Really, Types of Population Pyramids?

Not a pyramid shaped population pyramid

The nonsense of drawing a Population Pyramid of a shrinking population: that’s what this article is about.

There have been population explosions in many countries. But it cannot be emphasized often enough: there is no question of a worldwide population explosion nowadays. In a number of countries, the population is already shrinking – in some countries even at a worrying rate – and in most countries the population will shrink within a few years or decades. Calling the structure of the population divided into age groups and gender of a country with a shrinking population as a pyramid is weird, to say the least.

Predicted population ‘growth’ in millions in 4 countries

In 2017 I also wrote a long text about the shrinking population: Child mortality, NOS fake news, overpopulation and population pyramids. (link to long text in Dutch)

Partly as a result of that article, I was confronted on social media with the question of whether the African population explosion wasn’t actually just (part of) a muhammedan population explosion. I didn’t think so but was not completely sure. Upon further investigation, my idea turned out to be correct. You can already discern that to some extent in the graph of the population ‘growth’ in four countries above: almost 100% of the population of Pakistan and Bangladesh is Mohammedan and the population growth there is horribly large, but less spectacular than in Nigeria where only about half of the population is supposed to follow the teachings of Muhammad.


I studied further and produced the chart below. I have plotted the fertility rate of almost all countries against the percentage of the population considered to be Muslim. The image contains a ton of information but also suggestions for further consideration.

Anyway, some explanation is needed. First of all, I made a distinction between countries in Africa (brown circles) and the rest of the world (yellow diamonds). There are also two different trend lines. At first glance, what is not very noticeable is that the yellow diamonds of many countries can be found at the bottom left. All of these countries have populations that are already shrinking or are likely to shrink in the not-so-distant future. It also deserves some extra emphasis that there are TWO clear differences between both trend lines: the African line is much higher than that for the rest of the world AND it is flatter.

TWO trendlines in population development in 160 countries

When the fertility rate of a country is at or below (approximately) 2.2, the size of the population will shrink in the long term (that period differs greatly: I will come back to this later). This applies to no less than about 100 of the 160 countries mapped here, but in Africa to only one (tiny) country (Mauritius).

Among the 40 countries with the highest fertility rate [1], we count 36 African countries and 4 others. Those four are Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Pakistan. All four with a population that is considered to be more than 95% Mohammedan and where Mohammedanism is only moderately moderate. Outside Africa, there is a much stronger relationship between the percentage of Muslims and projected population growth. Among non-African countries with less than 10% Muslims, only one (Guatemala) has a fertility rate above 3.

India, Israel and Suriname

In the graph I have ‘highlighted’ countries such as Mauritius and Guatemala: you could call them outliers. For the sake of clarity, let me add immediately: each country has its own characteristics – there are big differences between Niger and Somalia and even bigger between Poland and South Korea. The group of outliers formed by India, Israel and Suriname is also very varied, but they have in common that they have a fairly high fertility rate, are not in Africa and the percentage of Muslims is not that large.

Suriname is reluctant to register data by ethnicity, but I did find a table FM-02 in a (pdf) file from the General Bureau of Statistics ‘Lifetime fertility by age group ethnicity of women‘. This shows a figure about twice as high for the Maroons compared to all other groups [2] This certainly does not indicate a strong connection between Mohammedanism and population growth.

The situation is different in India: the fertility rate among the approximately 14% Muslims in that country is considerably higher than that of the rest of the population. The clearest example of this can be found in extremely densely populated Kerala where the Mohammedans, who make up a quarter of the population, have as many children as the Hindus, who make up half of it. [3]

Israel is an “outlier” in many statistics. In contrast to India, the fertility rate for Muslims and non-Muslims has been at the same, high level for several years: “Arab rate drops, Jewish rate rises, and women in both groups now give birth to an average of 3.13 children, highest in OECD“. I already established it in my book (In Dutch. It can still be ordered here),in note 10 in the chapter Fear: the growing number:

Incidentally, research into the connection between population growth and religion indicates that the difference is not so much between the religions themselves, but between the more and less fundamentalist believers. Christian fundamentalists are also having more children.

Relatively speaking, there are quite a few fundamentalists among Jews in Israel.

Catholicism vs Atlantic rubbish

Particularly in a country like the Netherlands, the simple, enthusiastic Europhile and/or Islamophile is sometimes faced with a comparison with the Catholicism of the 1950s: they also had many children and some non-Catholics experienced this as a threat. That is not 100% nonsense, but the collapse of the authority of the Pope and his professional accomplices has been so great that in Europe traditionally catholic countries such as Poland, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Italy have the lowest, even alarmingly low, fertility rates! Likewise the number of children born out of wedlock is the highest in the most Catholic continent: South America.

That nasty, anti-Western oriented, oikophobic medium The Atlantic uses a variant of that and-what-about-those-Catholics? In this article with the almost completely revealing title The Muslim Overpopulation Myth That Just Won’t Die we read:

The fertility rate across all 49 Muslim-majority countries fell from 4.3 children per woman in 1990-95 to about 2.9 in 2010-15. This was still higher than the global fertility rate in 2015, but it’s a strikingly fast drop given the fact that it took some Western European countries nearly a century to transition from six children per woman to three. (My emphasis)

The claim regarding those fertility figures is – of course – not substantiated.
The most vile thing about it is that a fertility rate of 2.1 only represents a stable population size if healthcare is up to standard. If infant mortality is high, a fertility rate of 2.1 represents a shrinking population. I repeat a quote from the Dutch Journal of Medicine from 2008 (152:2788-94):

Infant mortality in the Netherlands was very high during the 19th century, especially in the provinces of South Holland and Zeeland (up to > 300 per 1000 live births) and in parts of North Brabant and Limburg. (…) From 1875-1880, both the fertility rate and the infant mortality rate fell: the so-called demographic transition.

So not in the first five years, but only in the first year of life when an approximately 2.5 times higher percentage of Dutch children died than today worldwide! The “Atlantics” make it even crazier:

Given the socioeconomic underpinnings of fertility, the targeted persecution in Burma may have made high Rohingya birth rates a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It is true that an increase in wealth and – to an even greater extent – the level of education of girls is conducive to a decline in the fertility rate. Here it is flipped around and turned into a kind of threat: because the Rohingya are having a hard time, they will bear more children!

Iran and Bangladesh vs Pakistan

Outliers of a completely different type than India, Israel or Suriname can be found at the bottom right of the graph: countries with 50 to 99% Muslims and ‘yet’ a low to very low birth rate. This concerns countries such as Malaysia, Lebanon, Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Gulf states, but also more striking and larger: Iran and Bangladesh.

Persians are not Arabs or Pakistanis. I am emphatically not referring to the difference between Sunnis and Shiites (Link to Dutch text). Even after the ayatollahs successfully seized totalitarian power in 1979, hatred and contempt for women in Iran has never reached such levels as among Arabic speakers. Unlike in the Arab world it is unthinkable to find an Iranian woman (!!) advocating the sex slavery of non-Muslim women. If you search the internet for burnings of copies of the Koran, you will end up in Texas or Iran.
Of course, the claim that more than 99.5% of the population in Iran is Mohammedan is also highly questionable.

The claim that the percentage in Bangladesh is above 90 seems more credible. Many non-Muslims had already fled when India and (East + West) Pakistan were formed, and many millions fled again when Bangladesh separated from Pakistan. Mohammedan extremism is also rampant in Bangladesh. Yet the fertility rate there is barely above the level that corresponds to a stable size of the population.

At first glance, this may seem to contradict the image above, which predicts another population growth of around 30 million. This has to do with that term where I would come back to. I quote for convenience from page 103 of my book Islamophobia?:

If at a given moment the fertility rate in a country moves towards 2 (ie towards a number that represents a stable population with good health care), this does not mean that the population will stop growing. When very many people [read: women] are before or in the age groups in which one can (still) have children, the population will continue to grow for some time.

But this does not yet explain the fall in the fertility rate. An explanation is obvious: the absurdly high population density. In that respect, Bangladesh – apart from a number of city-states – stands head and shoulders above all other countries: more than 1100 people per square kilometer. Almost three times as many as in my home country! It may be noted that every year a very large part of those square kilometers is flooded … [4]

Indonesia and the irreversibility of collapsing fertility

Indonesia as a whole has a population density ten times, I repeat: 10 times as low as Bangladesh, but about 57% of the population lives on the relatively small island of Java where the population density is similar to that of Bangladesh. On this island (just three times the size of the Netherlands) live about as many people as in Russia.
Let that sink in for a moment.

The fertility rate in Indonesia has been falling for several decades. It won’t surprise you: especially on Java. There it is already below 2 (so shrinkage in the long term); still at 2.5 for Indonesia as a whole (flattening, but probably still continuing growth also in the longer term). On the subject of declining, even too fast, fertility rates, I found a very interesting story by one David Patung. In 2008 he wrote an opinion piece on his weblog ‘Indonesia matters’ about Fertility rates in Indonesia. Remarkable and interesting is that he also mentions data per ‘religion’:

By 2050, or even earlier, [Total] Fertility Rates of all the major ethnic groups are likely to have fallen below replacement level, with the lower range estimates for the Javanese and Madurese being at the very serious, dire end of low fertility. (…) looking at TFR by religion, for 2005-2010:
Muslims – 2.1-2.2
Christians – 2.5
Others – 1.8-1.9
“Others”, Hindus and Buddhists, are already at sub-replacement level.

And this is how Patung formulates his concerns about the future population size of Indonesia, the world’s fourth largest country in terms of population size after China, India and the US (!):

.. experience has shown throughout the world that decline in fertility rarely [does not] stop[s] there, but continues down, in the most extreme cases to below 1.5, thus putting the long term survival of a people, and their language, culture, and religion, at risk. There is as yet no known case in the world where a people’s fertility level fell below 1.5 and then “recovered” again to replacement level, for largely mathematical reasons – because the pool of people of reproductive age has already fallen too low. Those that are left would have to make rather “heroic” efforts to raise the rate by having quite large families.

What a contrast to the EU lies about aging and multiculturalism.

AFB Guardian

Less children, more immigrants

Crazy, crazier, craziest: Nicolae Ceaușescu, Erdowahn, EU

Wikipedia’s English entry on fertility rates contains a lot of interesting information as well as this completely insane ‘animated gif’. He suggests that everything will be all right with those population explosions. One ‘Cosmic Nebula’ has put together a series of vacuous extrapolations from some UN club (Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division) into a kind of video.

Yes, certainly, the rise in prosperity and the level of education of girls are important variables that influence the fertility rate. It is almost impossible to predict how these two will develop per country, especially over a period of decades. In addition, other factors also play a role.

I briefly repeat what I wrote earlier about the hideous Nicolae Ceaușescu:

You can read from the population pyramid about when this biggest bastard in European history since Hitler came to power there. It was the emphatic and explicit intention of this man that the number of Romanians would grow considerably.
And it worked!
By the late 1960s, the population began to swell. In turn, a new problem was created by child abandonment, which swelled the orphanage population.

Fortunately, the dangerous lunatic Ceaușescu is dead. A madman who incidentally did not dream of a Greater Romanian Empire.

However, Erdowahn is alive and kicking. He is now calling on Turkish women to bear at least four children. (And in Europe five!). If half of Turkish women respond to this call, the population structure (“pyramid”) will have changed considerably within about ten years and predictions for after 2030 will no longer be correct. Recently, the constitutional court in Turkey has decided with only 1 dissenting vote that homosexuality is a psychological disorder and that it undermines public morality. This dangerous lunatic is showing more and more openly his Ottoman revenge, even a kind of pre-Ottoman thirst for conquest.

But in my eyes even more dangerous than Erdowahn himself are the politicians in the Netherlands and the rest of the EU who pretend that Erdowahn is not a dangerous lunatic. As if Putin is more dangerous.

Finally: very different population explosions indeed

I used the plural of population explosion at the beginning of this article. That the African trend line is much higher than that for the rest of the world and that it runs much flatter: that is really one thing. There are different types of population explosions.

There are population explosions from long ago that, in some countries with already shrinking populations, exacerbate the challenges posed by aging populations anyway. The Netherlands is about the country that is least affected by this.

These explosions are also known as baby booms. Baby booms vary in duration, severity, and time elapsed since. Where they have just recently (say: only a few years or decades) started to diminish, as in many countries with a high degree of Islam, there is indeed a reassuring trend towards a stable population size, but the growth of the population may just as well continue to grow markedly for several decades to come.

And finally, there is that pyramid among onions: Africa.

Even if the decline in the fertility rate really sets in there, it will take many decades before the population size there is more or less stable.

P.S.: The top image is a screenshot of a so called ‘featuring snippet’ from this YouTube-video. Such a snippet is a remarkable phenomenon in itself: it is produced by Google!


  1. We are talking about a fertility rate higher than 3.6; more than double that in Europe.
  2. Wikipedia about the Maroons: ‘The Surinamese Maroon culture is sometimes called the best preserved part of Africa outside Africa.’
  3. Kerala is also one of the Indian states with very little support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party and a very strong position for the communists.
  4. And that has nothing to do with the level of the sea level: that flooding has been happening for centuries.

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