Special issue on:

The causes and consequences of depopulation

(Vol. 21)

Guest editors: Zuzanna Brzozowska, Stuart Gietel-Basten, Michael Herrmann, Klaus Prettner, Miguel Sánchez-Romero, Ekaterina Zhelenkova

 

Managing editor: Maria Winkler-Dworak



Debate


 

Like high cholesterol, population decline is a problem, but not in the way you might think . . .


The human eco-predicament: Overshoot and thepopulation conundrum


Research Articles


Immigration and the Prospects for Long-Run Population Decreases in European Countries


Details & Abstracts


Debate


Like high cholesterol, population decline is a problem, but not in the way you might think . . .

Wendy Sigle, Department of Gender Studies, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK

Journal: Vienna Yearbook of Population Research
Volume: 21, 2023, pages (tbd - online-first)
Publisher: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
doi:10.1553/p-jm9f-3jdm

cite as:
Sigle, W. (2022). Like high cholesterol, population decline is a problem, but not in the way you might think . . .. Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, 21. https://doi.org/10.1553/p-jm9f-3jdm

first online: 19.10.2022

Abstract:

The prospect of population decline in Europe is commonly understood to be an important policy problem. Discussions and research typically focus on the level and the trend of demographic indicators. Can policies be designed which, by targeting the constrained optimisation of rational individuals, cause the indicators to change in the right direction? In this intervention, I argue that like a surrogate marker in medicine, a demographic indicator is not a meaningful endpoint: something that is a direct measure of health or, analogously, a healthy society. Treating population indicators as meaningful endpoints can, as history has shown, lead to great harm. In my view, it is this misconception that makes population decline a truly serious and terrifying problem. So yes, population decline is a problem, but not in the way you, or the people who pose this sort of question, might think.

Keywords: population decline; fertility; institutions; surrogate marker

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The human eco-predicament: Overshoot and the population conundrum

William E. Rees, University of British Columbia, School of Community and Regional Planning, Faculty of Applied Science, Vancouver, Canada

Journal: Vienna Yearbook of Population Research
Volume: 21, 2023, pages (tbd - online-first)
Publisher: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
doi: doi.org/10.1553/p-eznb-ekgc

cite as:
Rees, W. E. (2022). The human eco-predicament: Overshoot and the population conundrum. Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, 21. https://doi.org/10.1553/p-eznb-ekgc

first online: 15.11.2022

Abstract:

The human enterprise is in overshoot, depleting essential ecosystems faster than they can regenerate and polluting the ecosphere beyond nature’s assimilative capacity. Overshoot is a meta-problem that is the cause of most symptoms of eco-crisis, including climate change, landscape degradation and biodiversity loss. The proximate driver of overshoot is excessive energy and material ‘throughput’ to serve the global economy. Both rising incomes (consumption) and population growth contribute to the growing human eco-footprint, but increasing throughput due to population growth is the larger factor at the margin. (Egregious and widening inequality is a separate socio-political problem.) Mainstream approaches to alleviating various symptoms of overshoot merely reinforce the status quo. This is counter-productive, as overshoot is ultimately a terminal condition. The continuity of civilisation will require a cooperative, planned contraction of both the material economy and human populations, beginning with a personal to civilisational transformation of the fundamental values, beliefs, assumptions and attitudes underpinning neoliberal/capitalist industrial society.

Keywords: overshoot; eco-footprint; carrying capacity; sustainability; population; contraction

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Research Articles


Immigration and the Prospects for Long-Run Population Decreases in European Countries

Nick Parr, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
 

Journal: Vienna Yearbook of Population Research
Volume: 21, 2023, pages (tbd - online-first)
Publisher: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
doi: doi.org/10.1553/p-8jf5-7cdc

cite as:
Parr, N. (2022). Immigration and the Prospects for Long-Run Population Decreases in European Countries. Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, 21. https://doi.org/10.1553/p-8jf5-7cdc

first online: 18.08.2022

Abstract:

Between 2009 and 2018, the total fertility rate fell in most European countries. In 2018, fertility was below the replacement level throughout Europe. Net migration was positive for two-thirds of European countries. This paper illustrates the implications for long-run population growth of observed net migration-fertility-mortality combinations in 20 European countries over the 2009-18 period by comparing the observed net migration to a zero population growth-related ‘replacement level’ for net migration. The results show that in several northern and north-western European countries, the net migration level has been consistently above this replacement level: if the net migration level and fertility and mortality rates remain constant, the population would increase. However, the findings also indicate that in all of the eastern European countries covered, the net migration level has been consistently below the net migration replacement level. The results further show that in Finland, Norway and Switzerland, the long-run implications of having constant fertility-mortality-net migration levels change from leading to population growth to leading to population decline. The opposite pattern is observed in Germany. The feasibility of preventing long-run population decreases through changes in net migration levels is discussed in light of the results.

Keywords: migration; population decrease; population growth; fertility; population model; Europe.

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