Middle-class mothers in France could be paid up to €1,000 (£675) a month - almost the minimum wage - to stop work for a year and have a third child under a government scheme to boost the birthrate, already among the highest in Europe.
France is in trouble.
In a Europe facing serious demographic decline, France's buoyant birthrate of 1.9 children a woman is well above the average of 1.4 and surpassed only by Ireland. France can also boast one of the EU's highest rates of female employment: 81% of women between 25 and 49 are in work, including 75% of those with two children (and 51% of those with more than two).Indeed, all of the West is in trouble. The population replenishment rate is 2.1 children per woman. Who in the West (I am using the term broadly to encompass not only Western Europe, the US, and Canada, but also Australia, New Zealand, and Japan) is fecund enough to stop from shrinking? Using the list I just gave, the answer is no one. Here are the births-per-woman for some countries of interest:
The only country above replenishment that can legitimately be considered 'Western' is Israel, at 2.44 births per woman. But certainly that boon is coming from the less endowed Sephardic (Middle Eastern Jews) community and from miasmic Palestinians living in Israel rather than from the incredibly industrious Ashkenazi (European) Jews.
The notoriously proud French want more Frenchies. They could open up the floodgates to more Islamic immigration, but Europe is collectively shifting away from it's belief that all people are essentially the same. The brutal murder of Theo Van Gogh following a film critical of Islam, the London and Madrid terrorist bombings, the Turkish-German underclass, just to name a few, are hardening the Old Continent against its destructive post-modern liberalism. Turkey, which would open up a conduit for Middle Easterners to flood into Europe, is likely not going to be admitted to the EU.
The problem with falling birth rates in developed countries is accentuated by the fact that, like cancer, it will not be obvious until it's much too late. Population decrease trails birth rate drops by generations. Consequently, we'll have an absurdly high ratio of old-to-young before any actually numerical shrinkage occurs. And unless births per women get back up to replenishment in those listed countries, it will perpetually be that way.
Say there are 50 men and 50 women that dropped out of the sky as infants (total 100). Each live to 95 and give birth to one child (the women does) at age 30. Thus, after 30 years we have 150 people. Of those 50 newborns, 25 are men and 25 are women who will follow the same pattern. Thirty years later, we have 175 people total: 100 at age sixty, 50 at thirty, and 25 infants (population still growing).
Another 30 years, with the same birth cycles for our third generation (say 13 are women, 12 are men) and we now have 188 people total. But the age distribution is economically disastrous: 100 people are ninety, 50 are sixty, 25 are thirty, and 13 are infants. Supporting the people on top is smothering the younger generations, especially the 25 who are currnetly thirty years old.
The economic burden of supporting the senescent people makes it likely that they will have even fewer children than they did (relative to their parents). It's a vicious circle. This is where the West is today. Thirty years later the proportions are the same, but the population has finally started shrinking (because the largest first generation finally kicked the bucket): 50 people at ninety, 25 at sixty, 13 at thirty, and six infants (94 total people).
Now we are in free-fall. Thirty years later at the same births per woman, and we have only 47 people (25 at ninety, 13 at sixty, 6 at thirty, and 3 infants). If we do finally get our act (er, bodies) together, it takes generations for the momentum to actually shift. Let's say instead of plummeting, that last generation actually became thrice as fertile and had three kids per woman: 25 at ninety, 13 at sixty, 6 at thirty, and 9 infants (total 53). The next generation similarly has three children per woman: 13 at ninety, 6 at sixty, 9 at thirty, and 13 infants (total 41). Three generations into three-children women: 6 at ninety, 9 at sixty, 13 at thirty, and 20 infants (total 48). Four generations of birthing well above the replenishment rate, and we still have less people than we did at the height of the single-child generation.
This is where the West is headed. For the US, we are lucky that our brethren across the Atlantic are going off the precipice first. Bringing the third-world into the US may fix the problem but will breed one that is much worse--we will become a mosaic of low-IQed, culturally-backward special-interests groups fighting in a democratic spoils system for a short-lived bounty. Here's a better solution: Be a patriot. Marry a beautiful, intelligent woman (or man as it were), make lots of money, and churn out lots of kids.
Instead of spurriosly arguing that religiosity leads to pathology, intellectuals should be looking at how religiosity might actually be helping keep the US birthrate from plunging as far as others in Europe. Something has to be done now, before it's too late.