The recent announcement that the New Zealand birth-rate is below the rate of population maintenance passed with surprising little comment. In our case it’s marginal compared with other nations but the fact remains that our population has been sustained in recent decades through large-scale migration.
The most publicised examples in of this phenomenon are Japan and South Korea. Given no change their respective populations will be halved within a generation.
Europe provides extreme examples. Britain and Germany for example, have only sustained their population through decades of migrants, in the latter cases mainly Turkish.
I remember in the early 1990s in Istanbul asking someone what the queue of people stretching for half a dozen blocks was about. They turned out to be waiting to access the German Embassy for visas.
But even the Catholic countries such as Poland, Spain and Italy face the same issue which is one reason much of Europe, over and above charity concerns, has accepted the millions of mainly Syrian refugees. Another reason, as anyone familiar with the Middle East will confirm, is that Syrians are generally viewed as very good people.
Hungary’s authoritarian government was a conspicuous exception, arguing as it was entitled to, that as a strongly Christian country they objected to the presence of mosques and an alien religion in their midst. A fortnight ago, conscious of their birth-rate decline they announced a package of financial incentives to increase the birth-rate. It won’t work as it doesn’t address the source of the problem.
That is singularity down to the education of women.
Thus, lagging badly on this front, India, with a population a few decades back half of China’s, is now projected to surpass it within a decade, thanks to China’s vastly superior education standards.
When I was young late teen girls aspired to marriage and childbearing. Today’s young women seek meaningful careers and marriage and childbearing are viewed as decidedly unappealing. Who can blame them?
The question is does it matter? Some short-sighted Greens, imbued in Malthusian doomsdayism, will see this development as wonderful, claiming as they do that the world is over-populated. In fact the opposite is true as it’s virtually empty and with the global flight to city living, not just for economic reasons but as much for a superior life-style, it will become emptier. Currently cities occupy 3% of the world‘s landmass, that despite for the first time in human history more that 50% of humanity are city dwellers. Projections are for this to rise to 75% within 30 years.
The major concern about this development is economic. Life expectancy, varying from country to country, is now twice that of a century ago.
A conspicuous exception is America where life expectancy has declined for the past four years due primarily to obesity, a factor mainly conspicuous with lower income unskilled workers and blacks. Nevertheless, the ratio of unemployed, expected though their taxes to support the unemployed and notably the retired, is falling sharply.
I don’t see this as a problem as technology constantly increases productivity, thus the growing clamour, probably at present a little ahead of its time, for shorter working weeks.
Another factor receiving an aining at present is declining sperm potency, attributable to chemical pollution. It’s certainly a novel concept for me having a life-long experience of virtually glancing at females across the street and a few months later they’re pregnant. Shaking hands means triplets. But it’s not an issue anyway.
Projections currently suggest world population growth peaking to about 10 billion before beginning a sharp decline.
My expectation is in the next few years, a volte-face in countries’ approached to refugees in which they compete to attract them.
Thereafter, to induce women to temporarily give up their professions and breed with require massive financial inducements and may still not work.
We certainly live in interesting times.