll tell you more about that. That hike you went on seems like it was crazy mom! Sorry to make you worry about me. I am good and I did the best I could to help my companion. It’s exciting that we are getting a garden. I really like strawberries and pears. Peaches are good too.


So I told the story of when we had a special fast for one of my investigators that hadn’t been able to be baptized for 4 years. She passed her interview this Saturday and we are happy to see her baptized this Friday. It is exciting that her own son gets to baptize her, an opportunity that came for having to wait for so long. I am very excited to have a baptism.

My Companion

This week was a long slow one. My companion met with the President last Monday that took an hour or so. The first 15 minutes or so was just trying to get him to talk. Afterward it seemed that the problem maybe was fixed as he woke up instantly the next morning and went to work. But, the next day he didn’t get up, didn’t want to work, and was a struggle the whole week to just get him out the door. He slowing started to turn inward. He didn’t talk to hardly to anyone. On Saturday I went on an exchange with the Zone Leaders. Elder Romney, my good friend went with me, and my companion with his companion. After that exchange, I was hoping things would be better, but they were only worse. I prayed really sincerely to know what to do and things I could talk to him about. Sunday my prayer was answered and we talked for about an hour about church callings we’ve had and of course video games. It was a relief from the almost completely silent companion the whole week and the one word answers.

So today he had another interview with the President. Since he hasn’t woken up at all this week and has little to no desire, President said he is going to go home this week and think about whether or not he still wants to be a missionary. He’ll come back Friday and tell him. So I have a new companion now, well actually at this very moment I’m waiting for him. I got special permission to write my email in the mission office. This computer is fast. Anyway, President said I was the perfect companion for him. I was patient and didn’t judge him too harshly. He said now he has to do a little for himself. I told him that I hope to see him back in the mission field and that we need him.

I learned a great deal of how to love those that are hard to love. I really did love him for who he was, I just didn’t love what he was doing. I hope that the best comes to him and he can finish his mission. I hope too that everything I wrote makes sense. If you have any questions just ask, I wrote it kind of fast and by wrote I mean typed.

New Member Family

A birthday for the child in a black suit

A birthday for the child in a black suit

My group went bowling today for our year mark. I wasn’t able to go, but before they left we got a picture.

The other pictures are of one of my new member families. They had a birthday party for their kid in the black suit. The yellow shirt is a member and the orange shirt (bottom photo) is trying to quit smoking so he can be baptized. The green shirt (top photo) is the yellow shirt’s friend that is our investigator. She is great and progressing quickly. I told a little about her awhile ago. How she met with missionaries 3 years ago and then didn’t get baptized because of work.

To Mom

Yeah I use the dictionary. It is actually really useful. The games on it distracted me a little but they aren’t that fun so only for a little while. I think I’d like to get some Skittles for Christmas. Other than that I don’t really know. That was an insane hiking story. I am glad you are OK.  I got a postcard from Texas. Is Bryson walking yet? Anyway no need to worry. I love you Mom.

To Paul

Thanks for the article. I read one similar to it awhile ago but the one you gave me was really good. I think your costume is the best. It is almost better than my fence costume. Maybe you could wear both. Microfence, stopping waves since 1203.

To Dad

There is also a Britain store in Ulaanbataar. It’s on the main road and I always see it when we travel to the main building. I always want to snap a picture but have always forgot. I think you will win with the weight loss competition. I think simple is the best way to do it. Plus you are such an old man it shouldn’t be very hard to loss weight. :) I love you Dad! Thanks for all you do.

To Jake

Thanks for sharing about your experience. I did my best with my companion and I hope the best for him. There are some things we simply couldn’t do for him and he had to make the decision himself. The story you told is very inspiring. Our 15 new members will be 16 this Friday! I look up to you more than you look up to me probably though. Keep up the good work.

Yep, so that that about sums it up. It’s been quite the adventure. So long till next week.

Love from Elder Willoughby

Daniel (left) with member family in Mongolia

Daniel (left) with member family in Mongolia

Related Articles

List of Daniel’s missionary posts.
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Fish and Chips at Little Taste of Britain

Jake and Paul outside Little Taste of Britain

Jake and Paul outside Little Taste of Britain

A few month ago I ate with three of my sons and my daughter-in-law. We descended on Little Taste of Britain in Layton (1095 N. Main). I was born and raised in England, emigrating to the United States at age 28 where I settled down and raised a family. So I was ready for fish and chips with mushy peas and maybe a drink of Vimto. The meal didn’t disappoint, the fish and chips were authentic — the large fillet of cod was battered and a deep-fried golden.

Little Taste of Britain is run by Nick and Mandy Island. There is also a small market filled with British specialty items — everything from steak and kidney pies, bangers, English candy, and lots of other British imports. One customer drove all the way from Wendover just to try their fish and chips — and he wasn’t disappointed.

Little Taste of Britain can be reached at (801) 543-5707. Fish and chips will run you $7.95 and I recommend adding mushy peas for $1.00. There are many other items on the menu.

External Articles

Utahns a bit peckish for little taste of English eats?

Make a Halloween Costume from a Microwave Oven

There is nothing quite like a happy microwave.

There is nothing quite like a happy microwave.

Paul is well known around Kaysville for his stockpile of microwave ovens. Not content with constructing an arc welder from microwaves Paul really started cooking when he needed a costume for Halloween.

Microwave Instructions

It was as simple as removing the innards to reduce weight, cutting a hole in the base of the microwave, bending back the metal, covering the edges with duct tape, and padding the interior with quilt batting. Stick two eyes and a mouth on the front to form a smiley face and you have one hot costume.


  • Do not slam the microwave door in Paul’s face.
  • Do not heat your hot chocolate while Paul is in the microwave.
  • Please do not play with the dials — they don’t work.
  • Don’t ask “Watts up?”.
  • Paul is not a “hothead”.
  • Paul maintains an open door policy.
  • Paul does not want to be plugged in.
  • If you leave food in the microwave, Paul will eat it.

Mama, I can't warm my pizza cos Paul is in the microwave!

Mama, I can't cook my pizza 'cause Paul is in the microwave!

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The Day I Met Steve Hiatt

Steve Hiatt For Mayor

Steve Hiatt (left) and Myself

Steve Hiatt (left) and Myself

The Day I Met Steve Hiatt sounds a little dramatic but it really isn’t. I was rototilling a couple of pickup loads of compost from the sewer plant when Steve Hiatt showed up like a breath of fresh air. He was out campaigning for Mayor having won the Kaysville City primary.

He had to introduce himself because I didn’t recognize him, even though I voted for him in the primary. After we conversed for awhile I asked Steve if he had anything to say for my blog. He was a good sport and allowed his photograph to be taken and said a few words. I will see if I can remember correctly what he said. Steve, if you read this, correct in the comments what I get wrong. Although the paragraph below is in quotes it is really me paraphrasing:

We need leaders who value trust. We don’t have to agree with each other but we should keep communicating. Residents must be able to be heard even if some things cannot be acted upon.

An Impressive Candidate

I was impressed when my wife asked about other candidates and Steve spoke well of them. He mentioned by name those running for office and specific positive traits they possessed that would be useful in serving the city.  I asked Steve that in the future as solar power becomes more affordable would the residents be able to connect to the grid to sell unused power back to the city. Steve said that the city’s situation is a little different as a member of UAMPS and that the city works with the association. To give you a little more of a feel for Steve’s platform, below is a quote taken from Steve’s website:

For the most part, I believe our citizens and elected officials share the same values, beliefs, and desires for this great town. When opinions differ, our citizens deserve a voice and the right to have their voice heard. We deserve leaders who ensure fiscal responsibility while providing the services we need and expect. We deserve leaders who will protect our heritage, ensuring our parks and open spaces are not for sale. We deserve leaders who keep an open mind, who encourage resident participation, who exercise “full-disclosure,” and who engender trust. Not only must Leaders be trustworthy, we must be trusting of others. (Steve Hiatt. Open * Fair * Ready)

After visiting with Steve Hiatt I see no reason to change my vote for him.
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World Total Fertility Rate Declines

Aurora in egg

Total Fertility Rate

In the last few decades there have been significant decreases in world fertility rates. The replacement fertility rate is roughly 2.1 births per woman for most industrialized countries but higher for many less developed nations. The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of a population is the average number of children that would be born to a woman over her lifetime.

The chart below shows the World TFR in columns of 5 years, starting in 1950. The TFR for 2009 and 2010 are estimated. Take a look at the TFR chart below and the other statistics and join me in a discussion of what some of the trends and numbers may mean. For more insight into population trends try playing with the population database provided by the United Nations. Since writing this post the database has been updated and I now link to the latest available information.

World Total Fertility Rate 1950 to 2010

World Total Fertility Rate 1950 to 2010

Crude Birth and Death Rates

I will show you next a chart with world birth and death rates plotted together. This may prove useful to the discussion later. The Crude Birth Rate is simply the number of births over a given period divided by the person-years lived by the population over that period. It is expressed as number of births per 1,000 population. Likewise the Crude Death Rate is the number of deaths over a given period divided by the person-years lived by the population over that period. It is expressed as number of deaths per 1,000 population.

World crude birth and death rates 1950-2010

World crude birth and death rates 1950-2010

A Russian Demographic Example

This chart shows the Russian Federation’s demographic crisis quite plainly. All European countries have a TFR less than 2.1 and Russia’s at 1.37 is not the lowest. What is interesting about Russia is it has a sizable population and so their 12.3 million people loss since 1992 (offset by 5.7 million immigrants) is still large, even for a nation of 142 million. Today Russians are diminishing at the rate of over 700,000 a year. One wonders what the effect would be on any nation that suffers sustained population loss.

Russian crude birth and death rates 1950-2010

Russian crude birth and death rates 1950-2010

Decades Long Fertility Decrease

In my chart of world TFR there is plainly a decrease in every 5 year span since the early sixties. The rate of decline seems to be lessening in the last fifteen years but the trend is definitely downwards. The United Nations projects that by 2050 the World TFR will stand at 2.02. This is below replacement level for developed nations and well below a third world country.

Why Population Increases As Fertility Declines

The world birth/death rate chart shows births well above deaths, hence world population is increasing even as TFR is decreasing. Consider that between 1950 and 1955 the death rate was 52% of the birth rate. By 2005 to 2010 the death rate had dropped to 42% of the birth rate. However, even as the death rate drops so too does the birth rate. So why is the world population increasing even as the fertility rate is decreasing? Well, on average, each generation is having fewer children than the previous generation. That is explained by the fertility decrease.

To still have more births than deaths amid a fertility decline is easily accounted for in the decades long delay in the deaths of the parents and grandparents of newly born children. Hence even as the birth rate falls the parents who produced offspring are still alive in most cases and so the death rate is lower. This is called Demographic Momentum. After a number of decades the parents and grandparents die and their children now produce less babies as forecast by the TFR. Population decreases will now begin to appear as in the case of Russia when deaths outnumber births. It is then that the population drops will be in the millions.

Adverse Effects

One adverse effect of a declining population for the young is increased social and economic pressure. They will have to support an infrastructure with costly, intensive care for the oldest among their population. Labor shortages can occur which may cripple labor-intensive sectors of the economy. The decade long economic stagnation of Japan and Germany is linked to demographic problems. Russia has begun a 10-year program to stop the large decline in their population by offering financial incentives and subsidies to encourage women to have children. Australia, France, Italy, Poland, Japan, and Singapore offer thousands of dollars for each baby and regular payments and care for the child.

It is evident that a number of countries see declining birth rates as a serious issue — enough to offer incentives for reproduction. This is not going away anytime soon, especially for nations that have difficulty attracting immigrants. The United States would have a declining population if not for immigration. If the U.S. birth and death rates ever become like Russia’s you will hear more than you ever wanted to know about the total fertility rate.

A Third Way

Phillip Longman of the New America Foundation writes briefly of A Third Way. He states that “a planet that grays indefinitely is clearly asking for trouble.” One alternative to our current aging populations “involves massive state intervention designed to smooth the tensions between work and family life to enable women to have more children without steep financial setbacks.” Longman writes that “so far, countries that have followed this approach have achieved only very modest success.”

Longman then asks: “So is there a third way?”

Yes, though we aren’t quite sure how to get there. The trick will be restoring what, in the days of family-owned farms and small businesses, was once true: that babies are an asset rather than a burden. Imagine a society in which parents get to keep more of the human capital they form by investing in their children. Imagine a society in which the family is no longer just a consumer unit, but a productive enterprise. The society that figures out how to restore the economic foundation of the family will own the future. The alternative is poor and gray indeed. (Phillip Longman, “Think Again: Global Aging,” New America Foundation, October 13, 2010, last paragraph)

A Proclamation to the World

A fascinating document, in support of the family, flowered into existence on 23 September 1995. Entitled The Family: A Proclamation to the World, it was first read in a general Relief Society conference.

The proclamation begins by solemnly proclaiming that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children. Further, we all are created in God’s image and that gender is an essential part of human identity before, during, and after life on Earth. A summary is outlined of the premortal realm, perpetuation of family relationships beyond the grave, and of temple ordinances and covenants. Now here is the part that most pertains to our discussion:

The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

The proclamation continues by identifying parental responsibilities in the rearing of children. To teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God, and to obey the law. A formula for happiness and for a successful marriage is detailed. And would a proclamation be complete without a warning?

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.


For decades our minds were filled with government propaganda of a world starving to death and grossly overpopulated with the West running out of food. Even today we hear similar cries. I find it ironic that many of these same governments are now offering thousands of dollars to their populace if they would just have a baby — or maybe two, or three. My wife and children — and now grandchildren are a constant source of joy to me. I am grateful that I followed the wise counsel of religious leaders (and ignored the politicians and “experts”) many years ago.

I am a software engineer by trade and know very little about world fertility rates. But the best way to learn is to write about it and discuss it. I look forward to your comments whether or not you agree with me.


External Articles

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Photo Credit: Adelaide
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