by Amanda Read | August 25th, 2009
“I’m sure we’ve all heard some variation of the fact before: the average Muslim family has 8.1 children, while the American birth rate barely reaches the bare minimum for a culture to survive beyond 25 years – 2.11 children – and that is counting the influx of Latino immigration. Discounting the immigrants, the fertility rate of American citizens is a scanty 1.6. This means that there is a good chance the United States of America could become an Islamic-dominated nation (along with European nations) within 50 years unless something changes soon (1).”
- One of the opening paragraphs of Cream Puff Culture, an article by me that targeted child-shunning and its economic consequences, in which I also cited the popular “Muslim Demographics” video. This video has since been ridiculed all over the internet, and some mistakes in its claims have led many to believe that its message is fraudulent, which has led to my article being attacked as incorrect.
Ah, the devil is in the details. Heralding potentially indeterminable details can cause the entire point to be missed and make it appear fraudulent. I apologize for citing the video without including more in depth research. Please allow me to explain that further research shows that my entire article is not at all fraudulent, and neither is the entire video (NOTE: my article content was NOT based upon that video, but rather independent study; the video was only an extra reference which I otherwise have nothing to do with). But there are minor errors that need to be corrected, and I will proceed to do so now. I will also attempt dissecting the criticism of the video and see if the criticism is substantial or not. I’ll have to keep this first article brief, but if I get a chance outside of college studying I will fact-check even more in depth.
The focus of this article will be whether or not the premise of the Muslim Demographics video (that is, the concept that Muslims are growing in population while the rest of the world is not) is worthy of consideration.
“France has a fertility rate of 1.8, Muslims have a fertility rate of 8.1…”
The subject of demographics can be summed up in a few simple words: the study of people replacing people. It doesn’t take a precise science to determine the outcome of many demographically oriented things. Common sense is all that is needed to anticipate the outcome of two people producing two children: if the offspring live, they will have replaced themselves after death, but the population will not increase. But if two parents have more than two children and the offspring live, they will have more than replaced themselves after death.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether the average Muslim woman has 8 children, 5 children or 3 children; Muslim families on average still more than replace themselves more often than the rest of the world. What evidence do we have of this? According to the U.S. Census Bureau and CIA World Factbook, most Islamic countries have a higher fertility rate than Western nations do, which hearkens to the cultural mindset that Muslims have toward reproduction.
TOTAL FERTILITY RATE ESTIMATE (births per woman):
Niger – 7.75 – 80% Muslim
Mali – 7.29 – 90% Muslim
Iraq – 3.9 – 97% Muslim
Afghanistan – 6.53 – over 80% Muslim
Saudi Arabia – 3.83 – 100% Muslim
Yemen – 6.32 – 99% Muslim (according to Swivel; other sources uncertain)
United Arab Emirates – 2.42 – 96% Muslim
Syria – 3.1 – over 74% Muslim
Pakistan – 3.4 – 95% Muslim
Gaza Strip – 5.0 – 99.3% Muslim
Qatar – 2.5 – 77.5 % Muslim
Compare that trend to Western nations, the fertility rates of which The Muslim Demographics video did fairly accurately report:
America – 2.11 or possibly 2.05
England – 1.66
France – 1.98 (The U.S. Census Bureau differs slightly by estimating the French fertility rate to currently be 2.1 per woman with demographic indicators projecting their population to decline to 1.9 by 2025)
Greece – 1.37
Germany – 1.41
Italy – 1.31
Spain – 1.31
The atheist blogger Tiny Frog stated that it didn’t seem to make sense that most of the Muslim immigrants in France could be so populous when they usually come from countries that don’t have such productive birthrates:
Morocco – 2.51
Algeria – 1.79
Tunisia – 1.72
Turkey – 2.21
(Notice that those are still higher numbers than some of the Western nations!)
There are numerous explanations for this. For one thing, European nations have struggled with the reproduction issue, to the point of offering benefits for women who have children. Has it ever occurred to anyone that Muslim residents in those countries could just be regular citizens accepting the benefits as well? For another, demographer Ariela Keysar wrote :
“The average number of children a woman has, defined as the total fertility rate, is determined by both biology and individual choice. Marriage patterns, usage of birth control and social norms regarding family size and infant mortality are among the determinants of fertility…As discussed earlier, a critical factor is distributing the power over reproductive choices…
The differences in fertility rates among the Mediterranean countries are quite striking, with total fertility rates at the top of Figure 9-6 (in North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean) double those at the bottom (in Northern Mediterranean or European countries). Egypt and Syria have about 3 children on average per woman. Greece, Italy and Spain have about 1.4 children on average. This is below replacement level of 2.1 children. In these countries many women are childless…All the Mediterranean countries experienced substantial declines in fertility levels compared to the 1970s levels, with the exception of Israel and France, which had only moderate decreases. The most notable declines were in Syria and Algeria, where fertility rates in the mid-1970s were about 7.4 children per woman on average. In Morocco TFR was 6.9 and in Turkey it was 5.8 at the beginning of the 1970s. These rates are more than double the rates of the 1990s and the rates presented in Figure 9-6 for the beginning of the 21st century. This suggests that Mediterranean populations are shifting from high to low fertility.” (1)
Thus, the traditional high fertility rate has just recently plummeted in that area. Another possible factor to consider is the infant mortality rate. Morocco, Algeria, Turkey and Tunisia are ranked worldwide as 69th, 80th, 85th and 98th respectively in height of infant mortality, with 36.88 – 22.57 babies dying per 1,000 live births. France, on the other hand, is ranked 217th, beating even America’s level of healthy infants (we’re ranked at 180). The diet, climate and medical improvement offered to immigrants that arrive in France surely doesn’t hurt their fertility level.
“Historical research tells us these numbers are impossible to reverse. In a matter of years, Europe as we know it will cease to exist.”
In science, if you presume a particular result based on an established trend of data because there is no data available for the specific region you are studying, it is called extrapolation. Some times your extrapolation turns out to be valid, other times it does not. A famous example of extrapolation gone awry would be the extrapolation made by Charles Darwin. Though he had no evidence of one species evolving into another, he extrapolated that it might be possible because he saw certain breeds evolve from one to another within species (an accurate trend of data). He and his followers trusted that evidence to support this extrapolation would be revealed in the future, but we have yet to see any missing links that are not hoaxes, misnomers or still highly disputed finds.
Now, many of the Muslim Demographics video’s claims are extrapolations. They are what the video producer imagines will happen based on trends of data. Ultimately, only time will tell if there is any real legitimacy to it. However, these extrapolations are dealing with fertility rates, which are mathematical examinations and predictions based on a process that we can actually see. We have never witnessed one species of animal evolve into another, but we have watched populations rise and decline and seen the economic effects such vicissitudes have had. For now, let us take a closer look at the particular claim about irreversible fertility rates.
Tiny Frog also mentioned that France once revived its fertility rate after it had sunk to astonishingly low numbers after World War II. However, I perceived that the video meant that if a low fertility rate is sustained for a lengthy period of time (say, 25+ years), then as far as we know the rate is impossible to reverse (which is probably accurate). France’s low fertility levels did not last for decades upon decades. The point remains, it still had to be reversed some how in order for the nation to survive. How do you best go about doing that? By having children!
“After the population losses of World War I, France prohibited abortion and the promotion of contraception. After World War II, it adopted a pro-natalist national population policy which aims at encouraging more births through financial incentives, such as maternity grants, paid maternity leave and tax benefits to parents. It is associated with the relative high fertility in France as compared with Italy and Spain.” (2)
Interestingly enough, the French census actually does not currently track religion, race or ethnicity. But in order to “better track its own demographic shifts and combat racial discrimination“, France is considering changing that pretty soon (3). So, at the moment we may not realize how many pieces of the puzzle we are missing in this realm.
“The German government recently stated, ‘The fall in the [German] population can no longer be stopped. Its downward spiral is no longer reversible…it will be a Muslim state by the year 2050.’”
This was perhaps the biggest goof in the video, which is odd considering that it wasn’t even necessary to make a dramatic point. The actual statement made by Walter Rademacher with the German Federal Statistics Office is more interesting.
By Gudrun Schultz
BERLIN, Germany, November 9, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Germany’s downward spiral in population is no longer reversible, the country’s federal statistics office said Tuesday. The birthrate has dropped so low that immigration numbers cannot compensate.
“The fall in the population can no longer be stopped,” vice-president Walter Rademacher with the Federal Statistics Office said, reported Agence France-Presse.
Germany has the lowest birthrate in Europe, with an average of 1.36 children per woman. Despite government incentives to encourage larger families, the population is dropping rapidly and that trend will continue, with an expected loss of as much as 12 million by 2050. That would mean about a 15 percent drop from the country’s current population of 82.4 million, the German news source Deutsche Welle reported today.
The low birthrate will cause the German population to age dramatically over the next 40 years–last year there were 144,000 more deaths than births, and that number could increase to 600,000 by 2050, the FSO forecast stated.
With a 22 percent reduction in the workforce and increasing costs for senior assistance and medical care, the drop in population is expected to have a radical impact on the nation’s economy, along with the welfare budget…
“The projections tell us the development of demographic trends will be even more dramatic in the eastern part of Germany,” Radermacher said. “This is because of the fertility rates in the eastern part of Germany, because of internal migration with the borders of Germany and many other demographic factors.”
While immigrants are increasingly relied upon to compensate for low birth rates in European countries, Radermacher said even factoring in a projected annual influx of 100,000-200,000 migrants won’t prevent the population plunge.
“Even those people who are immigrants adopt after a couple years the lifestyle and the number of children per family. So the assumption that immigrants will stick to their habits is simply not true.”
Germany has one of the largest populations of Muslim immigrants in Western Europe, with a Muslim community of over 3 million. That trend is expected to continue, leading some demographic trend-watchers to warn that the country is well on the way to becoming a Muslim state by 2050, Deutsche Welle reported.
The Brussels Journal reported last month that one third of all European children will be born to Muslim families by 2025. There are an estimated 50 million Muslims living in Europe today–that number is expected to double over the next twenty years. (4)
So, Deutsche Welle reported that Germany is “well on the way” to becoming a Muslim nation, but did not state that it is a certain fact. Notice that I also suggested that Muslim population-domination has a “good chance” of happening, but I did not claim that it really would.
“This video uses scare tactics – cherry picking a few gloomy statistics and exploiting them…”
This accusation against the video actually makes me chuckle, because when I watched the video it didn’t scare me at all. I see how the music, smooth narration and animation effects are a little on the melodramatic side, but I still don’t see it as being scary. I think the Muslim Demographics video producer’s mistake was in expressing the Muslims-dominating-by-2050 theory as certain fact. But viewers should be prepared to understand what sort of data is being dealt with. Fertility rates and immigration rates are, of course, educated estimates; there is no way to know and calculate 100% what is occurring demographically. It would be more plausible to say that Muslims could conceivably (no pun intended) become a majority within the next hundred years. The general Islamic mindset of conquering the world by raising more children is not a myth. There are eyewitness accounts of this. As I mentioned in my article, even a relative of mine was confronted by a Muslim doctor who told him so to his face.
I will note that the popular Muslim Demographics video might err in another facet of this argument. Though you might be able to demographically evaluate ethnic origin (i.e., Arab), you cannot truly evaluate faith. Not all Muslims are of Arab descent (due to conversion), and not all Arabs are (or remain) Muslim (also due to conversion). I suppose, as we have seen happen in the Mediterranean states, that it is possible that some Muslims can adopt secular ideals of reproduction as well (and as I also mentioned in the article, I don’t think that the secular ideals of reproduction are healthy or right or efficient in the long run).
But really, if you want to play the scare-tactics blame game, why not target Global Warming? It has less observable and theoretical evidence in its favor than even the Muslim-population-domination theory, yet people, businesses and governments are keeling over in guilt because of it. Recently Greenpeace leader Gerd Leipold had to admit that his organization’s claim that there would be “ice-free summers in the Arctic by year 2030″ is very unlikely (5). But he excused it by saying “We – as a pressure group – have to emotionalize issues, and are not ashamed of emotionalizing issues”.
As I continue to research these statistics among other things, I want to remind readers that the facts have nothing to do with me. Disagree with my thoughts on many topics you may, but I am not responsible for these things that are. I only report them.
U.S. Census Bureau: http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/idb/country.php
1. Kosmin, Barry A. and Ariela Keyar. Secularism, Women & the State: The Mediterranean World in the 21st Century. Chapter 9, “Women and Demography in the Mediterranean States”. http://www.scribd.com/doc/17232626/Women-and-Demography-in-the-Mediterranean-States, http://www.trincoll.edu/NR/rdonlyres/85D1F734-E008-4416-968A-068E509266C8/0/SWS_Chapter_9.pdf
2. | | | pg. 126
3. “Next Census in France May Track Race, Ethnicity and Religion” http://www.civilrights.org/archives/2009/04/255-french-census.html
4. “German Population Plunge ‘Irreversible’, Federal Stats Office Admits http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2006/nov/06110903.html
5. “Greenpeace Leader Admits Arctic Ice Exagerration” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NC7bE9jopXE