The sixth World Congress of Families opens today in Madrid, Spain to bring pro-life advocates togehter from across the world to focus on how to advance pro-life issues in their respective nations.
The conference will take place against the backdrop of Europe’s perilously low fertility and population decline which contributes to the continent’s intractable economic crisis. With millions of abortions robbing many nations of the number of people needed to sustain their populations, World Congress of Families Managing Director Larry Jacobs explains how some countries are facing population crises.
“In developed nations, a fertility rate of 2.1 is needed just to replace current population,” he said. “The fertility rate is the number of children the average woman will have in her lifetime. In the European Union as a whole, it’s 1.5 — well below replacement. In Spain, it’s slightly lower — 1.47. Greece has a TFR of 1.3.”
Nations like Russia, Germany, and Japan are already losing people and facing dramatic population decline. In developed nations, populations are also aging rapidly. Japan’s over-60 population went from 11.6% of the total population in 1989 to 21% in 2011. Not surprisingly, Japan’s stock market has mirrored the decline in fertility rate and population and has been decreasing since 1990.
Jacobs observed: “Despite what population-planners have been telling us since Paul Ehrlich’s ‘The Population Bomb’ in 1969, the demographic challenge of the 21st century won’t be overpopulation but declining and aging populations. Long-term economic growth and population growth go hand-in-hand. Never in recorded history have nations been able to sustain economic growth during population decline.”
Already, the effects can be seen in Greece, where fewer and fewer workers are forced to pay for a growing number of pensioners and other government expenditures. After the nation’s May 6 election, political parties there were unable to form a government and a new election has been called for June 17. Demographics lie at the heart of such turmoil, Jacobs contends.
Declining fertility will be an important topic of discussion at the Madrid Congress. A plenary session on Demographic Winter, chaired by Jon Mueller of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, will include speeches by: Joel Kotkin, WCF Communications Director Don Feder, Douglas Sylva of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, and Alejandro Macarron.
The Congress will also include a Demographic Winter panel discussion. Participants are Steve Mosher (President, Population Research Council), Steve Smoot (executive producer of the documentary “Demographic Winter: the Decline of the Human Family”), Igor Beloborodov (director of The Demographic Research Institute, Moscow) and Joel Kotkin.
Alexey Komov, organizer of the WCF Moscow Demographic Summit (2011) will also speak at the Congress.
“Demographic Winter is below almost everyone’s radar,” Jacobs remarked. “But at World Congress of Families we’ve been talking about it for more than a decade. As evidence continues to mount on the impact of the global decline of fertility, we expect the discussion at World Congress of Families VI in Madrid to be more relevant than ever.”