Immigration cannot replace births

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Neither refugees nor labour immigration solve the challenges of low birth rates say two of Norway’s leading researchers in the area to Klassekampen newspaper.

Falling birth rates have led the government to fear the welfare state’s sustainability. An interdisciplinary birthplace group has been started up, and in the New Year’s speech, Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Høyre (H) urged for national birth increases.

“Immigration is not an easy solution to the long-term sustainability challenges for the welfare state. It is an additional challenge” said sociology professor, Grete Brochmann, to Klassekampen.

‘’The elderly wave is a demographic challenge that can be affected by immigration at best.

Immigrants will also get old. The additional challenge comes from the fact that so far, roughly speaking, it has not been possible to integrate immigrants to such an extent that it does not mean extra expenses’’ sai Brochmann.

Work immigration also has some systemic negative effects she said.

‘’Increases work-crime, low-wage competition and social dumping are examples. This hits those who are the weakest in the labour market hardest in the first place.”

Professor Trude Lappegård in the Department of Sociology and Social Geography at UiO said that from a demographic standpoint, immigration is not seen as a sustainable alternative to children.

‘’Immigration can contribute with labour that dampens the problem, but it is not a solution. For a steady development, a certain level of recruitment from below in the form of new children is desirable’’ she said.

The birth rate of 56,300 in 2017 was the lowest in many years. This resulted in a total fertility rate of 1.62 children per woman, the lowest measured in Norway, ever. In 2018, the figure is expected to be even lower than in 2017.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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