Good afternoon everyone! Well the cricket series down here in New Zealand is not going too well.  We’re hosting South Africa (who I would argue is the best side in world cricket at the moment) and it’s looking as if the second test is heading towards a fairly comfortable South African win. Once again New Zealand’s wafer thin batting line up has been exposed – although we poor, long-suffering New Zealand supporters can take comfort in the fact that we are facing some of the best fast bowling you can find.  At least we’re not putting up a terrible batting show against a terrible opposition. 

Anyway, to take our minds off the bad cricket news, let’s have a look at a couple of interesting stories that I came across recently that are loosely connected to demography. First, Reuters has reported that a woman in Poland has gone to some extreme lengths to save the lives of two of her unborn babies.  Joanna Krzysztonek conceived triplets, but one of them was born prematurely and died.  The other two surviving babies were in danger that they would also die, but Krzysztonek was told that there was a way that she could save them. Understandably:

“‘I sighed with relief that there was a chance to keep the pregnancy and to give the babies a chance to be born successfully,’ she told Reuters.”

However, it wasn’t easy.  She had to lie upside down in labour for 75 days! I cannot even imagine how that would work, but the ending was a happy one:

“Joanna Krzysztonek eventually gave birth to baby girl Iga and boy Ignacy 2½ months later on February 15 at a neo-natal clinic in the south-western Polish town of Wroclaw and said the idea of lying in an awkward position for weeks on end hadn’t bothered her… Iga and Ignacy remain in special incubators, but were expected to leave the hospital soon. Their mum had problems with maintaining her balance after leaving her unusual hospital bed, but now visits and holds her babies every day.”

What a lovely story of sacrifice and the power of the motherly instinct.  While every child is hard and a sacrifice I’m sure, thankfully not every mother has to go through that sort of sacrifice before their children are even born! Well done Joanna, we wish all the best for you and Iga and Ignacy.

On a similarly bizarre note, if you have a spare US$100,000, you can put in an opening bid for the smallest town in the United States

“Buford, located between Cheyenne and Laramie in southeast Wyoming, is famous for having just one inhabitant, Don Sammons.  Sammons plans to retire from managing his businesses at Buford and move on. The auction is set for noon on April 5.”

It sounds like a great investment:

“Buford traces its origins the 1860s and the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad and had as many as 2000 residents before the railroad was rerouted…

Buford sits at an elevation of 2438 metres (8000 feet) and is the highest town along Interstate 80 between New York and California. The area offers impressive views of the Rocky Mountains but is prone to extreme winds and frigid temperatures — even by Wyoming standards. Foul weather shuts down I-80 between Cheyenne and Laramie at least a couple times during a typical winter. Each time that happens, Buford might as well be at the North Pole rather than next to one of the busiest cross-country thoroughfares in the US.

Assets up for sale will include a gas station and convenience store, a 1905 schoolhouse that has been used as an office, a cabin, a garage, 10 acres of land, a three-bedroom home, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported.”

So come on all of you who have always wanted to own your own town, the chance has arrived! You can be the mayor, chief of police, judge, jury and executioner.  I’m sure Wyoming would be lovely.

PS Happy St Patrick’s Day everyone!


Marcus Roberts is a Senior Researcher at the Maxim Institute in Auckland, New Zealand, and was co-editor of the former MercatorNet blog, Demography is Destiny. Marcus has a background in the law, both...