The facts of demographic decline are starting to sink in. The working age population is already declining in some countries, according to a column in the Washington Post:
Aging is, well, old. But depopulation — the delayed result of falling birthrates — is new. The working-age population has already begun to decline in several large developed countries, including Germany and Japan. By 2030, it will be declining in nearly all of them, and in a growing number, total population will be in steep decline as well. The arithmetic is simple: When the average couple has only 1.3 children (in Spain) or 1.7 children (in Britain), depopulation is inevitable, unless there’s massive immigration.
Even poorer countries like China and Cuba are facing a upresebdent decline in working populations.
The exception is, as usual, the United States:
An important but limited exception to hyperaging is the United States. Yes, America is also graying, but to a lesser extent. We are the only developed nation with replacement-rate fertility (2.1 children per couple). By 2030, our median age, now 36, will rise to only 39. Our working-age population, according to both U.N. and census projections, will continue to grow throughout the 21st century because of our higher fertility rate and substantial immigration — which we assimilate better than most other developed countries. By 2015, for the first time ever, the majority of developed-world citizens will live in English-speaking countries.
The relative population dynamism and its high level of religious practice seem to be connected, but the question is what comes first. Do religious people have more children because they trust Providence, or does having children make parents face the mysteries of life and of death?