France Faces Depopulation

France Faces Depopulation

France Faces Depopulation

France Faces Depopulation

Excerpt

For many decades the so-called problem of depopulation has aroused the concern of French scholars, laymen, and legislators, and has led to the publication of many works in which are described both theories of the causes of France's relatively slow demographic growth and measures designed to accelerate this rate of growth and to counterbalance some of the allegedly untoward effects of a comparatively low rate of demographic growth. In recent decades many such counterbalancing measures have been put into effect in France.

This work is the first extensive study of the French depopulation problem and of the effects of anticipations of depopulation upon French policies, that has appeared in a language other than French; it is essentially a review of the problem of depopulation as it has appeared to French scholars, writers, and statesmen, and of the measures proposed and/or enacted to cope with it. While the present study is not primarily a history of population growth in France, nor a complete explanation of the causes of the decline in French fertility, it embodies virtually all of the available data on population growth in France and theoretical analyses of the causes of the decline in fertility, of the comparative efficacy of measures designed to check the decline in natality, and of the nature of the relationship between numbers and individual welfare.

Four chapters are devoted to the history of French population growth and of the changes in the geographical and occupational composition of the French population, and to the description of trends in over-all and differential fertility in France. Two chapters are devoted to a historical account of the growth of alarm at depopulation in France, and one to a description of French and other theories advanced to account for the decline in French natural increase. Three chapters are devoted to a description of French theories and measures with respect to colonial, immigration, birth-stimulating, and other policies designed to counterbalance the effects of low natality.

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