The Blog

Population Wars

Why Europe's demography is more complicated than you may think.

12:00 AM, Sep 28, 2007 • By DUNCAN CURRIE
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"We can't take the native-born population for granted," says Nicholas Eberstadt, a demographer at the American Enterprise Institute. In the year after an Islamist murdered Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, tens of thousands of native-born Dutch emigrated abroad, mostly to Anglophone countries such as Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, or to other European countries. To put these numbers in perspective, remember that Holland's population is less than 17 million. There is also a burgeoning trend of out-migration from Britain, and a similar pattern beginning to emerge in Germany.

"Demography isn't everything," says Coleman, who reckons that "market forces" and government policies can help overcome population hurdles. But he also believes the 21st century will see historic ethnic transformations in both Europe and the United States. In terms of assimilating migrants, Coleman touts America's "national ego strength"--its patriotism, self-confidence, and assertiveness--as its "trump card." Future decades may challenge that trump card as never before.

Duncan Currie is managing editor of The American.