Saturday, August 01, 2009

Weekend Demographic Link Dump

A recent survey by the Dutch statistics office indicated that Muslims constitute 5% of the population in the Netherlands, or 825 000 people. This is an absolute decline from 865 000 in 2006. This survey actually asks people what religion the belong to, instead of presuming that everyone with a background from Muslim countries are in fact Muslim, which is often the case when people discuss Muslims in Europe. There were 296 000 Moroccan Muslims and 285 000 Turkish Muslims, out of overall populations of 340 000 Moroccans and 400 000 Turks. Mosque attendance declined from 47 to 35% of Muslims.

Sales of pregnancy aids, like nutrients and pregnancy tests are soaring in the UK and in Canada, leading people to predict a baby boom caused both by the end of the postponement process I've been harping on about and perhaps by the recession. I would'nt be surprised if the recession actually leads to increased birth rates in welfare states, at least in the short run. It's another story in countries that have relatively little welfare, either because they can't afford it (Eastern Europe) or don't want to (the US).

The Washington Post has a great article on South Korea. The savings rate has apparently plunged along with the birth rate and hose factors are obviously connected. I have this ongoing fascination with Korea because it's such an extremely competitive society where everything is done to excess, including work and education. They benefited from that during industrialization, but it's really hurt their birth rate as it takes an enormous amount of effort and money, as the article notes, to bring up children Korean-style. In related news, half of Japanese colleges can't find enough students.

India's health minister promoted extending electricity and late-night TV as a way to bring fertility down. This is one of those ideas that sound silly in theory, but in practice has some things going for it. Humans are odd that way. It's of course not a sufficient means, but every little bit helps. Besides, electricity and TV do have other advantages as well.


Stands without the door said...

On the issue about Japan's demographic situation. It seems that the DPJ (which appears likely to win the upcoming election) is discussing the issue.

There is some debate about whether their proposed policies will do much to increase the birth rate.

A link about the topic:

Aslak said...

Thanks for the article, it really is a good overview over a lot of things that's causing ultra-low fertility in East Asia. I would have liked to see more details about the policies, but the things they mentioned are broadly the things you want to do. I think the problem is the cultur aspects with regards to gender roles, culture can be difficult to change and it sometimes takes time. The countries that have been doing this succesfully, France and the Nordic countries, have spent decades building up their system and Japan will have to act fast to catch up. It's expensive and Japan is going to have a lot of pensioners to pay for while they're trying to build family-friendly policies. My worry is that they'll do just a little and not prioritize it enough.

snakeoilbaron said...

I am a little confused as to whether the decline in Dutch Muslims is related to the decline in mosque attendance (i.e. while some are going less to mosques, some are going a step futher and no longer identifying as Muslims) or if they are relocating - posibly to other EU states.

Aslak said...

Snakeoilbaron, I'm not sure but the first explanation seems more plausible. As far as I know, the immigrant population in the Netherlands is still rising, including immigrants from Muslim countries.

I have seen evidence that Somalis have been migrating to the UK from the rest of Europe, but I think that was some years ago and doesn't explain the most recent drop.

Anonymous said...

Snakeoilbaron, it has more to do with a statistical error. They assumed for the smaller countries that the distribution of religion of the emigrants was the same as for their home country overall but for example the average Syrian in Holland is a Christian asylum seeker.

Aslak said...

Anon, that's interesting. If you read this, I would love to know more if you have any links.

Anonymous said...

ch 4 but it is in Dutch.

Aslak said...

Thanks! I don't actually speak Dutch, but I can usually decipher written Dutch since I know other Germanic languages

"Met het nieuwe weegmodel kwam uit de POLS-enquête 2005/2006 een totaal van 857 duizend islamieten. Dat komt overeen met zo’n 5 procent van de bevolking. De recente cijfers, op basis van de jaren 2007/2008, geven aaner 825 duizend islamieten zijn. Opgemerkt dient te worden dat deze daling met 32 duizend Islamieten niet statistisch significant is.De laatste vier jaar is het percentage islamieten in ons land gelijk gebleven." (p. 37)

If I understand this correctly (and please correct me if I haven't), they applied the new model to the previous survey too so the fall takes that into account. However, the fall is not statistically significant, which is important.