The Future Population of Europe and the Soviet Union: Population Projections, 1940-1970

The Future Population of Europe and the Soviet Union: Population Projections, 1940-1970

The Future Population of Europe and the Soviet Union: Population Projections, 1940-1970

The Future Population of Europe and the Soviet Union: Population Projections, 1940-1970

Excerpt

PLANS for rebuilding the world after the war necessarily involve judgments about the population trends of the future. Such judgments are too often implicit, but implicit or explicit, right or wrong, they are present. The population of Europe and the Soviet Union, with which this study deals, has changed enormously in the past and will continue to do so in the future. These changes will profoundly affect the social, economic, and political life of the area, and of the world. In fact, it is scarcely possible to think of an aspect of society that will not be demonstrably changed within the next few decades by demographic forces, the broad outlines of which are already visible. For example, changes in the size and composition of the population will be important determinants of such widely divergent matters as trends in social stratification, the function of the family, the status of women, systems of land tenure, and the structure of labor organization. They will be no less important in the difficult economic problems of agrarian reform, the fluctuating levels of economic activity, the market for capital goods, credit, international trade, and the care of the aged and other dependent groups. They will be of critical importance in the problems of establishing a just and durable peace in a world whose changing economic and military manpower exerts shifting pressures on the maintenance of fixed political relationships. In each of these fields, future developments will be determined by a variety of factors, among which, in many instances, the demographic will not be the most important. However, in all of the fields coming events will be significantly influenced by changes in the size and composition of population. A full appreciation of the impact of such changes requires as much information as careful analysis and difficult circumstances make possible.

The Problem

The difficulties of predicting the nature of future trends in population are both obvious and formidable. At best, accurate prediction of population is possible only when events are moving in orderly sequence, undisturbed by sudden catastrophic developments. Un-

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