Demographic note for today…

For today’s demographic note we present the chipper consensus viewpoint of the UK government and the mainstream media, followed by a realistic perspective from Mark Steyn.

Warning on Britain’s grey population“, The Telegraph, 6 December 2008 — “Evidence of the challenges posed by the ageing population will be unveiled by Britain’s statistics chief this week.   Excerpt:

Karen Dunnell, the National Statistician, will bring together a wide range of evidence on the growing number of older people, and examine the changes this will bring to society and the economy.

It is the first time the National Statistician has focused on the issue in her “annual article”, which offers an in-depth examination of a particular aspect of Britain’s population figures.

At the same time, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) will publish figures showing that the UK’s birth rate surged last year to a 30-year high, driven by a baby boom among immigrant families. Among all babies born in the UK, 23 per cent had mothers who were born abroad. Whereas British-born women have only 1.7 children each on average, the figure is 3.9 for Bangladeshi-born women in Britain, and almost five for Pakistani-born women.

For the actual report see:  “Ageing and Mortality in the UK“, National Statistician’s annual article on the population, Karen Dunnell,
Population Trends, Winter 2008, no 134, pp 6-23 .

For perspective on this we turn to “Sunset in the West”, Mark Steyn, National Review Online, 7 December 2008 — Excerpt:

The conventional solution of homo economicus to the lack of homegrown young people is to import them. The remorseless aging of Britain suggests that no society in serious demographic decline can have an immigration rate high enough to compensate for it.

… By the way, that British-born 1.7 is only kept that high by the significantly higher birth rates of British-born women of Pakistani and Bangladeshi descent who now account for the main demographic energy in most English cities. Britain’s future will be more Muslim. The only question is how much more. But, at some point, those fertility rates put a question mark over the social compact. In 20 or 30 years’ time, will a young, demographically healthy Muslim working population with vast extended families be willing to pay confiscatory tax rates for the shuffleboard years of an aged, childless, fast shriveling Anglo-Celtic population? All welfare societies presuppose a commonality of interest that in the Britain of 2025 will no longer be there.


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To read other articles about these things, see the FM reference page on the right side menu bar.  Of esp relevance to this topic:

Here are the posts about demography on the FM site:

  1. Another front in the geopolitical struggles shaping our world  (3 June 2008)
  2. “The Return of Patriarchy“ – a classic article about demography   (5 June 2008)
  3. More news about Russia’s demographic collapse  (6 June 2008)
  4. The War Nerd discovers van Creveld’s “power of weakness”, and demography  (18 July 2008)
  5. Another front in the geopolitical struggles shaping our world  (3 June 2008)
  6. “The Return of Patriarchy“ – a classic article about demography   (5 June 2008)
  7. More news about Russia’s demographic collapse  (6 June 2008)
  8. The War Nerd discovers van Creveld’s “power of weakness”, and demography  (18 July 2008)

10 thoughts on “Demographic note for today…”

  1. The burden of the ‘oldest old’ on the health care system (pp 21-22 in the report)raises the question if medical research should be shifted from prolonging human lifespan by curing illnesses/postponing death onto drugs which improve old peoples ability of fending for themselves even if it reduces lifespan.

  2. Given that the people in schools today WILL be among the survivors who live to retire in 60 years or so, the demographics are a LOT more certain than climate change ever will be.

    Just like us Social Security is bankrupt/ unsustainable.

    Whether changing from Anglo-Celt to more Pakistani Muslim is a problem worth using gov’t force to try to fix or not is one issue; what the gov’t should do is a further issue (more gov’t tax reductions on those with kids — so that having two kids allows more consumption than having none?).

    Japan’s demographics should be followed closely since they’re aging even faster, but without immigrant substitution.

  3. If current trends in UK continue , those young working Pakistani Muslims in 2050 will be indistinguishable from the Phoenician Celtic Viking Mongol Saxon Dutch Jamacian Ugandan Polish Kosovan elderly they will be supporting.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Do you have data on intermarriage rates to support this? From what I have seen in the general media (no studies), their intermarriage rates were quite low. Palistani in the UK typically either marry within their community or to spouses from Pakistan.

  4. Re: “Do you have data on intermarriage rates to support this?”

    The changing face of Europe“, David Coleman, presented at a conference about Effects of Migration on Population Structures in Europe, held Vienna Institute of Demography of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, 1-2 December 2008

    The Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities do tend to marry in (women especially) but many other sizable comunities don’t and they mix with with the natives mainly, One British marriage in fifty is between partners from different ethnic groups and many more cohabit. Afro-Caribbean males are half as likely again to marry a white female than are black women to find a white husband, while among Chinese those preferences are reversed. Britain is among the most sexually open nations in the world ( scientist Steve Jones). among men who described their own ethnic group as ‘Mixed – White and Black Caribbean’, 76 per cent were married to White women, (UK gov.stat.)

    Pakistani women’s high birth rate will indeed produce the result Steyn predicts (along with a substantial mixed comunity with little Pakistani imput).

    Those who have big families are subsidised by mainly white taxpayers at the moment through welfare benefits, you don’t think they will be grateful when they are in the majority?
    Fabius Maximus replies: Thank you for the link to this interesting conference!

  5. British Pakistani men will send home for first cousin wives, many wives. On the dole, with children, and an attitude. Not an attitude of gratitude toward taxpayers, no. Decapitate all those who offend Islam, is more the style.

    Only one British marriage in fifty is of mixed race? 2%? Bloody hell, that’s nothing. Cohabitation is probably more common among mixed race couples.

    Illegitimacy is quite high in mixed race relationships of cohabitation. Pregnancy is unlikely to lead to marriage, so the mixed race child often grows up without a father, or with a succession of “fathers.” Instead of leading to a happy population of mixed race peoples, a growing criminal and delinquent underclass is likely. Youth gangs of varying self-identification competing to make names for themselves as most to be feared.

  6. I’m not a social scientist in any way .
    But I dont think ethnicity or religion are as important as the way a society evolves and takes everyone with it , like different streams joining a river .
    100 years ago in UK , most people were church going , agricultural or manual workers and granny lived in her chair in the family kitchen . Women could not vote . My mother in law had never been taught to read or write ; I was refused a mortgage (1972 ) because I was unmarried and my husband would need to sign . How things have changed and taken us with them – and why ever shouldnt new arrivals get sucked along with changes too ? ( As is happening worldwide with the Internet ! )
    Maybe we will all work till we drop , live in extended families , refuse or be refused expensive grey healthcare , as society evolves in a different direction .
    Are not state pensions , a giant Ponzi scheme ?

  7. Here is my “realistic perspective”:

    Percentage of Muslims in the UK is 2.70% (1,631,919 out of 60,441,457 – 2005 numbers from Wikipedia). Even 20 or 30 years of growth will not change that percentage much and I doubt very much that they stay “demographically healthy” for more than two generations. As had happened with Catholic immigrants to the US from Poland & Italy (this whole post feels like an article from the past with ‘Catholic’ replaced with ‘Muslim’)

    “birth rates of British-born women of Pakistani and Bangladeshi” are statistically insignificant, because of their small percentage and because their fertility rates is nearer to the national average than the foreign-born average. The 1.70 might be 1.68 if we take all second-generation immigrants out, thus both round to 1.7.

    The problem is not one of immigrants–be they Muslim or not–overwhelming a “fast shriveling Anglo-Celtic population” that is only a distraction of the real problem in UK society, one that you have presented in a very nice graph sometime ago, namely the unequal distribution of wealth!!

    The 1.7 does not represent five children on average for every three randomly selected women, because children are also unequally distributed in the UK society. A minority of wealthy housewives–husbands working in finance for example–have 3 to 4 children each; on the other side poor single-mothers on welfare have 3 to 4 children each. This leaves those in the middle with 0 to 1 child each. I think that is a much more relevant issue than the fertility of foreign-born women.

    Looking back at the last 500 years Europeans have demographically overwhelmed large parts of the world: First ethnically cleansing Muslims out of what is now considered “Christian” Europe, then they immigrated to the Americas, Southern Africa, Australia, et cetera. They even tried to settle in Muslim lands like Algeria and Libya, even today Polish settlers in Palestine are well entrenched. Russians maybe now declining, but one has to remember that they went out of Muscovy and overwhelmed Muslims for centuries.

    The solution for demographic decline is VERY easy: bar women with less than two children from higher education and employment and encourage early marriage!! This of course will have to be accompanied by a set of social-regulation unacceptable to the most conservative, e.g. anti-adulatory laws, family-friendly public domain, gender-separated schools, et cetera. You can’t have Victorian demographics without Victorian morals!

    (Apologies for the long comment. Please pardon any oversimplification and/or generalisation.)
    Fabius Maximus replies: Do you have any links to support your data? Esp the following?

    “birth rates of British-born women of Pakistani and Bangladeshi are statistically insignificant, because of their small percentage and because their fertility rates is nearer to the national average than the foreign-born average.”

    “A minority of wealthy housewives–husbands working in finance for example–have 3 to 4 children each; on the other side poor single-mothers on welfare have 3 to 4 children each. This leaves those in the middle with 0 to 1 child each.”

    You might be right. These seem incorrect to me, but this is not a field in which I have any expert knowledge. More important — as you can see even on this brief thread — this subject seems to attract folks making confident but unsupport assertions.

  8. Only two in three babies born in England and Wales are white British The Daily Mail 30th August 2008

    “The next largest group were the 8.7 per cent who were recorded as Asian – of whom Pakistanis formed the biggest section with 3.7 per cent…Bangladeshi 8,241 (1.3 per cent)”.

    [However of the total births] – “Not stated 70,303 (10.8 per cent))”

    Officials think UK’s Muslim population has risen to 2m The Guardian Tuesday 8 April 2008

    “The Muslim population in the United Kingdom may now number as many as 2 million, the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, disclosed yesterday during an official visit to Pakistan…/… The 400,000 increase in the size of the Muslim community in less than seven years demonstrates its position as the fastest growing faith community in Britain, and also reflects the age structure of the community, with more than one-third under the age of 16 at the time of the 2001 census. Outside London, Pakistani Muslims make up more than 43% of the community, with Bangladeshis accounting for 17%, and those from India at 9%. In London, the Muslim community is more evenly split between Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslims”.

    Does Fabius Maximus have any remarks on the likelyhood of any British welfare system surviving till 2050
    The age structure is going to be significant a lot of those

  9. What if the British welfare system doesnt survive ? Its good , but its not that good now . If you own your home , have savings , OR are self employed , OR are illiterate and inarticulate ( complex forms to fill in ) you are likely to be left out in the welfare cold .
    There are proably other ideas / models to be explored .
    The extended family model is one that stands the test of time and geography . You pay in through help and care , rather than money , while you can ; and hope that the family in which you were born , or into which you slid yourself , will care for you in turn .
    If your extended family are true Muslims or Christians , your chances are even better .

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