Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Arab Fertility Decline Means a Less-Scary Future for the Middle East

The Arab world is having a population explosion now.  This is an important push-force behind the "bloody borders" of Islam that Samuel Huntington cited in the "clash of civilizations" argument. This youthquake is also an important push-force behind the Arab Spring, of democratically oriented youth not willing to live under another generation of tyrants.

But the demographic tide is already turning.  As usual, economic growth, educational improvements for women, and, eventually, democracy, lead to a fertility decline down to replacement levels or below.  The young adult bulge in the Arab countries is scaling back their own fertility as they enter full adulthood.

Stable fertility in the Arab countries and Iran will match the stable fertility in Israel.  All of which promises a future in which the push-force of demography, at least, will ease up on the many strains in that region.

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