Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday. I had planned to move beyond the topic of the previous post, but instead feel compelled to return to it by a new Mark Steyn doom-and-gloom piece.
In the latest of his Western demographic disaster articles, Steyn compares Palestinian and Episcopalian birthrates to once again advance his thesis of high-fertility Muslim immigrants taking over low-fertility Europe. Furthermore, he writes a rejoinder to a strong opposing piece by columnist Ralph Peters, who feels that Europe will soon awaken and expel the Muslims.
So who is correct? I'm still undecided on Peters (although I do have some thoughts in the comments section of a post on Israpundit covering the debate). But as usual, Steyn's demographic analyses are largely off the mark. Similar to with his previous Europe-is-a-goner conclusions (debunked here and here), he simply ignores significant factual data.
In his current article, Steyn is absolutely correct that Europe has low fertility. What he doesn't mention, though, is that most Muslims today also have low fertility, and the Muslims still at high rates are dropping rapidly. Steyn cites a Palestinian grandmother with nine children and 41 grandchildren as a high-birthrate Muslim example. But really, her fertility is irrelevant. You see, her childbirths already occurred in the past; the real number to be concerned with is not her fertility, but the fertility of those grandchildren who are *currently* of reproductive age. And on average, this generation is having not nine children, but only one or two each. This is right in line with European fertility levels, and does not at all lead to the type of demographic takeover that Steyn envisions.
Mark Steyn is a fine writer in many other regards, but his demographic projections simply don't gel with statistical reality. And given the disastrous policies that can proceed from faulty demographic knowledge (i.e. Ehud Olmert's continuous call for Israel to withdraw from settlements), I believe it is strongly necessary to correct such misunderstandings.