Friday, July 03, 2009

A brief look at Iranian demographics

Iran's demographic structure is characterized by the huge baby boom of the 1970s and 1980s. The Iranian population more than doubled in recent years, rising from 33 million in 1976 to some 70 million in 2006, with a very high proportion of young people produced by the baby boom of the early to mid-1980s that saw TFRs in some regions approach 10 (!). The story, of how, despite restrictions placed on women, heavy investment in infrastructure, education, and health care--along with the sanctioning of contraceptive use--precipitated a rapid demographic transition, while a difficult economic situation and the bloody 1980-1988 war with Iraq cause women to delay their first births, space their second births, and to limit the growth of their families, moving towards a two-child norm, is well-known. Mohammad-Jabal Abbasi-Shavasi's paper "Recent Changes and the Future of Fertility in Iran" (PDF format) outlines the historical background for Iran's rapid fertility decline, noting how access to family planning, improved access to education for girls, a greatly improved public health infrastructure, considerably improved transportation and economic pressures to produce a transition in the space of two decades to replacement-level fertility. Abbasi-Shavasi further predicts that as Iran becomes still more urban, producing a more educated and more woman-friendly society, national fertility rates will continue to fall to sub-replacement levels. An abstract of a recent paper ( Mehyarh and Agraganian, "Below Replacement Fertility in Iran: A District Level Analysis of the 2006 Census") reveals further startling data about the extent of the decline.

A large-scale DHS-type survey conducted in October-November 2000 indicated that total fertility rates of Iranian couples had dropped to 2.0 (1.7 in urban areas vs. 2.4 in rural areas). TFR figures for the total population of provinces derived from this survey ranged from 1.4 to 4.1, being below replacement level (2.1) in 14 of the 28 provinces. Total fertility rates of urban couples ranged from 1.3 to 3.5 but rose above 2.0 in urban areas of nine of the 28 provinces only, being above 2.4 in only one province (Qom, 2.7) and above 3.0 in another one (Sistan-Baluchestan, 3.5). In rural areas, too, provincial TFRs varied between 1.5 and 4.7. They were below 2.1 in ten of the 28 provinces and rose above 3 in only three provinces (Khuzestan, 3.2; Hormozgan, 3.3 and Sistan-Baluchestan, 4.7).

[. . .]

Thus, according to the 2006 census, over 80% of the population of Iran belong to provinces with clearly below replacement fertility rates. Among these, there are 10 provinces with very low TFR values (ranging from 1.15 to 1.45). They contain over 52% of total, 57% of urban and 41.4% of the rural population of Iran. Of the urban population, 66% live in 16 provinces with very low TFRs (1.15-1.5). In rural areas too, only 41.2% of the population live in provinces with TFRs ranging from 2 to 3.7, while over one-third belong to provinces where the TFR of rural population is less than 1.7. Considering district level variations, it is found that only one of the 336 districts has a crude birth rate exceeding 30 (Saravan District in the south eastern Province of Sistan-Baluchestan with a CBR of 31.6, implying a TFR of 4.3). In 54 districts CBR values vary between 20-30 (indicating TFRs vaying between 2.5 and 4.0). In another 96 districts CBR values are found to range between 17-19.9 (TFR equivalents being 2.1 to 2.5). Thus in 155 districts (or 45% of districts) total fertility rate of Iranian couples would seem to be above replacement level. The population of these 155 districts is however only 37% of the total population of Iran.


As noted here, Ahmadinejad's simultaneous calls for a near-doubling of the Iranian population to 120 million and a denunciation of the demographic transition are quite likely futile, and would besides detract from a demographic structure relatively favourable compared to those of its neighbouring countries.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent remarks, appealing to Iranian legislators to take steps to boost the country’s population from 70 to 120 million and condemning the country’s recent attainment of the two-child family, raise questions about the Islamic republic’s demographic future. Because Iranian women’s average fertility is near (and perhaps below) the replacement level,1 demographers project the country’s youthful population (15-to-29 year olds comprise about one-half of all adults) is on track to develop, within a decade, into an older, more manageable age structure resembling those of East Asia’s industrializing economies in the 1990s. Should it remain on this path, Iran’s population will evolve away from the politically volatile age structures plaguing neighboring Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia to the west and south, and Afghanistan and Pakistan to its north and east.

Demanding that women have more children is famously futile; even baby bonuses might not work. The demographic transition is well-implanted in Iran.

The authors go on to observe that Iran's demographic transition is most advanced in the most developed northwestern provinces, while the south and east of the country lags behind the national average. This RAND paper suggests that, to varying degrees, there are medical and educational inequities between provinces inhabited by ethnic Persians and provinces inhabited by non-ethnic Persians--Azeris, Kurds, Baluchis, and others--but these may reflect levels of development and don't seem to detract from a unified Iranian national identity.

It has been observed elsewhere that the Middle East and North Africa has the potential to benefit from a favourable demographic structure, with relatively large cohorts of young adults and relatively few elderly providing a high worker-to-population ratio. Certainly there will be an abundance of workers since there are huge pressures on Iranian labour markets: "By 2006, sixteen million Iranians in the 15-24 age group with be joining the working-age population. They will be replacing four million older Iranians who will presumably exit the potential labor force between 1996 and 2006 at the age of sixty."

Babak Pirouz' 2005 article in Business Week, "Iran: Perfect demography, lousy economy" makes the point that Iran's demographic structure, with a large number of working-age adults but relatively few dependents, could give Iran a huge economic advantage if adequately exploited. If.

Because of those years of pro-family social policy, however, Iran has a demographic profile that some development experts regard as a dream. The high birth rate of the 1980s created an enormous pool of young adults beginning to pour into the labor force. Meanwhile, those starting families have fewer children to support, because of the resurgence of birth control. That means new parents can spend more on personal consumption and their children's education. What's more, a big government investment in university training means many new workers are highly skilled. This looks like the smart, pro-growth policy that helped East Asia achieve dramatic growth from the 1970s through the '90s.

But Iran is no Taiwan or Singapore. The Shia Muslim nation's economy is so strangled by government control and regulation that it produces too few jobs to absorb all those college grads. In the past, experts say, most graduates got jobs with the government. But government agencies are saturated, and there aren't enough private jobs to employ all the would-be engineers and computer programmers pouring out of the schools. Indeed, most private enterprises in Iran are small businesses that employ 10 or less. The surfeit of educated young people represents "an immense opportunity for the country," says Hassan Taee, a professor of economics at Allameh Tabatabie University in Tehran and the ex-deputy head of Parliament's research center. But the economy isn't structured to take advantage of it.


This Population Reference Bureau blog entry makes the point that Iran's young adults, often discontented with the Islamic Republic's cultural norms and frequently economically and educationally deprived, subject to efforts by the clerical establishment to try restrict and regulate youth culture with the aim of socializing them in the Republic's norms, are unhappy and responding by emigration.

Whether Iran will manage to reap the benefits of its demographic dividend (having a large working-age population relative to the younger and older population groups who depend on the working-age population) all depends on how well its economy is equipped to create jobs for its rapidly expanding and mostly educated labor force. The youth unemployment rate (15 to 24 years old) stands at 23 percent, twice that of the total labor force. Finding a job is even more challenging for young women. One in three young Iranian women in the labor force (defined as either working or looking for a job) are unemployed. Young Iranians have been leaving the country in large numbers to find jobs in faraway places as Canada and Australia. The cost to the country for losing its human capital is estimated to be $40 billion a year.

And, one might add, by looking to street politics. The Islamic Republic seems relatively stable for now, but in the longer term, the current establishment's alienation of moderate conservatives and businessmen alongside Iran's baby-boom youth won't do good things for the system's viability. We'll see how Iran's demographics will interact with other social, economic, and political forces in the months and years ahead.

31 comments:

ironrailsironweights said...

Young Iranians have been leaving the country in large numbers to find jobs in faraway places as Canada and Australia. The cost to the country for losing its human capital is estimated to be $40 billion a year.

At least Iran does not have to worry about a "brain drain" of young people to the United States.

Peter

Anonymous said...

Since it is now almost nine years later than when the 2.0 TFR was registered it is very possible that the overall TFR for Iran is below 1.8 now.

Could this statistic reach the levels frequently seen in Eastern European and parts of East Asia in Iran?

I wonder if the political and economic unrest will have any effects like they have had in Russia.

Randy said...

Peter:

The United States is a major destination, too. There's a particularly large Iranian-American community in Los Angeles, but they're all over.

Anonymous:

Honestly, I don't see why fertility in Iran wouldn't drop to the lowest-low levels of post-Communist Europe and much of eastern Asia. Inasmuch there's an overall trend, it's for fertility to collapse everywhere but in the developed Anglophonish world and the band of northwestern European countries stretching from France and Ireland over to Finland. A well-funded and -supported role for women in society is needed, and even in the most optimistic scenarios I can't see Iran making that transition quickly enough.

As for the unrest, I don't think it'll have much impact. Far more important are the ongoing bad economic times, characterized by high levels of unemployment, inflation, and general economic suffering. If anything can depress fertility in the short term, it's that kind of thing.

Anonymous said...

Business Week stated "But Iran is no Taiwan or Singapore. The Shia Muslim nation's economy is so strangled by government control and regulation that it produces too few jobs to absorb all those college grads."

Do they mean American or Iranian government control? Looking at the control the Singapore government exercises i guess that mean American.

Wolfgang G. Gasser said...

"Could this statistic reach the levels frequently seen in Eastern European and parts of East Asia in Iran?"

Demographic transition leads to a state where birth figures cannot remain substantially higher than death figures (because of Demographic Saturation). Now in Iran, still as many as 17 births per 1,000 are confronted with only 6 deaths. The population pyramid of Iran is such that the number of fertile woman will not (essentially) decrease within the next decade, yet birth numbers will substantially converge to the low deaths numbers.

So we can expect that within the next ten years, Iranian fertility will fall to at least around one child per woman.

Randy said...

Anonymous:

It's definitely Iranian government policy that's responsible for economic problems--see this Council on Foreign Relations document, this blog post, and this Business Week article. Suffice it to say that Dutch disease, an inefficient state sector, limited foreign investment, and a preference for ideological purity above efficiency have seriously hurt the Iranian economy.

Wolfgang:

I'm not sure how a TFR of <1 need exist, or can exist--that has only happened in Hong Kong and Macau. Perhaps more likely, I'd think, would be a sustained drop of TFRs to eastern European/East Asian levels, with cohort fertility at around 80% of replacement rates. There's still going to be quite a bit of demographic momentum for some time to come, but the estimates I've seen suggest that things will remain manageable until the mid-21st century.

And this says nothing about immigration. Iran's neighbours are mostly poorer, sometimes much poorer. Iran might yet have recourse to some kind of replacement migration.

Wolfgang said...

If cohort fertility in Iran actually fell to 80% of the replacement rate within the next decade (without substantial mortality increase), this would result in maybe 5 or 6 births per 1000 and a fertility rate quite below 1.0.

There are several countries, regions and sub-populations, where demographic momentum was expected, extremely low fertilty however was the result. The reason is simple: After demographic transition, fecundability is inversely correlated with the number of women in fertile age.

"The lowest TFR recorded anywhere in the world in recorded history is for Xiangyang district of Jiamusi city (Heilongjiang, China) which had a TFR of 0.41."
(wiki/Total_fertility_rate)

It is impossible to understand the current demographic situation within the framework of standard demography.

Anonymous said...

You can not look at policy without looking at the circumstances. In a situation like Iran your people are to expensive to work in garments so that is off. Cars are a possibility but that has its problems with America see for example Daewoo and its takeover by GM. It killed their Iranian plant. Electronics are another possibility but America is again a problem. And building a fab is something you can do when you really have money to burn but America makes that even impossible. Financial services, again America. That doesn't leave much open for the free market etc. which Business week and the Council on Foreign Relations propagate.

Cicerone said...

"Could this statistic reach the levels frequently seen in Eastern European and parts of East Asia in Iran?"


I simpy think, yes. The fertility-rate of Teheran city is already at 1.32 and it's likely to plummet further. Randy stated that a society has to be supportive to women, but Iran is even more repressive to women. The more repressive, the lower the fertility, when the society is being confronted with the demographic transition. I am almost sure that Iranian fertility will fall to lowest-low levels, if not below 1 child/woman. The 'honor' of having the lowest fertility in Europe now belongs to one of the more muslim countries, Bosnia and Herzegovina, with around 1.11. Albania has already fallen to 1.32. And these countries are the more liberal of the muslim world. The really repressive societies like Saudi-Arabia will face fertility-rates as low as never seen before on national levels.


Wolfgang: Fertility rates far below 1 child/woman are very common for inner city districts. If we multiply this 0.41 with 1.4 to neutralize underreporting of births in China (The ratio of the official census figure of ca. 1.2 to the cia-figure being 1.4) we get 0.58. This is still an extraordinary low figure, but not as extreme as before. The district Meguro of Tokyo has 0.75 and Central district of Taichung in Taiwan has 0.71.

Randy said...

Wolfgang:

Population momentum does exist as a serious phenomenon. China imposed its one-child policy more than a generation ago, but it has still seen notable population growth despite a radically below-replacement TFR and will continue to see population growth for some time to come.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting and informative replies by Randy, Wolfgang, and Cicerone. Thanks.

Cicerone: The comparison of recent fertility trends in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania with other European countries is interesting.

It appears that both you and Randy are correct about general Middle Eastern fertility rates. The speed at which many Arab countries are following Iran in the demographic transition seems to point to similar outcome. It will be interesting to watch Saudi Arabia demographics.

ironrailsironweights said...

It appears that both you and Randy are correct about general Middle Eastern fertility rates. The speed at which many Arab countries are following Iran in the demographic transition seems to point to similar outcome. It will be interesting to watch Saudi Arabia demographics.

One of the favorite memes in the blogosphere is the fear - paranoia, more accurately - that Islam is going to Conquer the World (or such parts that they haven't already conquered; Eurabia is already lost, India may be doomed, and China's not looking too safe). It's interesting to see whether evidence of a Muslim demographic transition will reduce these fears. Probably not.

Peter

Anonymous said...

Yes. Another thing with regard to the Eurabia concept, is that it would seem like since most Muslims (of immigrant origin or with recent ancestors who immigrated ancestors) often reside in major urban centers. The propensity of Islamic immigrants to migrate to large cities might eventually lead to TFRs below the national averages.

Cicerone said...

@Anonymous: This is already visible in Germany. Although the cities hold a large share of the muslim population, the fertility rate of big cities is still under the national average. Big cities in Germany usually have lowest-low-fertility (below 1.3). On the borough layer, I have only data for Berlin. The three boroughs most prominent for their muslim population are Neukölln, Mitte and Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg. As Mitte and Neukölln have TFRs in the range of 1.4, F.-K. has a TFR of about 1.1. F.-K. is also a prominent borough for people of the political left, so maybe that's the reason for it.

If you look at the fertility trends in Europe (http://www.prb.org/pdf08/TFRTable.pdf this sheet is very informative!), you notice that the two majority muslim countries, Albania and Bosnia-Herzegowina are moving against the trend of higher fertility. B-H holds it's status of lowest-low-fertility and Albania's fertility is collapsing. I wonder if that trend will hit the asian muslim countries too.

Randy said...

If we're talking about Muslims ...

The evidence that I've seen from the Netherlands, for instance--and I suspect this carries on into Germany as well--suggests that while some immigrant groups (Surinamese, for instance) adopt the fertility norms of the Dutch population quickly, the Turks and Moroccans are a general or so behind. A greater degree of cultural isolation can be associated with this, I suppose.

The Netherlands will become more Muslim, but Eurabia? Given the existing scenarios where "ethnic Dutch" are predicted to constitute three-quarters of the population by 2050 and most "immigrants" are of non-Muslim background, hardly. If only talk about population change could consistently get beyond Eurabia ...

As for declining TFRs in the Arab world, why not? The Maghreb and Lebanon already have or are advancing towards below-replacement fertility, as are most of the smaller Persian Gulf states. Other societies, where most women don't have the autonomy necessary to control their fertility, like Saudi Arabia and Yemen, will take longer.

Noel Maurer said...

So what does New York City do right? The 2007 TFR for the city was 2.0. The suburbs come in at 1.9, as does the rest of the state.

Only Manhattan has low-low fertility (1.4) but that's entirely expected considering that large numbers (half?) of young Manhattan women will move to the outer boroughs or burbs before giving birth.

Other American cities are similar; with a few exceptions (like San Francisco), urban fertility is not much lower than rural fertility. Chicago clocks in second-lowest, at 1.7.

In other words, ultra-low urban fertility rates in other countries are a bit of a mystery. Don't assume that there is something "natural" about it.

Anonymous said...

The underclass has in the western world a high TFR. Not that i would want to claim that the US has a large underclass compared with other Western countries

Cicerone said...

@ Noel: I calculated a TFR for NYC of 1.8 children/woman. Where did you get your data from? I think the reason for NYC are Haredi Jews with a TFR of ca. 7 children/woman, which, although numbering only ca. 3% of the total population of NYC, have a big influence on the demographics. Other cities in the USA also have above average TFRs, notably Dallas, Denver and Indianapolis, which have TFRs of about 2.6-3 children/woman. Maybe this is because of the high share of Hispanics, but I don't know.

I think the US is the exception here, as in most of the other countries, TFR for cities are lower than the national average. And to witness ultra-low urban TFRs, you don't have to travel far. Take Vancouver for example, the Inner City (population: 100,000) averaged a stunning 0.66 children/woman over the last 10 years. Vancouver (600,000)itself has a TFR of 1.07 and the metro area in total (about 2 million inhabitants) has 1.3 children/woman.


I think that the urban fertility is related to culture, although I don't have an exact explanation of that. But anyway, that would be an interesting question for demographers.

Wolfgang said...

"In other words, ultra-low urban fertility rates in other countries are a bit of a mystery. Don't assume that there is something 'natural' about it."

Demographic transition eventually leads to a state where birth numbers become and remain close to death numbers. If one accepts this rather obvious empirical fact then ultra-low fertility is far away from being a mystery.

The cities (of developing countries) are leading in the demographic transition and therefore the first regions reaching the birth-death-equilibrium stage of demographic transition. An ultra-low fertility rate is then a purely logical consequence of the proportion of a small number of deaths to a huge number of fertile women.

But these cities are only forerunners in reaching such low fertilities. The rural areas will follow (if life expectancy is or becomes close to urban life expectancy). Within ten or twenty years, fertility of the richer areas of China (such as e.g. Hong Kong, Beijing) will become higher than the average of the country. The same will later happen in Iran.

"The underclass has in the western world a high TFR."

At least in Europe, this is no longer valid. In the same way as richer European countries now tend to have higher fertilites, richer social groups can have higher fertilities. One ad-hoc-explanation: Life has become so expensive and complicated that the poorer are less able to afford children.

Noel Maurer said...

Cicerone: I calculated the numbers from the New York State Department of Health Vital Statistics, which list the number of women in each age category, and the number of births to women in that category. The data is available back to the 1990s.

Since the data is broken out by borough, you can do a quick-and-dirty test of the Haredi hypothesis. Simply, the Bronx and Queens show TFRs of 2.0 and 2.1, despite small Orthodox populations, while Staten Island is a relatively high 1.8. The Haredi might explain Brooklyn at 2.2, but that's about it.

The Canada/U.S. distinction is strange, and seems to cut across all racial, income, and educational groups. I don't understand it. King County, Washington, for example, has a TFR of 1.8, only a bit lower than the statewide TFR of 2.0.

Anonymous: dangerous area here, easy to misunderstand. But also easily testable with the vital statistics data. N.Y. shows no racial distinctions in TFR, and white birthrates in Chicago are higher. Inasmuch as you mean "underclass" to mean "black," the hypothesis is incorrect. (Most Americans indeed use the term as a synonym for "poor and black," which is why I hate it.) If you mean "underclass" to mean "poor," then what Wolfgang said.

Anonymous said...

A likely expanation why TFR for cities in the US is higher than is probably due to the way college is set up. In the rest of the world colleges are mostly centered in the cities. In America they are in college towns. And student don't get kids.

Anonymous said...

No, want i mean with underclass is underclass, not black and/or poor otherwise i would have said black and/or poor. The underclass get there income from non traditional source. (welfare, crime, under the table work, collecting soda cans, etc)

Noel Maurer said...

Anonymous, if that is your definition, then the LFPR figures will tell you that you're talking about a miniscule slice of the American urban population.

This is what I was referring to when I said we were entering a "dangerous area." Some words indicate a high probability that the subsequent discussion may be based on assumptions rather than data. "Underclass" is one of those words.

Noel Maurer said...

I am a bit worried, Anonymous, about your statement that the "underclass" has a high TFR. I would very much like to know how you know that people who get their income from "welfare, crime, under the table work, collecting soda cans, etc" have higher fertility than others.

I'm also curious how you adjust for life-cycle effects. I spent a large portion of my childhood on AFDC. Does that mean my mother was a member of the underclass? She worked both before and after.

Finally, I am curious as to how someone can get most of their income from "welfare" since Congress replaced AFDC with TANF.

Forgive me, but the above does lead to be a little worried about how you draw your conclusions and your mental model of American society. No aspersions intended; I merely want to point out to other readers and yourself exactly why I think the totality of the language you employ (and not merely the word "underclass") is dangerously sloppy and can lead people of good will to doubt your intentions.

Best regards, truly.

Noel Maurer said...

I am a bit worried, Anonymous, about your statement that the "underclass" has a high TFR. I would very much like to know how you know that people who get their income from "welfare, crime, under the table work, collecting soda cans, etc" have higher fertility than others.

I'm also curious how you adjust for life-cycle effects. I spent a large portion of my childhood on AFDC. Does that mean my mother was a member of the underclass? She worked both before and after.

Finally, I am curious as to how someone can get most of their income from "welfare" since Congress replaced AFDC with TANF.

Forgive me, but the above does lead to be a little worried about how you draw your conclusions and your mental model of American society. No aspersions intended; I merely want to point out to other readers and yourself exactly why I think the totality of the language you employ (and not merely the word "underclass") is dangerously sloppy and can lead people of good will to doubt your intentions.

Best regards, truly.

Anonymous said...

Sorry i offended you by making you think you're part of the underclass.

problem with defining underclass is it is quite clear who they are but defining them is hard

Jan Baker said...

Some comments said that women in Iran have it the worst in the Middle East. Would you please check out this article,
http://iranquest.com/blog/?p=7839
which describes the activities of women in the recent demonstrations, and gives the context of the life of Iranian women in the last twenty years, and it does not sound any different from life all around the world. According to the article, women comprise two thirds of all Iranian university students (which would match the enrollment statistics in the rest of the world now. Their nation-wide literacy rate is practically identical with men's (in the mid nineties). Their political action groups dictate the movement of Iranian politics, including a big Green push, and it was said in the article that it is their political work and especially the sophistated network women built, that determines who leads Iran now. One can lead, you know, from the side. Iranian women don't even HAVE to work, unlike us Americans. Is it possible that one's definition of power might need adjustment? (Please do not argue over one stoning; it a throwback and reaction to the present real situation. View Iranian women stoning the police in recent internet videos.)

By the way, yesterday I read that the birth rate of American citizens is 1.6, and that us holding on to replacement level is actually due to the Mexican immigrant birthrate. Everyone knows that anyway, who has any contact with the US child-bearing population, like teachers and clinics, but it was interesting to see the numbers.

This birthday present is about to end, however. Mexico is passing abortion laws left and right, some states equal in liberality to the US, others somewhat more restricted. The aborting mentality will infect most, as the Church in Mexico has lately neglected its role of educating the faithful, and there is no other counterforce.

But still, the fact that Mexicans saved us just one generation might make us the last nation standing.

Anonymous said...

U.S. citizens have a TFR rate above 1.6. Non-hispanic whites have about 1.871. The black and Asian or Pacific Islander populations have 2.1345 and 2.043 respectively. Native Americans have 1.8605.

Hispanics have about 2.992. That boosts the birth rate quite a bit; however most of the citizen population is fairly close to replacement level fertility (although most are somewhat lower). That is fairly high for a developed country.

This data is from: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr57/nvsr57_12.pdf

Anonymous said...

You are definitely correct about the long term birth rate implications of Mexico's declining birth rate.

The fertility rate of Mexican immigrants will probably drop (as perhaps will the number of immigrants) as Mexico's fertility rates drop (recently went below replacement level from what I have seen). When combined with the large population of the U.S. the total fertility rate is likely to move down some (although some of the lowerer TFR groups might see somewhat upward movement).

If hispanic fertility rates decline in the U.S. the TFR would go below replacement level as you note.

duanemiller said...

This has certainly been a fascinating conversation!

I am interested in the topic of Eurabia and the argument that falling birth rates in Muslim-majority countries make the concept of Eurabia untenable.

Here is what I am guessing at down the road: Muslim fertility continues to decline, but on the whole stay quite a bit higher than ethnic-European fertility.

Climate change (and thus the inability of feed people) and declining political stability in many Muslim countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Egypt, Pakistan, Libya) will lead to increasing emigration from those countries, much of it ending up in Europe.

An increasingly vociferous Islamic political presence in Europe demands 'rights' which other religious groups never asked for. As with many Christians and Jews here in the Middle East (where I am), they decide to leave for a place they see as more welcoming (the USA?), further chipping away at the ethnic-European population.

Some countries will continue to produce Muslim migrants and refugees, like Somalia and Pakistan and Yemen, for the indefinite future. But those countries do not have the resources to feed or educate or supply them with jobs. Some will go to Europe.

Forgive the long question, but am I correct in understanding that even with all of the above (and I think it is a possible scenario), that no country in W Europe will have a plurality of Muslims by 2100?

My area of expertise is conversion from Christianity to Islam, so please forgive a non-specialist from listening in and asking what may well be a totally ridiculous question!

duanemiller said...

This has certainly been a fascinating conversation!

I am interested in the topic of Eurabia and the argument that falling birth rates in Muslim-majority countries make the concept of Eurabia untenable.

Here is what I am guessing at down the road: Muslim fertility continues to decline, but on the whole stay quite a bit higher than ethnic-European fertility.

Climate change (and thus the inability of feed people) and declining political stability in many Muslim countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Egypt, Pakistan, Libya) will lead to increasing emigration from those countries, much of it ending up in Europe.

An increasingly vociferous Islamic political presence in Europe demands 'rights' which other religious groups never asked for. As with many Christians and Jews here in the Middle East (where I am), they decide to leave for a place they see as more welcoming (the USA?), further chipping away at the ethnic-European population.

Some countries will continue to produce Muslim migrants and refugees, like Somalia and Pakistan and Yemen, for the indefinite future. But those countries do not have the resources to feed or educate or supply them with jobs. Some will go to Europe.

Forgive the long question, but am I correct in understanding that even with all of the above (and I think it is a possible scenario), that no country in W Europe will have a plurality of Muslims by 2100?

My area of expertise is conversion from Christianity to Islam, so please forgive a non-specialist from listening in and asking what may well be a totally ridiculous question!