Demographic time bomb

Children (picture Eurobas)

By Richard Laming

Published in The Prague Post, 30 September 2004

The latest report on Europe’s population trends from the Population Research Bureau in Washington, D.C., makes for challenging reading. Challenging, but not grim. I will explain.

The report looks at trends in such things as birth rates and death rates to try and picture what Europe will look like in 50 years. Specifically, the report asks who will be living here. How many Europeans will there be?

The answer is that there will be fewer than today, perhaps 9 percent fewer: 668 millionwill live where 728 million do today. The Czech Republic is a typical example, as today’s 10.2 million Czechs will be succeeded by only 9.2 million in 2050. By comparison, the population of the United States is set to grow by 43 percent from 294 million to 420 million.

Go back 100 years and the size of a country’s population was intimately linked to its military strength, and military strength was what mattered above all else.

We live in a better and more civilized world now, and while a fall in the population nolonger leads to military vulnerability, it still matters. It may not challenge a nation’s physical survival anymore, but a population decline brings into question another aspect of European nationhood. The issue now is the possible survival of the welfare state.

Read the whole article at 040930praguepost

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