08 June 2007

We've Got Good News And Bad News

Rising immigration fuels 26-year fertility high (Emma Henry and agencies, Telegraph.co.uk, 6/8/07)
Figures released by the Office of National Statistics show the average number of children has risen for a fifth straight year to 1.87, the highest rate since 1980.

The last decade has seen a 77 per cent increase in births by mothers born outside of the UK, with the figure climbing to almost 150,000, or over a fifth of all babies, last year.

As Britain's demographics change, Mohammed is expected soon to replace Jack as the most popular boy's name. It has already pushed Thomas into third place.
No, that's not the bad news, you racist bigots. The bad news is that it still isn't at replacement levels. If only Britain was right next to Mexico.


Harry Eagar said...

Think of the oysters.

What is this obsession with rising populations? Why do populations have always to rise?

Why would not a stable population be OK? Or even a slightly shrinking population. For a time.

Rabbit populations rise and fall, but there are always rabbits.

Ali said...

Harry's right.

In the long run, productivity counts for a lot more than mere numbers.

Peter Burnet said...

Gophers too, Harry. Gophers come, gophers go, but the world still turns.

Oroborous said...

While it's true that a growing population is being used as a proxy for increased productivity, the basic font of productivity is human activity, and in a system like America's, growth in activity correlates well with growth in population.

Note that this will still be true in the future, when many more tasks will be automated, or performed by robots. There will be many more people idle, but a larger total population should also result in a larger fraction that's productive by future standards.

Hey Skipper said...

At some point, population must stop increasing.

It is just a matter of when.

Oroborous said...

But the current trend towards a decreasing population is coming at a very inopportune time and rate, given that it's a dramatic drop in fertility, on the heels of the "baby boom".

It's going to lead to widespread and acrimonious generational conflict, as the Boomers demand a high level of support in their elder years, and the Xers and Millennials seek to avoid a crushing tax burden.

Fun times ahead !

Oroborous said...

Or, if you're Japanese or a Continental European:

Doomsday ahead !

David said...

O: Although there is an obvious, win-win solution.

Oroborous said...

Well, I do expect that to occur in record numbers.

It's got to be on the minds of young Europeans, or will be within a few years, especially if they're well-educated or have a lot of vocational training.

David said...

I wouldn't be at all surprised if an immigration scheme like mine resulted in a flood of young eastern Europeans. I wouldn't expect many western Europeans.

Oroborous said...

I expect a lot of Western Europeans, although obviously "a lot" and "many" are subjective.

Many more than now come, but many fewer than Mexicans. A few million, over a couple of decades.

Once the retiree crunch gets into full swing in Europe, the pain will overcome many younger Western European workers' comfort with their familiar lives and surroundings.