Sunday, May 22, 2005

The Art of Hiding Bad News

Unexpected Baby Boom in France

The results of France's 2004 Census are out—and fresh forecasts based on the numbers paint some 75 million people into the French landscape by midcentury, compared with 62.5 million today. And what is going on? Like Italians, the French live in a family-friendly society. So why a French baby boom and an Italian bust? The difference apparently comes from policy and social supports that lessen pressure on would-be parents. Can Europe solve its looming demographic crunch by embracing the French exception? You can bet governments across the continent will be looking closely.

Of course, what Newsweek fails to say here is that although Muslims make up about 10 % of the general population in France today, unofficial numbers indicate that maybe more than 30 % of newborn babies are Muslims. The reason is that Muslims get many more children than Christian Europeans. Everybody knows that, including probably both the Newsweek journalists and the French people interviewed here. How do you present the fact that the natives are being outbred in their own country and that their culture will become extinct? You smile and pretend it's good news. France may very well have 62 million inhabitants by mid-century, but it won't be "France" in any traditional sense of the word. It may be a Muslim majority nation, if it hasn't succumbed to Lebanon-style civil war long before that.

This strategy of the authorities and the media hiding the truth and lying to their own people is not unique to France. I've been saving a story from the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten. They talk about an unexplained "baby boom" in Oslo, presenting it as great news and showing a photo of a white, Norwegian kid. Aftenposten is the dominant newspaper for the Oslo region. It is impossible for them not to know and see that Norwegians are being replaced in their own capital. The people causing this baby boom are in all likelihood Somali, Iraqi and Pakistani immigrants. According to some numbers, children from immigrant background are approaching the majority in primary schools in Oslo. The journalists are thus lying with a straight face. Statistics Norway have been doing this for some time, according to Dr. Ole Jørgen Anfindsen, editor of His numbers indicate that ethnic Norwegians will become a minority in their own country before 2050 if the current trends continue. It will happen far sooner in Oslo:

Baby boom in Oslo

More babies were born in Oslo last year than in any single year since 1946. Researchers aren't sure what's fueling the baby boom, but some note that Oslo has a high percentage of young residents. "We have to dig deeper into the statistics, though, to see whether fertility is on the way up or whether the city has more young female residents," said Geir Thorsnaes, a consultant for the city.


At May 23, 2005 12:34 AM, Blogger GayLikeAFox said...

They discussed this over at, and I think the consensus was that this baby boom actually is being driven by the native French... They could be wrong, of course...

At May 23, 2005 12:39 AM, Blogger Fjordman said...

Norway, too, does indeed have higher native birth rates than most other European nations these days, although still below replacement levels. I'm not saying that it is ALL about immigrants. But I'm pretty sure a large part of it is, yes.

At May 23, 2005 3:26 AM, Blogger GayLikeAFox said...

But in regards to what is going on in France... I think it has been shown that the baby boom is pretty evenly distributed across the nation, which would not be the case if immigrants were largely responsible for it. It seems to be the result of women who put off childbearing until their thirties finally catching up on their feritility.

Sometimes, there really IS good news :-)

At May 23, 2005 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding France, which is not really very large geographically, I wonder if it really is "good news", e.g. for the environment and general quality of life, that its population is increasing. Most future residents live in urban areas, which some would say are already crowded enough. Or perhaps yet more land will be taken up.

As for "policy and social supports", the assumption here is that, in general, taxpayers are being asked or forced to subsidize the childbearing of others, and if this is so it is worth asking what social forces make this, or make it seen as, necessary?

Regarding relative birth rates, i.e. immigrants vs native French, I think it is probably true in France, as it is in other European countries, that immigrants are having, on average, more children than natives; perhaps this fact can be gleaned from the census data. And considering the alarming lack of assimilation among many of them (which this site tries to document), and considering the demographic future of France -- whether in the near future or the far future -- this is what is important.


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