Monday, August 22, 2005

The continental divide 

Nicholas Eberstadt and Barbara Boyle Torrey:
Twenty-five years ago the population profiles of Canada and the United States were similar. Both were younger than their European allies, and their societies were more heterogeneous. In 1980 their populations had almost the same median age, fertility rates, and immigration rates. In the years since then, small changes in demographic variables have accumulated, ultimately creating two very different countries in North America by the end of the twentieth century.

Canadians now have half a child fewer than Americans during their lifetimes--their fertility level is roughly 25 percent lower than that of their neighbors south of the border--and they are living two years longer. Both populations are growing at about the same rate, but the components of growth have diverged. Immigration is relatively more important in Canada’s growth rate, and fertility is more important in the United States.

Canadians marry later and less often than Americans. They enter common-law unions more often and their children are increasingly likely to be born out of wedlock. Canadians and Americans have similar labor force participation rates, but Americans work more hours per year. They have higher incomes but less leisure. And even though Canada’s birth rate is now substantially lower than America’s, the Canadian government provides more child services and benefits than the U.S. government.
Whence Canada? A part of the Anglosphere but looking more like a European country every day.


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