Sympatry all over again

After 40 years of a governmental one-child per family policy China is finding it difficult to raise the worker/retired person ratio in the population — and thus pay for the latter’s welfare and old age pension.

Here in Western Europe there’s been a similar vast decline in fertility even though it’s not governmentally imposed. It’s simply the fact that young adults’ wages have declined so much over the past 40 years that many would-be parents can’t even afford one child while they are saving for a deposit on a house. An average of just over two children per family — necessary for replenishment — has long gone in almost all countries in Europe. America is now just on the cusp of it now.

A counry’s population can go down, even to the point of extinction, or it can totally recover. Or — a big or — it can go two ways simultaneously — part of it disappearing, part of it growing again — as discussed in my recent blog (Will we become two species?” 26 February)

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