Friday, January 27, 2006

Congratulating yourself into oblivion

The AP’s Zoe Mezin provides Amour Rules in France but Weddings Don't. A rambling report on the “progressive” lifestyles in France, which highlights the country’s “baby boom.”

Only one problem, her “boom” is just the opposite. At a rate of 1.94 children born per woman, France’s population will decline (see below). Mezin is not alone, Paris Match seems equally clueless.
PARIS (AP) -- France may still be the land of love. But the country's traditional tableau of marriage and the baby carriage has changed dramatically in three decades, according to a parliamentary report released Friday.

Nearly half of children are now born out of wedlock, and the marriage rate is down 27 percent compared to 1970 - prompting calls for reform of France's widely used civil unions.

And yet, there's a baby boom. With 1.94 children born to the average woman, France has the highest birth rate in the European Union after Ireland's 1.99, according to 2005 demographic figures released last week. The European average is 1.5 babies per woman.

The glossy French magazine Paris Match devoted its cover this week to the high birth rate, with a photo of French actress Judith Godreche ("The Spanish Apartment") holding her diaper-clad baby under the headline "France, champion of births."

Sub-replacement fertility is a fertility rate that is not high enough to replace an area's population. In industrialized countries with low child mortality, sub-replacement fertility is below approximately 2.1 children per woman's life time. 2.1 children per woman includes 2 children to replace the parents, with one-tenth of a child extra to make up for the mortality of children who do not reach the age of 15, which is the defined age when the fertility rate is calculated.


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