Excerpt: France

Model demographic country,
with problems

 

In 2000 France had a population some 23 million smaller
than Germany’s. In 50 years time the two country are
projected to have nearly the same population. While,
since 2003, the German population has been shrinking,
and a generally negative demographic development is
projected up to 2050, the French population simply continues
to grow — thanks to immigration, thanks to rising
life expectancy, because the population is relatively
young, and because the French have relatively high fertility
rates. In 2007 France (without overseas territories)
had a fertility rate of 1.96, close to the European record,
and some 50 per cent higher than that posted by its Teutonic
neighbours, even showing a rising tendency in the
recent past. For the French this will translate into growth
by eleven million by the year 2050 — while the German
population, projected to shrink by eight million in the
same period, continues to show a downward trend.1
Although the two countries have had close cultural links
for centuries — when it comes to demographics, they
seem more like antipodes.

 

Since the end of the baby boom in the 1970s, France
has annually reported an excess of births over deaths
of roughly 230,000.2 For years now the number of
newborns reported in France has remained constantly at
figures over 750.000, indeed even higher in the recent
past, and projections indicate the trend will continue.3
While French women tend to choose an increasing later
point of time to have their children, putting off maternity
to a later age has no negative impact on the overall
fertility rate.

 

(...)

 

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