Monday, January 10, 2011

Birth Dearth

A country needs a fertility rate of 2.1 in order to maintain a stable population. In other words, women need to bear 2.1 children, on average, over their lifetimes.  Higher rates will cause the population to increase.  Lower rates will cause it to decrease over time as deaths overtake births.

Listed below are the fertility rates for selected countries for the 2005-2010 period using United Nations data.

South Korea                1.21
China                           1.23
Japan                            1.27
Germany                      1.36
Italy                              1.38
Spain                            1.41
Canada                         1.53
Brazil                            1.90
United States               2.05
Mexico                         2.21
Venezuela                    2.55
World                           2.55
Israel                            2.75
India                            2.81
Egypt                           2.89
Saudi Arabia               3.35
Pakistan                      3.52
Iraq                             4.26
Yemen                        5.50
Afghanistan                7.07

A few observations keeping in mind that 19th century French sociologist August Comte said, "Demographics is Destiny".

The developed countries of the world are almost all experiencing birth dearth.  They are not coming close to the replacement birth rate.

All developed countries will have major budgetary challenges with their aging populations.

Immigration policy will also be major debate in all developed countries. 

Although the overall fertility rate is low in Europe, the Muslim birth rate in Europe is three times higher than the non-Muslim rate.  This will feed additional cultural and political divisions across Europe.

There are nearly 44 million Muslims in Europe today compared to 1.1 million Jews.  In the United States, there are 6.5 million Jews and 5.1 million Muslims.  There are actually more Jews in the United States than in Israel.  In fact, 88% of all Jews in the world live in the United States (46%) or Israel (42%).
This is a major factor in the animus of the United States in the Muslim world and why it is so difficult to engage Europe in an even handed approach in discussions about Israel and the Middle East.

Most of the high fertility rates in the world are in traditional Muslim countries.  This is not an encouraging statistic for the future considering much of the extreme elements of Islam are in the young age groups in these countries.

Although the overall average for the United States is 2.05, the Hispanic rate is 2.70, the Black rate is 1.93 and all others is 1.90.  Based on these birth rates and assuming current immigration trends, the current minority population will clearly overtake the non-Hispanic White alone majority over time.  A recent study projects this will occur within the next 30 to 40 years.  This is not much beyond a generation away since the average age of childbearing today is about 28 years old.

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