Friday, July 07, 2006

Mixed Concerns over Population

CNN has an interesting article that contrasts the population growth of the United States with the population decline of many other countries, primarily European countries. Here are a few excerpts:

Countries have lost people because of wars, disease and natural disasters but never -- at least in modern history -- because women stopped having enough children, Butz said.

Japan announced that it is now the world's most elderly nation, with more than a fifth of its people 65 or older.

On average, women must have 2.1 children in their lifetimes for a society to replenish itself, accounting for infant mortality and other factors. Only one country in Europe -- Albania -- has a fertility rate above 2, according to statistics gathered by the Central Intelligence Agency. Russia's fertility rate is 1.28. In Japan, it's 1.25.

The United States has a fertility rate of 2.05, about enough to maintain a stable population. The U.S. also adds people through immigration, something many European countries have shunned.

About 40 percent of U.S. population growth comes from immigration, both legal and illegal, according to the Census Bureau. However, if the fertility rate remains unchanged, all of America's population increase will eventually come from immigration, Butz said.

Read the whole article here.

HT: Ashley


Becky Miller said...

I read that yesterday...the thing that blew my mind and made me sad/slash/angry is the poll on the sidebar. CNN asked, "which is a bigger problem - Japan's shrinking population or population growth in America?" The majority of respondents said population growth in America! People are SO STUPID sometimes.

Samara said...

I read the article too- it's interested that it was counterpointed by an article stating that immigration was one of the major reasons for American population growth (33%!); I believe that may have been the inflaming issue that prejudiced at least some of the poll responders.

It is rather sad that current negative population growth in the developed world is now caused by what seems like the "unnatural disaster" of dropping reproduction rates.

Susan said...

Very good point about the extra immigration factor of the poll, Samara. I hadn't thought of that as I, like Becky, was amazed by the poll results - though at the same time, I expected those results. I wonder how the immigration issue affected the poll.