17.01.2020 Author: Vladimir Odintsov

A Worrisome Demographic Trajectory: Are We on the Brink of Extinction?

TRJAccording to an estimation provided by the UN, the global population is bound to reach some 11 billion people in the near future, with annual growth reaching no more than 0.1% – a major decline from previous rates we’ve grown accustomed to. Between 1950 and today, the world’s population grew between 1% and 2% each year, with the global population jumping from 2.5 billion to more than 7.7 billion.

At the same time, demographers argue that this worrisome trend is going to be disrupted by an uneven distribution in the number of annual births between different regions of the world, which means that the most developed countries are bound to undergo the process of social and political transformation.

Unsurprisingly, such countries as Germany, Japan and Russia have found themselves in a situation where they don’t have enough human resources to sustain their growth. What is, however, surprising is that China is trapped in the same exact situation. Moreover, two-thirds of all countries and territories in Europe are expected to see serious population reductions by 2100.

An unprecedented number of births is being registered every year in Africa’s Sahel region and the Middle East. If this trend persists, by the end of the century, roughly a third of the world’s babies will be born in Asia.

What this means is that the global population is expected to virtually stop growing by the end of this century, due to declining fertility rates observed in the better part of developed countries of the world.

Еurope’s birthrates have hit a record low of 1.59 children per woman a year, which means that it cannot aspire to survive without mass immigration, as migrants are the only reason why the overall population of most European countries is even still growing.

Today’s youngsters do not aspire to have families, as for most of them employment across the EU is either non-existent or so poorly paid that it barely provides the means for them to support themselves, let alone support a family.

It’s curious that we’ve seen all sorts of attempts from the covert, to the cautious, to even the radical, undertaken by the governments of the world recently to combat the threat of extinction. As late as 2015, China officially terminated its “one family – one child” policy that was in place for nearly four decades. In South Korea the government has been busy promoting child birth for the greater good. Italy has invented a “fertility day,” while in Hungary young mothers are exempt from income tax, while families seeking to have many children receive interest-free home and car loans.

However, none of the above mentioned approaches seem to work. There’s yet another nation that is rapidly approaching the brink of “postponed extinction” and it’s India, no matter how hard it is to believe this notion. Birthrates all across the country have fallen below the 2.0 rate in most urban areas. Moreover, a population decline has been registered in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, Argentina and Indonesia on the back of falling birthrates.

Against this backdrop we observe a major influx of migrants from Africa and Asia to more developed countries. Demographers say that in recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of Muslims living in the West. It’s no wonder that The Daily Mail is now trying to draw attention to this fact, as the Muslim population of the UK has recently exceeded 3 million people for the first time in history. The publication notes that Muslim communities are growing rapidly all across the country. It was estimated that a total of 2.7 million Muslims were living in the UK back in 2011, which means that this religious minority will be growing by at least 400 thousand people each decade. At the same time, the number of Christians dwelling in Great Britain back in 2011 reached 33.2 million people, but by 2016 this figure dropped to 32.7 million.

Although The Daily Mail didn’t provide any data on the geographical distribution of Muslims in the UK, such information can be found in older reports that confirmed that in at least two London districts they made up over 30% of the population. Similar rates could be observed in Blackburn, Yorkshire, Birmingham and Luton.

In recent years, the most common name for a newborn in England and Wales has become Muhammad along with a number of various “ethnic” derivatives, which would be typical in a Muslim state. It’s curious that the name Muhammad was ahead of such traditional British names as Jack and Harry.

It is also noteworthy that the name Mohammed has recently entered the top ten most popular names for newborns in the United States, as evidenced by the survey conducted by BabyCenter. Prior to that, the name started ranking in the top one hundred most popular names as early as 2013. Since then, its popularity has only been growing, together with yet another Arabic name that has also ranked in the top ten – Aliya.

None of this is surprising if we take into account today’s migration patterns together with declining birthrates in the West.

These days, new political leaders have no qualms about using such words as “replacement migration” to describe their failure to address declining birthrates. Unlike in the United States, where such contentions are still controversial, European conservatives have no problem with dragging them out into the limelight. It’s clear that most Western politicians push for immigration because they favor a globalized worldview under which national identities will disappear. However, such policies are potentially disastrous, not only because they risk plunging Europe into “tremendous conflict,” but also because they risk creating a “brain drain” from Africa and the Middle East.

The solution to this problem, some conservative leaders say, is to provide the motivation and assistance to youngsters so that they can afford having their own children one day.

Vladimir Odintsov, expert politologist, exclusively for the online magazine ‘New Eastern Outlook’.