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« Gay in America, Straight in Russia | Main | Please Don't Build This Car »

February 15, 2006

Multicultural Britain

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Britain's population will be more than 50% nonwhite by 2100, reports Anthony Browne. (London will turn more than 50% nonwhite in 2010.) Startling quote: "It would be the first time in history that a major indigenous population has voluntarily become a minority, rather than through war, famine or disease."

A development to celebrate or bemoan? Something to marvel over, in any case ....



posted by Michael at February 15, 2006


It's bad news if Britain's experience with integration of its Islamic minority is any indicator.

Of course 2100 is a long way off -- 3-4 generations -- so maybe natural demographic maturation will solve the problem.

Posted by: Raw Data Complex on February 15, 2006 7:09 PM

The projection is based on two big assumptions:
1) that immigration levels will continue at their high levels; and
2) that birth rates among nonwhites, especially immigrants, will remain at current level rather than declining over the generations.

Posted by: Peter on February 15, 2006 7:27 PM

No one knows for sure what will happen. This projection is a high-side one that doesn't seem to take into account age structure, death rates, fertility rates and other demographic niceties. It strikes me as being intended as a warning -- one legitimate reason for a trend-projection (which this one sort of is).

But trends can reverse if conditions become too extreme. Let's check back in 2101.

Posted by: Donald Pittenger on February 15, 2006 8:18 PM

Do you remember back in the 1970s when the anti-Vietnam-war left would ritually cite Lenin's 1916 book: "Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism"?

Maybe it's time for an update. "Multi-Culturalism (and Population Replacement), the Highest Stage of Capitalism", anyone?

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on February 16, 2006 4:57 AM

Also, maybe I've been reading too much Roman history lately, but does this make anyone else think of the Volkswanderung, the invasions of the Roman Empire by various Germanic peoples?

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on February 16, 2006 5:23 AM

FvB: "Also, maybe I've been reading too much Roman history lately, but does this make anyone else think of the Volkswanderung, the invasions of the Roman Empire by various Germanic peoples?"


Posted by: jult52 on February 16, 2006 10:22 AM

I think it matters not as long as they absorb the local culture. If they don't, then one culture eventually becomes dominant, and if it's the "invading culture," that's where the true change occurs.

And when you consider things globally, white people have always been in the minority.

Posted by: Yahmdallah on February 16, 2006 11:16 AM

I wonder what Philip Larkin would have to say about it, if he was still among us.

I know what he would say. He'd call it (in poetic form) an unmitigated disaster. And he'd be right. And be labeled a bigot by all right thinking people, who secretly would agree with him.

Posted by: ricpic on February 16, 2006 12:15 PM

I recently read about Britain's largest family, with 20 children. (They were "indigenous", too, believe it or not.) And the mother of the Kinks' Davies brothers is said to have been one of 20 as well. So some Britons are reproducing.

Families of this size are rare, but by definition their children make up a much larger proportion of the next generation than their parents do of theirs. The question is, are they more traditional, more religious, etc., than the secular moderns who are dying out? I think so.

So the indigenous population may actually be "conservatizing" faster in this environment than it would in a "baby boom" period where everyone was having larger families. And as long as these families hold on to their traditions-- in many cases, they're intensifying them-- then the problem should bottom out and the society recover. (Assuming it isn't swamped in the meantime.)

Posted by: Reg Csar on February 16, 2006 3:49 PM

Reg Caesar's point is an interesting one which I have run into more than once among educated middle-class Americans where the people most able to raise children who will be productive citizens because of their income, proclivity to think, good health etc etc are often childless. The upshot is that the people who should be having the most children are having the fewest.

Call that elitist or racist (or whatever cliche you'd like to apply) but we all know it's true.

Posted by: Raw Data Complex on February 16, 2006 4:16 PM

FvB: The Germanic invasions of the Roman Empire did not really affect the long term genetic balance of the invaded countries. In the border areas of the northern frontier, it did have long term consequences, but elsewhere, the invaders were too few in number to leave a lasting DNA imprint. This is not just my opinion, but reflects the writing of scholars.

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on February 17, 2006 11:27 AM


Thanks for the reminder. I wasn't speaking so much genetically, in this context, as I was speaking politically.

BTW, do you have any sources about the "genetics" of the Roman Republic/Empire? I've been looking at so many issues (military, economic, political, medical) in the past few weeks that it would be interesting to see what the DNA boys have dug up. It would seem to offer at least some insight into the vexed question of just how large the role played by slavery was in that era--I was quite astonished, after many years of reading people asserting that the slave population of Italy was as high as 30-40%, to find that the evidence behind this "factoid" was essentially nil. Anything I write on Roman history from here out will be prefaced with a discussion of exactly how little is really known about it. Sadly, many of the most basic data you'd like to know in order to understand societies of the past--economic, demographic, social--just isn't available. Not that this will prevent me from drawing truly blowhardy conclusions, naturally!

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on February 17, 2006 12:38 PM

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