Monday, July 6, 2009

Like It Or Not, But Canada Needs Babies

According to the C.D. Howe Institute, immigration alone cannot offset demographic trends such as population aging, that threaten our future living standards:
As it stands, Canada's population, faced with longer life expectancies and low fertility rates, is producing fewer young people to replace the older people leaving the workforce, the report says. That, in turn, means a smaller population of working-age people to make money, pay taxes and support the pension and health-care needs of a burgeoning older population.

"I was surprised by how weak immigration is, on its own, as a tool to affect these things," Robson says. "People in Canada generally feel very positively about immigration, so it would be nice if something that we like turned out to be the answer to some of these things that otherwise can look a little threatening."
Despite some popular commentary, offsetting or even noticeably mitigating these trends through increased immigration alone would require unrealistic increases in total immigration levels.
Is even more immigration the answer? Definitely not. Banerjee and Robson project that if Parliament were to rely on an increase in the current pattern of immigration to stop population aging, Canada would have to take in such a colossal number of additional immigrants that the total national population would reach 210 million in 2058.

That’s out of the question. No conceivable amount of immigration can prevent a rapid and burdensome growth in the aging of Canada’s population.
There can be no lasting solution to the multiplying difficulties posed by Canada’s aging population short of dealing with the fundamental underlying problem – namely, the devastating collapse in the national fertility rate over the past 40 years. In 2005, the average number of children per woman in Canada was just 1.54—far below the ratio of 2.1 that is necessary to sustain the population.
Call it "Demographic Winter" or just "Population Aging" - the threat is real and immigration can't even delay the crisis, let alone - preventing it. Canada needs babies, otherwise there will be no Canada in the quite foreseeable future.

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