Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Demographics and sovereignty in the Brexit vote: Spengler BY DAVID P. GOLDMAN

Britain’s “Leave” camp argues that the deciding issue in the Brexit vote was sovereignty, not immigration. The two issues, though, inevitably will become linked. The continental members of the European Community, especially Germany, are on a slippery slope which will lead to mass absorption of migrants and eventually the free movement of many of those migrants within the European Community. Britain’s interests in the matter of migration differ markedly from Germany’s, and that divergence is the most pressing reason for Britain to leave the EC.
There are many differences between the UK and Germany, but the most important difference is that at present fertility rates the UK will be there at the end of the present century and Germany will not. That does not mean that Germany will disappear: it means that Germany requires many millions of immigrants to compensate for the fact that German women average 1.3 to 1.4 births over their lifetime. The chart below (from UN Population Program data) shows that during the present century, the number of German women in their childbearing years will fall by half to two-thirds, while the number of British women of childbearing age will remain stable or decline about 20%.
In my view, the best comparison is between the UK medium fertility scenario and the German low fertility scenario, because German fertility has consistently undershot the “Low” scenario in the United Nations forecasts.
The UK, in short, can cherry-pick immigrants by whatever criteria it adopts (education, professional qualifications, wealth), the way Australia’s point system does. It has time and leisure to decide what sort of immigration population it needs. Germany needs 5 to 10 million females of childbearing age, which implies an overall immigration of 10 to 20 million individuals. Where will they come from? Most of the immigrants to Germany during the past fifty years have come from Southern and Eastern Europe and Turkey. But those sources are drying up, for southern Europe suffers from fertility rates about the same as Germany’s, and Eastern European fertility is even lower.
In Eastern Europe, the number of women of childbearing age will drop by three-quarters by the end of the present century according to UN projections. Even if Germany wanted more Eastern European immigrants a decade from now it could not find them.
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