A Reader Questions The UN Population Projections' Underlying Assumptions—"World's Most Important Graph" May Not Be Scary Enough
June 25, 2017, 09:03 PM
Print Friendly and PDF
Re: Steve Sailer's blog post Facebook: Don’t Mention Niger!

From: An Anonymous Demographer [Email him]

I feel that the projections VDARE showed several times titled “World’s Most Important Graph” assume Africans will eventually behave like Europeans.

To explain you need to consider the projections of fertility for African nations.

The UN projections include High, Medium & Low Fertility Variants

  • High fertility variant: (Total fertility is assumed to converge eventually toward a level of 2.35 children per woman)
  • Medium fertility variant: (Total fertility is assumed to converge eventually toward a level of 1.85 children per woman)
  • Low fertility variant: (Total fertility is assumed to converge eventually toward a level of 1.35 children per woman)
This low level of 1.35-2.35 children per woman are more typical for East Asian or Europeans (for 2010-2015:  Japan=1.41, Europe=1.60, US 1.88)

If you go to the source data (https://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/Download/Standard/Population/) you will find there is also a no change variant (constant-fertility and constant-mortality).

All four are graphed below (Along with Europe with the No migrant variant)

Assuming Africans will start lowering their fertility and emulating European is very liberal.

Consider these graphs of actual African nations’ fertility and their UN assumed future projections.

Zimbabwe saw fertility dropping from its peak in the 1970’s.  However by 1995 the drop had leveled off to a new level.  To assume the fertility rate will start dropping again to European levels is a large assumption.

Recently Steve Sailer blogged about Niger’s Population Projection.  Consider the graph of Niger’s fertility.

It has remained high for decades.  To assume it will suddenly start to drop is optimistic.

Here is a selection of African Nations’ fertility

Many of the nations that saw declines of fertility saw them level off at a level of 3-5.  I do not think you should assume African fertility will level off to ~2.

I also do not think fertility will remain constant, many African nations are showing some decline.  Rather my best guess is a projection between the High Variant and The Constant Fertility Variant. (Assuming no Malthusian Limit.)

This UN projection clearly shows the typical liberal bias in their projection by assuming Africans will eventually behave like Europeans.

James Fulford writes: As far as I can see, the reader is saying that Steve's "World's Most Important Graph" isn't scary enough—and it was already pretty frightening.