They call it old Europe for a reason

They call it old Europe for a reason
: A remarkable projection in today’s NY Times David Brooks column:

Working off U.N. and U.S. census data, Bill Frey, the indispensable University of Michigan demographer, projects that in the year 2050 the median age in the United States will be 35. The median age in Europe will be 52. The implications of that are enormous.

Europe, the land of yesterday. The continent of old farts. The next Beatles sure won’t come from there. They will come from, oh, Iran.

  • A few Novembers ago, on a dark, chilly day I popped into my local Manhattan tavern for a drink.
    Gretchen, a wonderful, intelligent, 50-year-old , lesbian jazz saxophonist was the bartender. She asked me how things were going.
    “Great,” I said. “Been listening to a lot of classical music this weekend. I dunno… for some reason I always seem to do that when the leaves are falling.”
    “Of course,” said Gretchen. “Classical music’s all about European culture.”

  • Wes

    You’re probably right about the next Beatles coming from Iran(instead of Europe circa 2050 anyway)… the cinema in Iran is quite good, so they’ve got that part down already….

  • ….a moment with Easycure

    or India or Pakistan……or none of the above if they kill each other off first.

  • You’re right about Europe’s demographics. The “baby bust” is far more severe there, compounded with a much larger commitment to state-funded social programs and voila!
    They will have the following unavoidable choices:
    1. Allow free immigration to boost the number of working age residents paying taxes, and/or;
    2. Significantly curtail entitlements in the future.

  • Catherine

    Ditto to Steve. An Economist issue from the summer basically said as much as the demographer of Michigan.
    Ditto for Japan which is also very hostile to immigration, but they probably won’t have a choice. Demographer’s there are projecting a workforce crisis if immigration laws aren’t changed to fit the population dip.

  • Eric

    I agree about Europe, but Japan might be a different story. Japanese culture still has a dynamism to it that could allow it to adapt when and if it comes to realize that its demographic problem is paving the way for Japan’s socioeconomic destruction.
    Also, in Europe, it’s still possible that we’ll see a demographic reversal when the generous social security/pension systems of the EU countries finally bankrupt themselves under the demographic strain. Once European couples realize that they can’t count on the state to look after them in old age, they might be willing to have more kids. America might face a similar point in 15-20 years – our birth rates may be higher than Europe, but they’re still well below the levels they were at when the Baby Boomers were born, and this is bound to cause some serious problems for Social Security once the Boomers start retiring en masse.

  • Mark Steyn has been banging this drum for a while, and it is something to worry about. By 2020, its projected that half of the children in the Netherlands will be Muslims. Tell me that isn’t a cultural shift.

  • Max

    And in the Netherlands they are already trying to get aspects of Shiara (sp?) law put into effect- no drinking, no homosexuals, no- well just take everything cool about the Netherlands and put a no before it. Sad.

  • infamouse

    Really, Max? Do you have any links about that? I wouldn’t be shocked if we see another great European immigration wave? How bizarre would it be if in 50 years most Europeans don’t live in Europe?

  • Visitor (Los Angeles)

    Only one problem, Jeff:
    There will never be another Beatles. Never another phenomenon like the Fab Four. Ever.
    The rock and roll innocence of the early sixties is long gone.
    The time of only three channels on television and an entire country watching one television show on Sunday night is long gone.
    Ed Sullivan is long gone.
    Can you imagine Topo Gigio as a phenomenon today? That’s how much we’ve changed.
    Never again, Jeff. Not even with four equally talented singer/songwriters/musicians in 2003 — not that that is likely to happen any time soon.
    Any musical phenomenon that comes even close to the permanent effect the Beatles continue (!) to have on the entire world soul and psyche will be a phenonmenon far in a distant future that we wouldn’t even recognize. Things will have to change that much again for something so “new” to emerge.
    “And so, dear friends, we’ll just have to carry on. The dream is over.”
    And what a dream it was. (Too bad Gen X, our kids and our grandkids will never really understand that.)

  • Max is talking absolute nonsense – the only things currenly making the Netherlands deeply uncool are smoking bans; while certainly fascist, these are hardly Islamic.
    Meanwhile, the idea that Japanese culture has more dynamism than European culture is the most amusing I’ve heard in weeks. If Europe is stagnating culturally and economically (which it isn’t, but let’s assume Europe’s current state were to count as stagnation), Japan has already been there, bought all the t-shirts, and printed cute fake-English slogans on them.

  • Myles

    Hugh Macleod : Those falling leaves are brown, like your nose!

  • Pele

    Ger’off our buzz lar. Dem lads were scousers…