Saturday, July 7, 2007

European countries - especially Italy - still have a low birth rate and eldercare problem


Despite improvements in childcare and family benefits in many European countries (especially France), many countries are finding that affluent European citizens have to count of immigrants from Eastern Europe or other countries to provide eldercare.

Today the Houston Chronicle has an Associated Press story by Frances D’Emilio, “Italy’s aged turn to foreigners for care,” here.

Italy today has 1.5 adult children for every elderly parent, and by 2050 the ratio will be less than 1. High costs of day care, contraception, careerism, all kinds of social values account for the falling birthrate, whereas medical advances keep people alive longer.

Oddly, Michael Moore did not go into this demographic problem in his recent film “Sicko.”

Philip Longman, in his book “The Empty Cradle” (2004, Basic Books) had argued that falling birthrates threaten the prosperity of the west and make it vulnerable to massive political changes forced by immigrant populations, especially Muslims, whose culture demands more “blood loyalty.” A related book is by Angelo Bertelo: "Fertility: Power and Progress, Confidence in Life and Genius, Problems and Paradoxes." Book reviews are here.

In the United States, eldercare issues could well bring back the "pseudo-amnesty" issue in the immigration debate, as a major immigration bill recently failed in the Senate.

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