Population: Documentary Advocates Strong Families to Avert "Demographic Winter" (2008)

 www.demographicwinter.com Filmmakers announced at a National Press Club press conference on 12Feb2008 a "groundbreaking" documentary that addresses the problems of population decline and predicts a coming "demographic winter" that will result from weakened families.    Population decline is projected to seriously affect the sustainability of present societies by reducing the economic and tax bases of nations.  The movie claims that as the number of elderly people swells there will be fewer and fewer young people to help care for them.  The documentary, titled "Demographic Winter: the decline of the human family," was written and directed by Rick Stout to examine developed countries that are below population replacement rates.  The film brings together demographers, economists, sociologists, and civic and religious leaders to explore the problems that present generations will soon face due to shrinking and aging populations.   According to a press release for the film, the global birthrate has declined by 50 percent over the past half-century. Fifty nine nations, containing 44 percent of the world's population, have birthrates below the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman.    The filmmakers report that the European birthrate is 1.3 children per woman.  This dearth of children is expected to cause Europe to have a shortfall of 20 million workers by 2030, while Russia could lose one-third of its population by 2050.  The chilling effect this decline is projected to have on economics and culture has led some to dub the phenomenon a "demographic winter," a phrase from which the documentary takes its title. "In nations with declining populations, who will operate the factories and farms? Who will guard the frontiers?...

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...