Monday, March 27, 2006

Europe's parenting problem

The problem, of course, is that more and more people choose to not become parents; i.e., birthrate has been in a serious decline. What can governments do to stem the decline? BBC has a series of articles, exploring this topic from women's point of view. I wonder why; I mean, isn't it also important to find out what European men have to say about this problem?

Anyways, start with this story, all the other stories are linked within it. There are two country-specific stories: Norway and Italy. Another story explores how more and more women choose child-free lifestyles.

One of the concerns about the decline in birth rates is about how an aging population can be supported by a dwindling population. Immigration is a potential solution, but looks like Europe is not too keen on it. The BBC story just offers these two lame arguments against it:

Increasing levels of immigration is, in theory, one option for Europe, but most agree it is politically unfeasible in the current climate.

Others stress that it would not in any event solve the problem in the longer term - the migrants would themselves grow old and their own fertility patterns would start to match those of the country which received them.

One can bet that when things become really desperate, immigration will be back on the table as a possible solution to Europe's problem of 'inverse population' bomb.