Barcelona: the demographic games

LAF’s archives contain many articles about the declining fertility rate and the coming demographic winter as births in developed countries have plummeted. Carolyn Moynihan recently attended a two-day conference in Barcelona that was centered around the theme, Whither The Child? The Causes, Consequences and Responses to Low Fertility. Her comments bring forward a lot of the confusion surrounding the falling birth rate and the rising secularization of Europe:

One thing the conference confirmed: as our blog of that name has it, demography is destiny. In other words, attitudes to fertility today will determine the basic political shape of society as time goes on. It won’t necessarily be obvious what that shape will be.

Some 30 to 40 years ago most demographers thought that the plunge in birth rates following the mass use of the contraceptive pill would correct itself and the population would “stabilise” at replacement level, but there are very few developed societies at that level today; now they are talking about population “quality” rather than quantity, meaning that a highly educated a skilled population will compensate for what it lacks in numbers. Hmmm. Don’t know about you, but talk of population quality makes me a bit nervous, especially if it becomes a political goal.

You can read the rest of the article at this link.

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