Friday, May 26, 2006 05/26/06-Population Trends

In today's excerpt, populations trends. Population trends have been a neglected component in analysis of political and economic trends--often avoided because of the controversy they bring to any analysis. An example: the current situation of Muslims in Europe and Hispanics immigrating into the U.S. can be better understood when it is noted that the Caucasian populations of Europe and the U.S. are essentially not growing, while the Arabic and Hispanic populations are growing at a rate estimated by various sources at between 1% and 3% per year-- and, in the well-established historical pattern, this immigration has been part of the inevitable in- migration necessary to accommodate economic growth. However, the importance of population trends is such that they are now increasingly the subject of commentary:

"President Vladimar V. Putin drew from the Soviet past on Wednesday when he championed the role of motherhood in preventing Russia from becoming a state short of citizens. Russia's population is shrinking, and demographers warn that it is within a generation of plummeting...The problem can be found in the numbers. Russia has roughly 143 million people, and the population drops an average of 700,000 each year..."

C.J. Chivers, 'Russians, Busy Making Shrouds, Are Asked to Make Babies,' The New York Times, May 14, 2006, section 4, p. 4

"(Phillip) Longman has spent many years studying demographic trends, and the conclusions are unsettling...birthrates in America and around the world are declining beneath sustainability...with potential shifts in global prosperity and power...The key concept is that of fertility rates. The 'replacement fertility rate,' which is to say the number of children the average woman needs to bear for a population to sustain itself, is 2.1...The United States has the highest fertility rate in the industrialized world (2.09), but this mainly reflects the contribution of our 1800, the fertility rate among white Americans was 7.04; by 1998, it was 2.07...a decline interrupted by only the Baby Boom.

"...capitalism and falling populations don't mix well. Consider Japan and Europe. Japan's fertility rate is 1.34...and its economy is in shambles...Italy--never, and certainly not now, a model of smoothly running capitalism--will lose 13% of its population by 2050. In Russia, which is already losing 750,000 people a year, that future is now."

Jonathan Last, "The Population Contraction," The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 21, 2006, Section C, p. 1


Post a Comment

<< Home