Conservative Commentator Cites Population Decline as Biggest Crisis in the West
Conservative writer Pat Buchanan believes that population decline is the biggest crisis the developed First World is currently facing.
In a recent column, he argued that if birth rates don’t increase, “the near-extinction of many Western peoples by this century’s end” will become a reality.
Buchanan illustrated the example of Japan:
Consider. The number of births in Japan fell in 2019 to a level unseen since 1874, around 900,000. But there were 1.4 million deaths for a net loss of 512,000 Japanese. An even larger loss in Japan’s population is expected this year.
Japan’s population has been shrinking since 2007, when deaths first exceeded births by 18,000. And with 28% of its population over 65, and fewer births every passing year, Japan is aging, shrinking and dying—with no respite in sight.
Across Japan, writes the New York Times: ‘Whole villages are vanishing as young people choose not to have children or move to urban areas … The Government estimates that the population could shrink by about 16 million people—or nearly 13 percent—over the next 25 years.’
However, the conservative pundit believes this crisis is even worse in Eastern Europe:
At the end of the Cold War, Bulgaria had 9 million people. By 2017, that had fallen to 7.1 million. In 2050, Bulgaria’s population is estimated at 5.4 million—a loss of 40% to death and migration since Bulgaria won its freedom from the Soviet Empire.
By 2050, Ukraine and Poland are each projected to lose another 6 million people, and Hungary will lose 1.5 million.
Lithuania and Latvia have seen serious population losses since the end of the Cold War and are in the front rank of European nations losing people at the fastest rate.
U.N. demographers project Russia’s population may fall from 145 million today to 121 million by 2050. Such losses rival those that Russia suffered under Lenin, Stalin and World War II.
The Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic described the population crisis as “existential.”
Buchanan made a bold observation in his popular Death of the West:
The Death of the West is not a prediction of what is going to happen. It is a depiction of what is happening now. First World nations are dying. They face a mortal crisis, not because of something happening in the Third World, but because of what is not happening at home and in the homes of the First World. Western fertility rates have been falling for decades. Outside of Muslim Albania, no European nation is producing enough babies to replace its population. … In a score of countries the old are already dying off faster than the young are being born. … There is no sign of a turnaround. Now the absolute numbers of Europeans have begun to fall.
Indeed, declining populations are a civilizational challenge for countries in the West.
Coupled with mass migration, the implications of these developments could be quite enormous for the survival of nation states in the West.
America will have to address these problems as well, which it can do through restricting immigration and offering tax incentives for families to have more children.