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French Demography

by Jerome a Paris Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 12:02:08 PM EST

The INSEE (the national statistical institute) has published today the results (pdf, 4 pages) of its now yearly census of the population, and there are some fascinating results. Here are a few, in random order:

  • France's population reached 62.9 M at the end of 2005, a growth of 367,000 (of which, 270,000 from natural growth and 97,500 from immigration). Natural growth makes up 75% of total growth, vs 20% in Europe

  • life expectancy is one of the highest in Europe, at 76.7 y for men and 83.8 for women;

  • the number of births per woman increased to 1.94, the highest in Europe after Ireland's 1.99, and far above Germany, Italy and Spain where it's below 1.40 (Scandinavia, the UK and the Netherlands are above 1.70). This is pretty close to population stability.

  • More interesting is that the fact that for women born in 1955, the final number is 2.13 child per woman (it was 2.10 for them in 1995); for women born in 1965, the number is already 1.99 (it was 1.71 in 1995 for that age class). Children are being born to women at an older age, but each generation still seems to reach the population renewal level, barely.


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And if it looks like I had some free time at work today, well, I did.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 12:03:06 PM EST
This is in Norwegian, but I think you'll all understand since it only lists countries.  Fertility in some European countries, source Statistics Norway:
Samlet fruktbarhetstall i utvalgte land. Ca. 2000
Island     2,08
Irland     1,89
Frankrike     1,89
Norge     1,78
Danmark     1,77
Finland     1,73
Storbritannia     1,65
Sverige     1,54
Sveits     1,50
Tyskland     1,36
Spania     1,24
Italia     1,23

[Tyskland=Germany, the rest should be decipherable]
by ask on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 01:35:48 PM EST
Italy, Spain and Germany are in demographic meltdown, very bad for long term economic outlook, and all 3 are big heavies of Euroland. Their demographic woes are going to become everybody's problem after a while.

I wonder if this issue is going to come up soon in EU and ECB meetings : certainly not "no more subsidies for you if you don't make enough babies" but some serious discussions nonetheless.
by Francois in Paris on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 02:27:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of Central and Eastern Europe is in the same situation. I think the lowest rate is 1.1 in Estonia.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 02:58:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok, I can't resist, I have to ask you the obvious question!

Why do Norwegians call Germany "Tyskland"?

Does it mean something?

by Greco on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 07:39:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Birth rate is an interesting one.

Here's one of my off the wall thoughts on the matter:

In an age where the value of labour is at a new local low (c.f. massive injection of developing world labour into the market) and money is the king of society, where is the rational psychological incentive for greater reproduction?

(And yes I know that people aren't actually rational, but I still think it's an interesting question.)

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 03:20:37 PM EST
Natural growth makes up 75% of total growth, vs 20% in Europe

Not that I am saying this out of any sort of preoccupation regarding immigration, but isn't it worrying that only 20% of new births in a country are from citizens? It seems to me that a country intaking 80% of new births through immigration could, in essence, see its indigenous population genetically wiped out in a short period, no?

Not that I care much about countries and such, but I do care about genes ...

i.e. Mixing genes is good, but replacing genes with other genes isn't necessarily good, right?

by Alex in Toulouse on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 04:55:20 PM EST
but I do care about genes

Oohhh...  Are you for real?  

Look, white Europeans aren't going to be wiped out.  The "indigenous" French (who what, just appeared in southwest Europe????) are not going to be wiped out.  Your country may change, may even become a white European minority (it's happening in America) but even white Europeans have genes which originate in Africa.

Scientifically, you might be surprised what you'll find in the "indigenous" French genetic code.  In short, we are mostly all mutts.  Human history is one of migration.  And it also has way of trying its best to insure that the strong, healthy, creative, and generally desirable genes survive.  Desirable being not prone to disease or malfunction, regardless of what Passport the carrier holds.  

Hold on to your culture, your traditions.  Teach your children what your parents taught you and their parents taught them.  Incorporate the good from all cultures and discard the bad.  

But don't waste time worrying about what race/ethnicity/gene pool makes up the majority.  Silly.  Silly, I tell ya!  

(And one more thing.  If most of these immigrants are escaping poverty (where infant mortality rates are high, reproductive education is low, and many hands are needed to provide for the family), I would expect their birthrates to fall in proportion to their assimilation.)

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 05:29:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I care about memes...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 05:40:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hiiiiiiyaaaaa, I don't think you're reading me right.

I'm not worried about melanine-centered genes any more than any other genes (but I wouldn't want everyone to look the same nonetheless), as long as genes mix! I just don't want genes to be wiped out by replacement.

In Jérôme's comment above, replace "Italy" with "Tibet" to get a better idea of it.

If 80% of people born each year in a country are not from that country itself, this does mean that the country's population is quickly being replaced, regardless of whether that country's original "ethnicity" is asian, caucasian, african, doesn't it?

I know that gene mixing is going on as we speak, that gene pools have been merged, depleted etc over the past centuries, but this type of data here has nothing to do with any of that (20% natural births only). This reminds me more of the Chinese population replacement of Tibet, than of the Frankish invasion/inter-mixing of the Gauls, thus my comment.

Tibet used to be mostly genetically Tibetan ... these guys were born and bred at a certain altitude, had specific characteristics proper to that altitude ... now, well, now they're Chinese from who knows where. In a few generations the whole "we are the mountain" Tibetan genepool will have disappeared -- and it will take the Chinese several millenia, if at all, to reach the same "we are the mountain" gene evolution. So regardless of the political, administrative etc considerations, I find it genetically sad too, just like I find it sad when a baboon sub-species disappears. And there is nothing Adolfish about saying that, or like Chirac once said in an infamous speech: "et ce n'est pas être raciste que de dire cela" ;=)

ps: this is not about France, but about any country with a 20% natural birth rate (France is currently at 75%, if it reaches 20% I'll ask the same question for France too)

by Alex in Toulouse on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 05:58:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let me explain it further:

If the natural birth rate of, say, a hundred million people (it's a European average) is at an average of 20% for several years running ... then every year that hundred million take in 80% of foreign-born infants ... thus every year it takes in 460 000 infants who are from another gene pool à priori. So this is good, I think it's great. Genes mixing and all!!

But no no no, because in due time, do these 460 000 have kids of their own? No, you see, I'm not asking whether they in turn have kids with whities, blackies, whateveries, or stick together thus alientating whities, blackies or whatever ... I'm just asking what happens when these 460 000 also, in turn, do not produce more than 20% of kids themselves? If you keep on doing this, in a few generations you could just be wiping out entire gene pools withouth knowing it ... including some of the immigrant ones!
(now if you want, you can be optimistic, and think that this produces a kind of positive recylcing of genes - but I think this is really bad)

by Alex in Toulouse on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 06:15:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I get where you are coming from.  I do.  Extinction is scary.

But take Tibet. Is this a result of Chinese occupation or a lack of procreating couples...?  It is one thing to drive a group of people to extinction.  It is wrong to invade countries, commit genocide, use forced sterilization, cut down the rain forest, cause global warming, etc. and wipe out a gene pool.  But if the gene pool is depleted simply because people don't want to procreate, or they want to procreate with people with other gene pools (which is what happens when immigrants assimilate so I think even with this 20%/80% scenario it will be more of a matter of mixing than replacing ... look at the Native Americans.  Driven to the brink of extinction, but whose genes are cursing through the blood of a vast majority of white Americans), why is that bad or good?  

Also, can you explain this phrase to me?

If 80% of people born each year in a country are not from that country itself ...

???

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 06:32:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
or they want to procreate with people with other gene pools (which is what happens when immigrants assimilate so I think even with this 20%/80% scenario it will be more of a matter of mixing than replacing

No you see, that's the thing, to me this is not about 80% mixing (which I think is good, I even say that in my original comment) but about these 80% turning into the very same people who'll only do 20%. So in turn every wave of new people just vanishes, and doesn't mix, and some decent genes are lost (imagine if the legendary absence of vertigo in I-forgot-which-native-americans-who-build-skycrapers didn't get diluted or get mixed but just ... vanished for lack of procreation, wouldn't it be sad?)

Also, can you explain this phrase to me?: "If 80% of people born each year in a country are not from that country itself ..."

Well, this data was about birthrates in countries (and groups of countries), or so I thought until Jérôme corrected me. Countries are entities that are palpable for such statistics, but we could very well assign my reaction to any entity that had 80% extra-entity births.

by Alex in Toulouse on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 06:42:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry actually, this is where all the confusion comes from:

If 80% of people born each year in a country are not from that country itself ...

I thought that by saying "natural growth is at 20% in Europe", I thought that Jérôme was saying that Europe only produces 20% of its babies. And nota bene, this means regardless of who "becomes a European", as anyone "European" or "having become European" will still only produce 20% of Europe's babies, or so I thought until Jérôme corrected me.

by Alex in Toulouse on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 06:46:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, no, no, you mixed things up.

This means that the net growth in population comes for 75% from the natural balance (i.e. births minus deaths), and for 25% from net immigration.

This says nothing about whether the births are from immigrants or from "local" people, which is a totally separarte question (in fact, it's the usual right wing argument - yeah, France has births, but they're all arabs. There i!s no data on this in the census, but the only study by INSEE showed that birthrates for immigrants very quickly converged to the French average).

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 06:06:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh ok, my bad, I thought this was about births. 80% did seem like way too much births. Genepool transitions have to be smooth (mixed), not massive (forcible replacements), is what I think.

But anyhow, I shouldn't make any further comment on this here, I'm afraid of being politically incorrect if I push this issue too far.

We should be sad when the last Mohican dies AND when the last Tibetan dies, right? I'm not talking about being sad that the last Mulato turns black/white over time ... I'm talking about a situation in which the Mulatos would be quickly replaced by the Chinese, and then the Chinese by the Indians and no one ever properly mixing, only disappearing ...

That's just to explain my comments, this here is not directed at you Jérôme nor you poemless.

But now that you tell me this is not about births, then I can drop all of this for now.

by Alex in Toulouse on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 06:33:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
El Pais: The number of foreigners living in Spain increases by 23% in a year (17-01-2006)
The total population exceeds 44 million, of which 3.730.610 are foreigners
Funny how they give the total number to 2 significant figures and the number of foreigners to 6 7 significant figures...
[The increase over 2004], which was of 2,1%, was due mainly to the registering of new foregners. On the other hand, the registration of Spanisrds increased by 214.562, or 0,5%.


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 05:38:32 PM EST
That's only because all the Spanish seem to be moving over here.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 06:02:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And look who's moving to Spain...
227.187 originate from the UK [...] and 133.588 [are] German.

[...] Alicante is the province with the larger number of immigrants older than 65: there are ten municipalities with over 25% immigrant retirees.



A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 06:09:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I always thought investing in assisted living facilities in the south of Spain would be a good investment.  

Spain seems to be at that point where the entry of women into the workforce means that the traditional expectation that the daughter or the daughter in law will care for the elderly parent is no longer true.  The very limited nursing homes in the country aren't enough to keep up with the number of senior citizens.

So now there's the phenomena of the Romanian nurse who's a full time caretaker for an elderly parent.  Eventually that's going to have to get organized.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 10:41:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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