There is growing evidence being presented by demographic studies throughout the world that Europe is entering, or indeed several countries within the EU have already entered Stage 5 of the demographic transition model. Falling death rates coupled with birth rates declining below these has resulted in population decline in many EU countries, e.g., Italy, Germany and Spain. For many this was believed to be economically desirable. The expectation was that employment opportunities would increase, based on the assumption that fewer people would be competing for a fixed number of jobs, an there would be a greater supply of resources to go around.
A counter argument is that the whole situation across Europe and North America may in fact be changed by what happens at the bottom of their social hierarchies. Poor immigrant populations may be the ones to change the demographic structure. The 20% of the population in the MEDW enjoy 80% of all the world's resources. Assuming Europe moves into Stage 5 of the demographic transition model there will be enormous pressure for increased immigration into Europe. Currently there is increasing concern over a potential shortage of workers particularly in the service sector of the economy. The consequences of mass immigration and subsequent integration could raise the potential for social unrest on a large scale.
Click on the image to view the interactive web sites for population pyramids in the UK and Germany. Using the interactive models view the projections for the change in population structure for the next fifty years. N.B. both of these models do not take into consideration the latest countries to join the EU and their impact through migration. (Consider the issues presented in the previous blog).