Population Decline

Economic Price of Declining Birth Rates

A report by demographers at the UN Population Deivision concludes that economic development in Western Asian countries has been dependent upon migrating laborers from neighboring countries because the countries’ indigenous populations were insufficient. The economic boom of the 1970s in Western Asia, triggered by higher oil prices, was sustained by a massive influx of immigrants, which increased by an annual rate of 19 percent from 1975 to 1980. Dependence on migrants from neighboring labor-rich countries has continued. In Israel where the birthrate is well below replacement, its economy has survivied over the past 15 years by the steady influx of immigrants from Russia and other countries like Romania, the Philippines and Thailand.

A number of East and Southeast Asian countries were also able to maintain economic growth in the face of declining fertility, by turning to immigrant labor. Even the financial crisis of 1997 in Asia saw no decline in “demands for migrant workers in certain sectors”. Had the workers not been available, development in many countries would have stalled due to labor shortages.

Despite the U.N.’s own conclusions about the need for people to sustain economic development, population control ideologies at USAID continue to claim otherwise: they claim that “population planning” and “fertility reduction” is necessary to jump-start development. [Population Research Institute Weekly Briefing, 19Nov2003; HLA Action News, Winter 2004]