Much has been made of the migration of asylum-seekers and economic refugees to Europe from conflicts and poverty in the Middle East and Africa. The above link takes you to a site that maps the flow of people. It’s pretty interesting and certainly looks alarming, especially to Europeans. The media has virtually run out of superlatives to describe the scale of this crisis. “Historic.” “Unprecedented.” “Staggering.” This linked article says that “… it’s hard to grasp the magnitude …” It’s a serious situation, to be sure, but I thought some perspective might be interesting.
Europe is a continent of approximately 585 million people, not counting Russia. (After all, none of these people are seeking to migrate to Russia.) It has a surface area of about 2.3 million square miles – about 2/3 the size of the U.S. This gives it a population density of about 255 people per square mile, about three times as densely populated as the U.S.
As the article points out, approximately 680,000 people have arrived in Europe so far this year. That’s an annualized rate of about 750,000. So that rate would grow Europe’s population by about 0.13%. Now, let’s compare that to the United States, which admits approximately one million legal immigrants per year and is also invaded by a roughly equal number of illegal immigrants, many of whom are deported, but roughly half remain and are eventually granted amnesty. That’s an annual influx of approximately 1.5 million migrants each year, growing the U.S. population by 0.5% (more than three times the rate being experienced by Europe).
Put in that perspective, Europe’s migrant crisis pales in comparison to what the U.S. has been experiencing year-in and year-out for many decades. The scenes of border crossings in Europe are no different than the situation at our own southern border. Yet somehow it’s a crisis of historical proportions in Europe, worthy of constant global media attention, while America’s migrant crisis is completely shrugged off. It’s become routine. It’s become our duty to suck it up and take them all in.
Still, this is a serious situation, cause for major concern for Europeans and even for Americans. Consider:
- Europe is already very densely populated. Take away Russia and the Scandinavian countries, and the rest of Europe is as densely populated as China. Many European nations, especially Germany, are already heavily dependent on manufacturing for export to sustain their economies and avoid high unemployment. The very last thing Europe needs is more population growth.
- Americans should also be concerned by a surge in population growth in Europe. It will exacerbate our large trade deficit with Europe as its market is further eroded by over-crowding and as its exporters become more desperate to increase foreign market share.
- The days when the western world could serve as a relief valve for overpopulation are long since past. Our ability to absorb immigrants without doing economic harm to our own people has been exhausted. The inability of western economies to sustain economic growth or even maintain their present levels of consumption is becoming more evident every day.
The sad fact is that as long as the world’s population continues to grow exponentially, driven primarily by explosive growth among third world nations, we are rapidly reaching the point where all we can do is stand by helplessly and watch as more and more crises unfold.