East-west demographic shifts
In the past the European continent has experienced
literal waves of migration. War, expulsion, and economic
destitution have decimated entire populations or forced
them to emigrate. This applies even to our recent past,
as is shown by the developments following the collapse
of communism. Contraction and growth can thus not
be seen as new phenomena for Europe. On balance,
and despite whatever inconsistencies may have been
observed, the direction was long clear: for centuries
the European population continued to grow, because
women had, on average, over two children. People
settled close together, with cities growing bigger and
bigger. The foundations for this kind of growth are no
longer given today.
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