Back on September 15th, Al Fin had an interesting piece called The Destiny of the World, As Told by Demography.  I am posting it here in its entirety.


The Destiny of the World, As Told by Demography

According to a leading demographic researcher, Russia, Japan, and Germany are finished as world leaders.

Demographics is destiny, the theme of [David Foot’s] Boom, Bust & Echo books, and national outcomes are therefore predictable by charting population mixes…

Among large economies, Germany, Russia and Japan are aging so rapidly they will not be major powers in the future. In all three, deaths will continue to rapidly outpace births every year.

Europe’s exceptions are France and Scandinavia, where social policies have encouraged higher birthrates through generous family benefits, day-care subsidies, lengthy maternity leaves, among other policies.

Southern Europe is hopeless, in terms of birthrates and economic activity. Interestingly, even though Germany ages, the country has overcome its demographic decline by aggressively automating, thus enhancing productivity and economic growth through exports.

_Financial Post

These are the words of David Foot, a Canadian demographer and author.

Foot captures some of the aspects of “demography as destiny,” and badly misses other crucial demographic factors. But no one is perfect.

For a country to successfully replace its aging workforce, it needs a birthrate of 2.2 children per family, Foot said. He added that Canada is only managing a rate of 1.7 per family and that means Canada’s labour woes are going to get even worse.

“Canada is significantly older than the U.S. and Mexico, with a much bigger percentage in the older-age brackets and ever fewer numbers of young people being born in Canada,” said Foot.

…Canada is in better shape than many other countries around the world, said Foot. Italy, Spain and Greece have the oldest populations in Europe, while former powerhouses such as Germany, Japan and Russia have been watching their populations decline significantly.

“These are three countries that are never coming back as global powers. Germany, Russia and Japan are powers of the past … not the powers of the future.”

Foot said the future superpowers include China, India and Brazil while Turkey is emerging as the future power within Europe.

“Within five years a Muslim country will be the biggest market in Europe.” _Canadian Business

Russia’s immigrant population is growing, and is responsible for recent rises in Russian birth rates.

Russia is now an immigrant society. In Moscow and other major cities, migrants from the ex-Soviet states of Central Asia, the Caucasus and Eastern Europe do the work that natives turn down. Tajiks sweep the streets, Moldovans wait tables and Uzbeks work on construction sites. The metro flutters with flyers stuck inside carriages hawking the mobile numbers of professional forgers -“We Make Your Moscow Permit.”

Russia has become the second most popular destination for migrants in the world after the USA. In St. Petersburg hour long queues snake round the migration bureau where hundreds of migrants nervously swap cigarettes for job tips as they wait to register. Magadan on the Pacific has several Georgian restaurants and even on the dirt tracks of northern Siberia, Uzbek cafeterias are not uncommon.

…In 2009 the Russian Migration Service claims over 10 million migrants entered the country. They add that as many as 5 million illegals“are living in the shadows.” Many experts agree that the migrant population is over 8.5 million, although off the record, some diplomats suggest the real figure may be over 15 million. That would be roughly 8 million more workers that the 6.7 million drop that Russia has recorded since 1991. _Immigrant Russia

Russia has been trying hard for several years to boost its program of legal immigration. At the same time, the Russian government has not been able to stem the ongoing collapse of the ethnic Russian demographic.

The ongoing loss of highly educated and accomplished segments of the population, continues to deal the wounded bear severe demographic blows at the highest levels. And like Japan, Russia’s working-age population is destined to shrink precipitously — particularly in the ethnic Russian demographic.

Ethnic Russians are disappearing particularly quickly in the most resource-rich parts of Siberia, while ethnic Chinese and other non-Russian populations are growing in size and influence.

If one believes Russian government statistics — and smart people probably shouldn’t — Russian birth rates have “skyrocketed” while Russian death rates have “plummeted.” But those statistics — even if honest — are rarely if ever stratified by ethnicity for public consumption. It is likely that just as demographer Foot says, Russia’s (and Japan’s) glory days are in the past.

Unfortunately for Foot’s other predictions, the Canadian demographer neglects crucial factors such as average national IQ, market dominant minorities, particular influences of specific political economic ideologies, levels of violence in particular populations, and other devastatingly important factors that affect the wealth or poverty of a nation.

Demographics is indeed destiny. But sometimes even the best demographers fail to understand the full spectrum of demographic influence on societal success.

Try not to make that mistake.

And remember: It is never too late to have a dangerous childhood.

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