Competing for the globe’s top people
ews articles in Canada in the past year have focused on the immigration challenge facing western democracies. Populism and nativism, amplified in volume well beyond the number of their advocates by strident social media and flat-out cyber manipulation by totalitarian nations (who, ironically are among the world’s most xenophobic) make dispassionate and rational discussions of the clear benefits of immigration to a country like Canada more difficult for the necessity of trying to speak clearly and calmly amid the noise of hysteria.
We are all, rightly, most concerned about our own situation, and whether we can succeed. Here is a view of the broader immigration landscape.
In Canada, the nation’s self-proclaimed ‘national newspaper,’ the Toronto-based Globe and Mail, published an excerpt of a book by Globe columnist John Ibbitson. His book, co-authored with Canadian Pollster Darrell Bricker (Ipsos Public Affairs) is called Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline.
As authors, the two Canadians are walking ground opened up by the late Swedish statistician Hans Rosling (1948 – 2017) in the YouTube video of his lecture on global population growth. It is a superb one-hour production. Click below to see it.
2022 Update: Rosling was right
Nothing Ibbitson and Bricker’s book, or Rosling’s video, have to say is all that startling, fact by immutable fact. It is the assembling of the larger picture, and projecting it over the entire globe, and the complete 21st century, that make all the data so eye-opening. In 2007, the number of people, worldwide, living in cities surpassed the number in rural or remote areas. Cities are indisputably the 21st century’s engines of growth and repositories of people and knowledge.
The Globe’s Ibbitson published a July 2020 update here. Ibbitson lists some countries that stand to lose more than half their population by the end of the century. The BBC News web site has an article about the implications of a shrinking population, and why global population shifts may be encouraging news for prospective newcomers to Canada.
- Nations that have not pursued forward-thinking immigration programs already see their populations in decline. Examples include Japan, Russia, and countries in eastern Europe;
- As populations of youth and people in their prime working years decline or stagnate, proportions of seniors in nearly all western nations are rising sharply. Some 90 percent of health care expenses are spent on the old and the chronically ill. This leaves taxpayer-borne expenses such as health care and pensions to be paid by fewer and fewer working age people;
- China, which discourages inbound immigration, will see its own population level off shortly, and begin a long decline;
- Urbanization leads to better education for women, with families starting their child-bearing years later, and having fewer children. The birth date falls below the rate of replacement (depending on who calculates it, between 2.2 and 2.7 babies per woman of child-bearing years);
- The very policies that welcome newcomers run into opposition in older societies, where a graying older generation can’t – or won’t – connect the dots between a healthy level of immigration, and the people they themselves will need to build their homes, manage their communities, and become their doctors, for example.
Most demographic studies put the world’s population peak at between eight and 11 billion, sometime in the middle of this century, then beginning a steady decline. Canada, with its decades of careful, but generous, immigration numbers remains younger than the average nation. Canada has the ability to keep growing without the looming brick wall of worker shortages facing other nations (such as Japan and even the USA).
Canada’s 36 million people will grow to some 50 million by mid-century, roughly the end of the lives of North America’s ‘baby boom’ generation born after World War II, between 1946 and 1966. Come and work with us. Each year, some 350,000 people will move from the land of their birth to start a new life in Canada. Competition for each of those spots is tight, and the requirements mean you need to have a plan, act on it, and not make mistakes. Contact us. We can help.