This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

A Quick Guide to Europe's Demography

Europe is a demographically complex region, and a new summary (with maps) of major demographic features of Europe is thus a handy tool to have at hand. To that end, the statistical office of the EU--Eurostat--recently put out its 2017 Regional Yearbook. This is a huge volume, albeit downloadable for free, but if you don't want to wade through all of that detail, Feargus O'Sullivan has posted a summary for us at In particular, what caught his eye was the following:
Among the sheer volume of detail, some clear trends emerge: younger people are leaving Europe’s south, especially its rural areas, in search of work in urban areas of the continent’s job-rich northwest. That’s creating a demographic hole that might presage extended, continuing decline.
Rural Greece, in particular, seems to be emptying out, but that had already happened in Italy, as well. Of course, as young people leave a place, they take their future childbearing with them. As you already know, fertility is low everywhere in Europe, but still higher in some places than others. The map below shows this spatial variability:

And what helps to explain this spatial pattern? I refer you back to yesterday's blog post for some clues...


  1. So are we ready to agree that the future of Western Europe is Islamic? There is a virtually limitless number of Muslims, whom I love and whom I'd like to convert to Christianity, who are immigrating to Europe. All the while Europe is eliminating itself with the help of artificial birth control and abortion. I just don't see any other possible future for Europe. As a Californian and teacher at a public university I understand that you probably don't have the freedom to address this topic honestly in a public forum without being charged with racism and bigotry. Alas, Orwell was right, no? "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others."

    Happy that you are recovering well. You are in my prayers.

    1. Thanks for the comment and the good thoughts--I appreciate them! With respect to the future of Europe, I wouldn't place any more money on it being Islamic than it being African (that is where the real population growth is--and most of those migrants are Christian), or it being a revitalized "native" Europe from a rise in the birth rate as women are afforded greater equality in the home, not just the workplace.