Thursday, August 24, 2006

And now for something totally depressing

Demographics are destiny. I've hit on this before, I will hit it again. Weep for the beloved Europe.
“Replacement” fertility rate—i.e., the number you need for merely a stable population, not getting any bigger, not getting any smaller—is 2.1 babies per woman. Some countries are well above that: the global fertility leader, Somalia, is 6.91, Niger 6.83, Afghanistan 6.78, Yemen 6.75. Notice what those nations have in common?

Scroll way down to the bottom of the Hot One Hundred top breeders and you’ll eventually find the United States, hovering just at replacement rate with 2.07 births per woman. Ireland is 1.87, New Zealand 1.79, Australia 1.76. But Canada’s fertility rate is down to 1.5, well below replacement rate; Germany and Austria are at 1.3, the brink of the death spiral; Russia and Italy are at 1.2; Spain 1.1, about half replacement rate. That’s to say, Spain’s population is halving every generation. By 2050, Italy’s population will have fallen by 22 percent, Bulgaria’s by 36 percent, Estonia’s by 52 percent.

In 1970, the developed world had twice as big a share of the global population as the Muslim world: 30 percent to 15 percent. By 2000, they were the same: each had about 20 percent. . . .
The once mighty German birth bed is too busy doing something else to care;
While there were 830,000 deaths last year, only 686,000 babies came into the world, half as many as in the early 1960s. That means the death rate increased 1.5 percent from 2004 and 2005, while the birth rate fell 2.8 percent over the same period.

According to the statistics agency, the trend that began in the early 90s shows no sign of stopping: fewer children are being born in Germany; and because of improved medical care, people are living longer. The society is getting greyer.

Germany's overall 2004 birth rate of 1.37 (according to numbers by the EU's statistics office Eurostat), puts it near the bottom of the western European pack, although some southern and eastern European countries are lower. That number is far below the replacement level of 2.1 percent needed to keep a country's population stable without large-scale immigration.

No comments: