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French exception: Experts ponder high birth rate
Reuters ^ | April 26 2006 | Anna Willard

Posted on 04/26/2006 11:44:52 AM PDT by knighthawk

PARIS (Reuters) - Beatrice Riobe has played her part in giving France the second highest birth rate in Europe.

Riobe has nine children aged 4 to 19: her case is rare and this year the government honored her with a special gold medal awarded annually to successful large families.

Experts say France's high birth rate -- women have an average of 1.9 children -- is probably due to the government's long-term policy of rewarding those who have children, offering medals, financial incentives and favorable work rules.

Riobe agrees.

"I think there are a certain number of things that are done in France, particularly (giving) time off for parents, that create conditions that lend themselves to having children," she said. Her husband works but she took parental leave from her nursing job after her third child and has not worked since.

Fertility rates are a key part of the population puzzle. Last year, the United Nations said declining birth rates in rich nations meant there would be little or no population growth over the next four decades.

Industrial countries as a whole are expected to see little change in their total population of 1.2 billion in that period. A decline is forecast in Germany, Italy, and Japan.

France comes second to Ireland -- where women have an average 1.99 children -- in the European Union fertility stakes. Slovenia is at the bottom with just 1.22 babies per woman, according to data from the Paris-based National Institute of Demographic Studies (INED).

"What's pretty interesting about France is that it has been pretty direct in saying they want to have more children which is quite unusual in a European context," said Jonathan Grant, a director at the Rand Europe research institute.

"WE NEED MORE BABIES"

None of the 25 countries in the EU meet the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman, the level needed to stop the population aging. An aging population increases pressures on government budgets as health and pension costs rise while taxes on workers' incomes shrink.

French births are rising. Last year, 775,000 babies were born, an increase from 2004, helping to bring the total population to 62.9 million. But it's still not enough.

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said last September that France's birth rate was insufficient to ensure a stable population and announced new incentives for having babies.

He said France would create 15,000 new day-care places, double tax credits for some childcare costs and improve financial conditions for parents looking after a sick child.

A parent who puts his or her job on hold to raise a third child would receive 750 euros ($920) per month for one year, around 50 percent more than the monthly amount families with two children receive for a three-year period, he said.

Shortening the time period but increasing the sum aims to help mothers get back into their jobs quicker after giving birth, and prevent any damage to their careers.

"In France, it's easier for women and couples to manage working and having children," said Gilles Pison, from INED.

Cultural attitudes, perhaps influenced by government policy, can also play a role, he said.

"A woman who leaves her newborn baby in a creche (daycare center) all day is not always very well regarded in some countries," he said.

"But in France, it's the other way round, we think that if you take your child to the creche when they're very young, it's good for them because it teaches them to be sociable."

In France, children are welcomed in restaurants and bars and it is quite common to see them out with their parents in the evenings. In some other countries, such as Britain, children are sometimes restricted to certain areas in bars and eating places.

MYSTERIOUS SECRET

Researchers admit that their understanding of the relatively high French birth rate still retains a degree of mystery.

"For every rule you can come up with you find an exception," said Grant. Pison agreed: "There is a bit of mystery. We are doing studies but we don't yet have all the secrets."

For example, it is sometimes suggested that because the two most fertile countries in Europe -- France and Ireland -- are mainly Roman Catholic countries, the Catholic tradition of having large families would help explain the high birth rates.

But Italy and Spain, two other Catholic countries, fall near the bottom of the EU list, in 16 and 17th position.

Experts also point out that while France's fertility rate can partly be attributed to generous social support, Ireland is more fertile and does not have as many incentives.

Eunan King, senior economist at NCB Stockbrokers, says Ireland will likely enjoy 15 more years of economic growth of around 5 percent a year thanks to a young, growing workforce.

"We think (demographics) is the key driver of the Irish growth story and it is one of the key constraints on Europe," he said, adding that the baby boom in Ireland happened about three decades later than in the rest of Europe because of poor official policies that led to net emigration.

For other governments, migrants may fill the void as their own native populations decline. The United Nations said this month that migrants will likely account for any population growth that most developed nations, especially in Europe, experience over the next 30 years.

(Additional reporting by Paul Hoskins in Dublin)


TOPICS: News/Current Events; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: birthrate; deathofthewest; demographics; france; french

1 posted on 04/26/2006 11:44:57 AM PDT by knighthawk
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To: MizSterious; Nix 2; green lantern; BeOSUser; Brad's Gramma; dreadme; Turk2; keri; ...
Europe-list

If people want on or off this list, please let me know.

2 posted on 04/26/2006 11:45:30 AM PDT by knighthawk (We will always remember We will always be proud We will always be prepared so we may always be free)
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To: knighthawk

Fascinating. How much of the French fertility are the fast breeding muslims? 1.9 is still below replacement rate.


3 posted on 04/26/2006 11:46:55 AM PDT by FormerACLUmember (No program, no ideas, no clue: The democrats!)
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To: knighthawk

One often hears that the high TFR in France is mostly due to very fecund immigrants, but there is precious little solid data on that as far as I know. I wish the data were better.


4 posted on 04/26/2006 11:48:10 AM PDT by untenured
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To: FormerACLUmember

THe answer is that France has the highest percentage of muslims of any country in Europe. These muslims have a much higher birth rate than the rest of the French population, and by 2050, France will be a majority muslim country. That the author of this article would fail to mention the obvious is journalistic malpractice in my opinion.


5 posted on 04/26/2006 11:50:44 AM PDT by milwguy
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: knighthawk

France has the largest muslim minority in western europe, this explains their "high" birthrate.

If you take out the muslim birthrate, then France's (native) birthrate is below replacement level and in line with the other Western European nations. The reasons given in this article for France's "high birthrate" are fraudulent.

The Muslim birth rate in Europe is three times higher than the non-Muslim one. Already they are throwing elections in some countries. The cumulative effect of this is majority muslim europe in a few generations. Europe should prepare for all the amazing civilization benefits Islam has brought to the middle east. Burkas, suicide bombing, amputations in stadiums, sharia, gang rape, etc... Eurabia.


7 posted on 04/26/2006 11:56:26 AM PDT by Mount Athos
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To: knighthawk
"But in France, it's the other way round, we think that if you take your child to the creche when they're very young, it's good for them because it teaches them to be sociable."

This is the nonsense Meathead has been selling in California.

8 posted on 04/26/2006 11:58:36 AM PDT by Cinnamon Girl (OMGIIHIHOIIC ping list)
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To: knighthawk
Beatrice Riobe has played her part in giving France the second highest birth rate in Europe.

Riobe has nine children aged 4 to 19: her case is rare and this year the government honored her with a special gold medal awarded annually to successful large families.

This woman must be a muslim.

9 posted on 04/26/2006 11:59:22 AM PDT by CzarNicky (The problem with bad ideas is that they seemed like good ideas at the time.)
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To: untenured
"One often hears that the high TFR in France is mostly due to very fecund immigrants, but there is precious little solid data on that as far as I know. I wish the data were better."



Table 2 - Total period fertility rate, 1991-1998,by birthplace
Average number of children per woman


All 1.72
Women born in France 1.65
Immigrant women 2.5

This is older data but my information is that it is considerably worse now.

http://72.14.207.104/search?q=cache:8U1PLQnjvjQJ:www.ined.fr/englishversion/publications/pop_et_soc/pesa400.pdf+immigrant+fertility+france&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=6
10 posted on 04/26/2006 12:02:47 PM PDT by Prokopton
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To: WLR; Thorin; Iris7; cgk; Smocker; Knitting A Conundrum; Korth; OldPossum; narses

If you'd like to be on this Death of the West ping list, please FR mail me.

11 posted on 04/26/2006 12:03:42 PM PDT by MinorityRepublican (everyone that doesn't like what America and President Bush has done for Iraq can all go to HELL)
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To: knighthawk
Experts say France's high birth rate -- women have an average of 1.9 children -- is probably due to the government's long-term policy of rewarding those who have children, offering medals, financial incentives and favorable work rules.

Since when is a birth rate of 1.9, which is well under replacement, considered a "high" birth rate. I guess you could say "reletively high" when compared to the coffin-corner demographics of Germany, but they certainly are not "high".

The idiocy continues...

Researchers admit that their understanding of the relatively high French birth rate still retains a degree of mystery.

"For every rule you can come up with you find an exception," said Grant. Pison agreed: "There is a bit of mystery. We are doing studies but we don't yet have all the secrets."

It's a mystery... wrapped in an enigma... with a crunchy chocolate coating of uncertainty... with little colored sprinkles or inscrutability on top...

These researchers will solve the mystery until they look at the influence of race on the birth rate. But PC necessity requires that there is no racial component to such things, and furthermore, even if there is, it would be irrelevant, since all people are basically the same, lalala, kumbaya, etc...

The fact of the matter is the fairly large minority Muslim population of France is having large families and will double every ten years or so if current trends continue. Subtract this segment out of the French population, and their numbers are the worst in Europe.

12 posted on 04/26/2006 12:10:05 PM PDT by bondjamesbond (RICE 2008)
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To: milwguy

"THe answer is that France has the highest percentage of muslims of any country in Europe. These muslims have a much higher birth rate than the rest of the French population, and by 2050, France will be a majority muslim country. That the author of this article would fail to mention the obvious is journalistic malpractice in my opinion."

I suspected this might be the reality.


13 posted on 04/26/2006 12:24:22 PM PDT by FormerACLUmember (No program, no ideas, no clue: The democrats!)
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To: FormerACLUmember

"How much of the French fertility are the fast breeding muslims?"

That was my first thought too.


14 posted on 04/26/2006 12:28:12 PM PDT by Pessimist
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To: knighthawk

Note that the "experts" attribute all good things to the success of government programs, and recommend extension and more spending for those programs.

Not that they have an agenda, or anything...


15 posted on 04/26/2006 12:28:22 PM PDT by bondjamesbond (RICE 2008)
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To: knighthawk

Why is it that the words Muslims, Arab, and North African come to mind?


16 posted on 04/26/2006 12:28:31 PM PDT by george wythe
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To: Prokopton
That's a terrific link; Table 3 appears to be the most informative. It may somewhat understate the difference between racial groups, in that someone born in France of Algerian parents, e.g., is counted as "native-born" for purposes of the survey.

Having said that, the whole point of the paper appears to be that most existing research overstates the difference between foreign- and native-born fertility in France.

Unfortunately (and unavoidably, probably), the data stop in 1998.

17 posted on 04/26/2006 12:31:22 PM PDT by untenured
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To: knighthawk

These retards are undoubtedly giving special rewards to Muslims too. For having large families. Zoot alors!


18 posted on 04/26/2006 12:33:58 PM PDT by dennisw (If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles-Sun Tzu)
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To: knighthawk

most of Europe is on the wrong side of the tax curve....all disposable income supporting a social-welfare state, rather than investing in the next generation.


19 posted on 04/26/2006 12:37:04 PM PDT by mo
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To: knighthawk; All
offering medals
That made me laugh
20 posted on 04/26/2006 12:40:17 PM PDT by freedom moose (has de cultivar el que sembres)
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To: freedom moose

Children are a lifetime responsibility and liability. They are a staggering burden and life's greatest blessing. Compared to all that, a 59 cent medal from your local government official is worth just about nothing.


21 posted on 04/26/2006 12:47:45 PM PDT by bondjamesbond (RICE 2008)
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To: dennisw

btt


22 posted on 04/26/2006 1:06:18 PM PDT by dennisw (http://www.immigrationshumancost.org/)
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To: FormerACLUmember

You put your finger precisely on the missing variable in this article. France, by law, refuses to collect any census data on religious affiliation. Anecdotal information clearly suggests that the highest per capita contributors to the birth rate are Moslems.


23 posted on 04/26/2006 2:20:27 PM PDT by Malesherbes
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To: milwguy
Speculation, and based on wrong assumptions at that. First of all, it is illegal in France to keep statistics based on race or religion, so it's nearly impossible to have an accurate number. However, you are obviously unfamiliar with French culture---it is seen as a mark of success to have 3 or more children (i.e. you're doing well enough to afford it). French women tend to keep working even with larger families, but it is common for women to work only Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday to accomodate the children's school schedule (long days on school on only those 4 days). France is in many ways an extremely family-oriented culture: the Sunday dinner with the extended family is widely practiced, grandparents very often help with childcare, and a Frenchman or woman is not really considered an adult by his/her parents until he or she has children of his/her own. The "Livret de Famille" (Family Book, with room for 6 children in the standard version, incidentally) is the most important official document, not your passport, driver's license or personal id card.

So the answer is, yes, naturally, Muslims have a reasonably high birth rate (but this is not all Muslims, this applies mainly to the headscarf-wearing variety, which is by no means all of them), but so does the Franco-french population (les franco-français).

Government handouts don't account for it (after all, those paltry payments in no way cover the cost of raising a child for most people). What these researchers fail to note imho when looking at all their baffling statistics is the presence of a culture that encourages having children.

24 posted on 04/26/2006 3:50:53 PM PDT by austinTparty
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To: austinTparty

I have been to France more than once my friend, and not just Paris, I have an employee whose sister lives in France so I also get insight from her. The fact it is illegal to keep statistics based on race or ethnicity or religion is not lost on me, it does not disprove my point however. It is common knowledge that we have 11 million or more illegals in the USA, yet we do not make them register themselves. The Muslim population of France via Algeria, and the other North African countries has exploded in the last 40 years, and anyone denying the reality of modern islamic France is deluding themselves.


25 posted on 04/26/2006 5:20:28 PM PDT by milwguy
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To: austinTparty

I have been to France more than once my friend, and not just Paris, I have an employee whose sister lives in France so I also get insight from her. The fact it is illegal to keep statistics based on race or ethnicity or religion is not lost on me, it does not disprove my point however. It is common knowledge that we have 11 million or more illegals in the USA, yet we do not make them register themselves. The Muslim population of France via Algeria, and the other North African countries has exploded in the last 40 years, and anyone denying the reality of modern islamic France is deluding themselves.


26 posted on 04/26/2006 5:20:54 PM PDT by milwguy
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To: knighthawk

We should not forget that the American white fertility rate is 1.8.


27 posted on 04/26/2006 7:15:11 PM PDT by Vicomte13 (Et alors?)
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To: milwguy

I live there.


28 posted on 04/27/2006 1:04:30 AM PDT by austinTparty
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To: knighthawk
The higher birth in France is primarily from Muslim immigrants. Native French are reproducing below population replacement levels. Europe is still is in a demographic death spiral and yes, this includes France. French women would have to bear four children per family just to replenish the population levels and the welfare state doesn't create any economic incentives to reproduce. If you don't believe me, just look at the dust-up over the now canceled CPE law this spring.

(Denny Crane: "Every one should carry a gun strapped to their waist. We need more - not less guns.")

29 posted on 04/27/2006 1:22:33 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: goldstategop

And America is in the same boat.

The fertility rate of white American women is 1.8, below replacement rate. American population growth is driven by immigration, and the children of immigrants.


30 posted on 04/27/2006 4:29:00 AM PDT by Vicomte13 (Et alors?)
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To: goldstategop

The point about the Muslim population is valid, but from my observations, French women seem baby-crazy, too. This brings me to something else I’ve noticed — French women seem to validate themselves more through having children and family than, perhaps, their American or British counterparts. Can’t say that I’ve met many — or any! — independent, career-minded, free-spirited, single and happy to be so, French women. And, I’ve lived in France nearly five years.


31 posted on 03/08/2008 10:24:48 AM PST by Nikkiba
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