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“Replacement Migration”: The UN Population Division on European Population Decline


The imminent decline of populations in Europe, Japan and South Korea has generated widespread apprehension, largely because of fears that there will not be enough working age people to support the elderly. The UN Population Division has seemed to endorse those fears by an analysis of the levels of immigration needed to provide a constant number or ratio of workers, and by writing of the need for a “solution” to population decline. On the other hand, smaller populations would be environmentally advantageous in those countries. They must return to replacement level fertility or risk replacement by other populations, but they would benefit if they reached stationarity at a smaller population level. The transition is manageable if a higher proportion of “working age” people go to work. Right now, though dependency ratios are supposedly highly “favorable”, most of those countries are plagued by high unemployment levels.

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Grant, L. “Replacement Migration”: The UN Population Division on European Population Decline. Population and Environment 22, 391–399 (2001).

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  • Europe
  • population decline
  • dependency ratio
  • United Nations Population Division
  • “replacement fertility”