Population around the Mediterranean

By Razib Khan | January 2, 2012 1:17 pm

With the collapse various North African regimes there has been a great concern about the migration of people from the southern shore of the Mediterranean to the northern. The of the reasons for this concern is that there is an imbalance in population growth. So I thought I’d review some of the data on Mediterranean nations over time using Google Data Explorer.

The fertility rate shows convergence over time. Let’s use a bar plot to get a better sense of shifts in rank order:

For many the surprising result will be France: its fertility is converging with its traditional North Africa “source” colonies. One possibility is that this is due to the high fertility of French immigrants from these regions, but the immigrants and their children only comprise ~5 percent of the French population. But France’s relatively large Muslim population (using maximal definitions of who is a Muslim ~10 percent, though using a genuine confessional definition probably less than ~5 percent) can’t explain the shift. The biggest tell that this isn’t a conservative Muslim baby-boom is illustrated by this figure:

France also has a relatively low adolescet fertility. This is a “Scandinavian pattern.” The replacement of children in formal marriage with those from long term unions which don’t always make a pretense toward permanency (e.g, Ségolène Royal had 4 children with her partner, and she was never married to him).

Finally, how about Albania? It’s fertility has crashed a great deal over the last 20 years.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Blog, Culture, Data Analysis
  • http://www.brownpundits.com Nandalal Rasiah

    can’t you explain this partly through comprehensive french social welfare? Although you can’t question French doctors about the care they provide you certainly do get it and it’s of relatively good quality:

    i have some anecdotes regarding a relative who followed the general trend of educated women having children later in life and the pregnancies there were successful.

  • marcel

    Royal and her partner, Holland, were together for about 3 decades which, if not permanent, certainly lasted longer than many formal marriages which make “a pretense toward permanency”.

  • http://entitledtoanopinion.wordpress.com TGGP

    “immigrants and their children only comprise ~5 percent of the French population”
    I checked the link, and there weren’t many numbers in that section. One said going back three generations, about 8% of the population can be traced back to Italy, though that wasn’t what you were focusing on. The last sentence is: Solis, a marketing company, recently estimated the numbers for ethnic minorities (immigrants and 2nd generation) in France in 2009 as 3.26 million Maghrebis (5.23%), 1.83 million Black people (2.94%, 1.08 million Sub-Saharan Africans and 757,000 French from French West Indies) and 441,000 Turkish (0.71%) .
    So it sounds like closer to 9% of the population. But on the other hand, you estimated about 10% Muslim given the widest latitude, and I don’t think France had any significant number before 20th century immigration.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    So it sounds like closer to 9% of the population

    i was talking about maghrebis specifically. see the focus of the post.

  • jemand

    I presume births to ultra-fundamentalist Muslim immigrants which live in multiple-marriage arrangements which are not recognized by the state is *incredibly* low… but do we have numbers for that? Sounds like denying that presumption would be the last refuge of someone who believed the native French population is currently being replaced by cultures following foreign value systems.

  • Ezequiel

    Edward Hugh and the guys at the blog “A fistful of euros” have often claimed that a successful French pro-natality policy means that they are in a much better economic position than other countries like Spain and Italy, where population is aging very rapidly. They claim (pretty convincingly, seems to me) that demography matters a lot in economy.

    If you look at the Spanish population, it was leveling off at 40M in 2000 when it suddenly went up by 5M in 10 years. Actually immigrant population went from 0.5M to 5M in those 10 years. If they leave, and they surely are thinking on it because of the economic crisis (remember, >20% unemployment and rising), it will be a blowout. I hope they stay and have children, because the Spanish baby boom (born in the 70s) are already in their late 30s and aren’t.

    Fear of southern mediterranean immigration? Actually what I fear is a lack of it. And I believe it is the best way of moving those social indicators. Stories from all the Spanish immigrants that went to Germany did a lot to open the mind of the country. The Swedes in bikini helped big too.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    I presume births to ultra-fundamentalist Muslim immigrants which live in multiple-marriage arrangements which are not recognized by the state is *incredibly* low… but do we have numbers for that?

    one thing to remember is that the source countries for french muslims (especially algeria and tunisia) are a lot less crazy than one of the source countries for british muslims (pakistan). and one maghrebi group, the kabyle, make a big deal of their secularism for various reasons….

  • http://ironrailsironweights.wordpress.com Peter

    As I understand it, even though Algeria and Tunisia aren’t particularly fundamentalist, the France-born second and third generations are far more likely to go fundamentalist than were their immigrant parents and grandparents.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    #8, really, where did you get this from? i’m curious.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    i just checked. pew reported that 35 percent of french muslims found homosexuality acceptable. the world values survey in 2002 in algeria was on the order of 1 percent. i assume you’ll provide a citation or reverse your opinion?

  • http://ironrailsironweights.wordpress.com Peter

    It seems to be the consensus in certain parts of the blogosphere, e.g. Gates of Vienna, Brussels Journal, Jihad Watch, that French-born North Africans are getting steadily more fundamentalist.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    #11, who the fuck cares thinks about consensus? i asked you for something concrete. if they cite something which shows longitudinal change i’ll be curious. you can actually find data which show that british muslims are getting more fundamentalist, but i’ve never seen it for the french. so i’m actually curious. you know my standards, live up to them and don’t waste my time. i can find you 1000-different consenses across the retardosphere. i respect humanity too much to repeat most of it as if that’s all that’s necessary (and i don’t respect humanity that much).

  • RK

    Actually, Christopher Caldwell cites some evidence that levels of Christian commitment in Europe are rising (possibly paralleling the shift to Episcopalianism among native Bostonians in the face of nineteenth-century Irish Catholic immigration): (1) Church attendance for those under 20 rose from 9 to 14 percent in the Netherlands between 2003 and 2004, and both the number of youth churches and their adherents rose from 2003 to 2005 (45 to 88, and 10,000 to 20,000, respectively.) (2) the percentage of white Britons self-identifying as Christian rather than “no religion” is higher in mixed Muslim/non-Muslim neighborhoods. (The finding’s robust to a variety of controls.)

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    #13, i would assume that caldwell is drawing on the same data which jenkins used in god’s continent.

  • desi

    The 10% muslim population is one of the biggest fables you can find on the internet.CNRS researcher Michele Tribalat published a survey recently where she considered that muslim population-fron an “ethnic point of view”- was around 4,3 million people.Muslim religious people are no more than 2 or 3 millionLet me give a clue:there is a prayer’s room near my home well it’s empty…

  • Miguel Madeira

    I suspect that what is happening is that second-generation immigrants are less integrated than first-generation; and a news article saying “second-generation magrebins are increasling hostil to French society”, after being reported in second, third and fourth-and, easily becomes an internet post saying “second generation magrebins are becoming more fundamentalist”.

  • http://abitmoredetail.wordpress.com Randy McDonald

    Less integrated by which metrics, though? Language shift to French from Arabic or Berber is pretty much complete by the second or third generation, and rates of intermarriage remain apparently high.

    What this comes down to is an inability to distinguish between different components of what’s a relatively diverse community, i.e. descendants of migrants from Arabophone or Berberophone regions, from different countries, different waves, etc. Some French Muslims may be in the process of becoming more conservative; others may not.

    As for Caldwell’s figures, does he identify if the rise in church attendance in the Netherlands is associated with immigration at all? European countries do receive significant numbers of Christian immigrants, too.

  • RK

    Randy: Yeah, he acknowledges that it’s at least partly due to the influence of committed Christian immigrants from the Third World. The first citation is to Ajiedj Bakas and Minnie Buwalda, De Toekomst van God (Schiedam: Scriptum, 2006) and the latter to Voas, D. and Bruce, S. (2004) ‘The 2001 census and Christian identification in Britain’, Journal of Contemporary Religion, 19(1):23-28.

    He also notes the internal diversity in the European Muslim community (Punjabis and Mirpuris in England, Arabs and Berbers in Ménilmontant, Sunnis and Alevites in Marxloh, etc.) but thinks it’s been overemphasized.

  • Spyros Alamanos

    What is actually happening with French Muslims is that they are bi-modal as regards their integration into the French mainstream. One segment of the group, the ”beurgoisie” (from the French slang Beur for people of Maghrebin descent), has integrated with mainstream society through educational attainment and is now entering the middle class professions (law, medicine) or the service economy. The other part, that inhabiting the banlieues, and characterized by low educational attainment, high functional illiteracy (in French), and long-term unemployment has intensified its religious practice and turned to the Muslim Brotherhood as well as Salafist groups for a self-validating group identity. Thus, since 1990 the proportion of nominally Muslim (or Muslim by descent as it were) individuals who inhabited the banlieues and who consumed only meat that was halal, who observed Ramadan and attended mosque has risen considerably. This has recently become a matter of great concern to the French political class, and has driven the UMP (the French centre-right party) to adopt policies that incentivize integration while punishing those who fail to conform (the ban on the niqab and the burkah).

    The two major books detailing this phenomenon are by Gilles Kepel (Les banlieues de l’Islam: naissance d’une religion en France) (The suburbs of Islam, the birth of a religion in France) and Olivier Roy Globalized Islam: The Search for a New Ummah.

  • french reader

    non european people represent approx 30% of the birth in mainland france including people from the oversea territories who live ine the mainland, although it should be noted that approx half of that number (18-20% from memory) is due to migration since the late 1990’s, when immigration accerated.

    And most non europeans who live in france come from africa and north africa.
    In 2007, 28.45% of all newborns in mainland France had at least one parent originated from a region defined “at risk” (mainly Africa and Overseas departments and territories of France) and were screened for SCD.

    source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sickle-cell_disease#France

    something less known is that approx 200k people leave france every year many of them are young and educated and people with foreign origins are slightly overrepresented. (read that in a serious newspaper several years ago, the subject of emigration is even more taboo that immigration in france)

    also the TFR of ethnic french women was estimated at 1.7, that of second generation immigrants at 1.9, and that of immigrants is similar to the one in their country of origins, north african conutries is 2.5/3 and west african countries is 5 to 7 if i remember correctly.


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com


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