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Sunday, August 9, 2015

There Are Lots of Africans in Europe's Future

The UN's new population projections have generated a number of good stories in the press, and one of the better ones is a piece by Ross Douthat in the NYTimes. He picks up on two themes: (1) the population of Africa is growing faster than that in other region of the world, as I noted a few days ago; and (2) people are risking their lives to get from Africa to Europe, as I have also discussed. These two trends suggest a "Eurafrican" future, for which Europe is badly unprepared.
Already the desire for immigration sovereignty is behind Britain’s possible referendum on a “Brexit” from the European Union. It’s behind Denmark’s experiment with reimposing border controls. It’s behind the rise of the National Front in France, and Euroskeptical parties the continent over. It’s adding to Europe’s already-significant north-south divisions, since (poorer) southern European countries are receiving the bulk of recent migrants and (richer) northern European countries would prefer the new arrivals remain in Italy or Spain. 
And these pressures are only likely to increase, because of the second difference between immigration in Europe and America: Namely, the scale of the migration that may be coming to Europe over the next fifty years.
Today there are 738 million Europeans (500 million of them in the E.U.) and just under 1.2 billion Africans. In 2050, according to the latest U.N. projections, Europe’s population will have dipped to (an aging) 707 million, while Africa’s population will be 2.4 billion. By 2100, there will be 4.4 billion Africans – two of every five human beings overall — and Europe’s population will be just 646 million.
Douthat notes--correctly in my view--that migration will be driven not just by refugees, but by people looking for a better life in Europe. That has been happening for a long time, and it is likely only to increase over time, given the "Irresistible Forces" at work (as my son, Greg, and I have written about with respect to migration to the US from Latin America).  

1 comment:

  1. Indeed. As Europe sinks toward third world status, it is likely that Russia's relative position will rise.