Sunday, 1 May 2011

An ideal fertility rate is somewhere between 1.6 and 2.6 births per 1,000 women? Say What!?

We find some interesting commentary from this Toronto Sun article from a man whose job it is to study demographics, not armchair quarterback it from the editorial desk of some left leaning Canadian newspaper. It appears birth rates have risen for the sixth year in a row according to Statistics Canada:

It's not a baby boom. It's not even to replace our own numbers. But more so than other parts of the developed world, Canadian women are becoming moms.

The number of births in Canada rose in 2008 for the sixth consecutive year, according to data released Wednesday.


That reflects a total fertility rate in 2008 of 1.68 children per woman - the highest total fertility rate on record since 1992, when it was 1.69.

I think it would be higher were it not for the high cost of living in Canada much of it attributed to increasing housing prices outpacing incomes. Rising housing prices in the midst of stagnant and decreasing incomes is something immigration cannot claim innocence.

While the rate is still "well below" the generational replacement level of 2.1 children per woman - the rate to replace the country's population in the absence of migration - it is still above other developed nations such as Italy at 1.39, and Japan at 1.21.

In comparison to other industrialized nations Canada does not fare too badly.

It should be noted that while many other advanced industrial economies have birth rates below replacement levels none of them have embraced the mass immigration dogma as enthusiastically as Canada has. Some have almost no immigration system to speak of, like Japan and South Korea, or are cutting back on immigration. What makes Canada, an economy that is largely resource based, so special that it needs to import the highest number of immigrants per capita than any other country in the world?

Here's the kicker:

And although the fertility rate is below the generational replacement level, immigration compensates for a fewer births than at other times in the country's history.

"The population of Canada would still be growing without immigration, but at a slower pace," Foot said.

An ideal fertility rate is somewhere between 1.6 and 2.6 births per 1,000 women, Foot said.

A society with too few children can't afford the costs of caring for its aging population, and a society with too many children will suffer from political instability because there won't be enough jobs for them all, Foot said.

Canada, with a fertility rate of 1.6, is on the right track.

"I think our position's very good," Foot said. "Canada's demographic future is considerably better than most of Western Europe and Japan, and Southeast Asia."

David Foot is an economics professor at the University of Toronto. He wrote Boom, bust & echo 2000: Profiting from the demographic shift in the new millennium along with Daniel Stoffman. And you might recall that Daniel Stoffman wrote Who Gets In: What's wrong with Canada's immigration program - and how to fix it so I think it's safe to say these men are better positioned to give informed commentary on the immigration system then most.

What's pertinent to take away from this is that Canada's population will continue to grow in the absence of immigration albeit at a slower pace. This has to do with Canadians having children in a time when we are living longer then ever before. This begs us to ask if immigration is really about population growth; or is that just a ruse to hoodwink Canadians into accepting a disagreeable policy for the sake of special interests like banks, property developers, law firms, the immigration industry itself, social workers, politicians, neo-colonialists, etc.

It's also interesting to read the assurance that even with a birth rate below replacement levels, Canada's 1.68 birth rate is "on the right track." The reasoning is that too many children can outpace job creation and potentially destabilize a society. This is a future Middle Eastern nations like Iran must cope with. On the other hand if you have too few children you will not have enough to support the economy and an aged society but this doesn't appear to be Canada's case.

So all in all the low birth rate argument appears to be an over exaggerated and misleading one. If Canada's 1.68 birth rate is "on the right track" then excessive immigration may create a problem when one didn't exist. The question is if Canada does have excessive immigration. I think it does and we are currently creating future problems that could have been avoided if saner heads prevailed and those who actually know what they are talking about were paid attention to. If immigration built the country it can also ruin it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm a longtime reader (and arguer), a born Canadian and a "visible minority." I don't know if immigration is necessary at this point but after having heard this week that we take in the same number of immigrants as the United States - though they have 10x our population size - I certainly believe that the current targets are too high. At a tenth of America's population size, we should proportionally a tenth of its immigration target, so rougly 25k per annum.