In the Jerusalem Post, Michael Freund reads the demographic writing on the wall for Europe:
If you ever wanted to see Paris or Rome before you die, but haven’t had a chance to do so, you might want to hurry. Soon enough, most of what we now think of as Western Europe will be transformed into a branch of the Muslim world, which is sure to make it an even less welcoming place for Americans, Israelis and for Jews.
That, at least, is the unpleasant, yet entirely unavoidable conclusion to be drawn from Europe’s headlong demographic drive toward oblivion.
Think I’m exaggerating? Consider a few cold hard facts.
According to a recent report by the Rand Corporation, “Across Europe, birth rates are falling and family sizes are shrinking. The total fertility rate is now less than two children per woman in every member nation in the European Union.”
Needless to say, demographers consider a birthrate of 2.1 children per family to be the replacement level at which a society’s population size remains stable. Barring large-scale immigration, anything less means decline and dissolution.
A research study published last year in the International Journal of Andrology found a similar trend, concluding that, “Fertility rates have fallen and are now below replacement level in all European Union (EU) Member States. In the 20-year period since 1982,” it noted, “most EU Member State countries have had total fertility rates continuously below replacement level.”
At the bottom of the list are Spain, Italy and Greece, where birthrates hover around just 1.3 per couple, leading some forecasters to suggest, for example, that Italy’s population could shrink by one-third by the middle of the century.
Others, such as Germany’s 1.37, the UK’s 1.74 and Sweden’s 1.75, aren’t all much better.
The figures are so bad that in many European countries, the total number of deaths each year has actually begun to exceed the number of births.
Indeed, the Council of Europe’s 2004 Demographic Yearbook warned that, “for Europe as a whole, more people died in 2003 than were born.” In 1990, said the yearbook, “three countries – Germany, Bulgaria and Hungary – had negative natural growth for the first time. By 2002, it was negative in fifteen countries.”
LAST YEAR, after the publication of statistics revealing that 30 percent of German women have not had children, Germany’s family minister, Ursula von der Leyen, caused a stir when she said that if her nation’s birth rate did not turn around, the country would have to “turn out the light.” And while Europeans may be busy everywhere but in the bedroom, the Muslim populations in their midst are proving far more expansive.
Read it all.