Karen Dunnell, the [United Kingdom's] National Statistician, will bring together a wide range of evidence on the growing number of older people, and examine the changes this will bring to society and the economy... Three months ago the ONS revealed that Britain is home to more pensioners than children for the first time in the country's history. There are 11.58 million pensioners - classed as men over 65 and women over 60 - compared with 11.52 million under-16s.
Where's the harm in that? We can all live longer healthier lives than our grandparents did, can't we? Well, up to a point:
The NHS already restricts access to expensive new drugs that could benefit older age groups — such as sufferers of Alzheimer's and macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness — amid fears that the costs could cripple the health service...
Britain's population profile is ageing despite record immigration and the rise in the number of immigrant women having children.
Which would tend to support the view that a dependence on mass immigration is evidence of a structural defect in society that immigration alone can never resolve. The conventional solution of homo economicus to the lack of homegrown young people is to import them. The remorseless aging of Britain suggests that no society in serious demographic decline can have an immigration rate high enough to compensate for it. That's before you consider the broader implications of such a strategy:
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) will publish figures showing that the UK's birth rate surged last year to a 30-year high, driven by a baby boom among immigrant families. Among all babies born in the UK, 23 per cent had mothers who were born abroad. Whereas British-born women have only 1.7 children each on average, the figure is 3.9 for Bangladeshi-born women in Britain, and almost five for Pakistani-born women.
By the way, that British-born 1.7 is only kept that high by the significantly higher birth rates of British-born women of Pakistani and Bangladeshi descent who now account for the main demographic energy in most English cities. Britain's future will be more Muslim. The only question is how much more. But, at some point, those fertility rates put a question mark over the social compact. In 20 or 30 years' time, will a young, demographically healthy Muslim working population with vast extended families be willing to pay confiscatory tax rates for the shuffleboard years of an aged, childless, fast shriveling Anglo-Celtic population? All welfare societies presuppose a commonality of interest that in the Britain of 2025 will no longer be there.THE CORNER/THE NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Sunset in the West [Mark Steyn]
Your Demographic Deathwatch story of the day: