The Aug. 24 Economist magazine discussed in both the lead editorial and a three-page cover story the central issue of Western politics: the changing demographic reality. Western societies are aging, and fast.

Well, not quite all Western countries. The U.S. has, in recent years, experienced a growth in its fertility rate, which now stands just below the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman. It had fallen as low as 1.8 children in the 1970s, but during the prosperity of the 1980s and ’90s, it had risen steadily and is projected to continue to grow. Combined with less-restrictive immigration policies of many European countries (and a more favourable destination for immigrants compared to Canada), the U.S. population is growing quickly. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the American population will grow steadily as the European population decreases (and ages) through to 2050. Currently, Europe has roughly 400 million people and the U.S. has 280 million. Between 2025 and 2040, the U.S. population will exceed that of Europe’s and by 2050, the U.S. population will be between 400 million and 550 million.

Despite extensive coverage of the issue of demographic change and its consequences (the need to curtail the generosity of the welfare state in the form of state-funded healthcare and pension payments because the segment of the population that is retired will be proportionately too large for the relatively smaller base of taxpayers to provide for), The Economist failed to note the major cause for the hand-and-hand problems of population decline and an aging society: abortion.

As a magazine committed to classical liberalism, The Economist doesn’t like to address what is often referred to as a moral issue. But by saying the solution to lower fertility rates is to increase immigration leads the magazine to paint just half a picture. Between a quarter and half of pregnancies end in abortion in most European countries and thus, between a quarter and a half of the next generation has been eliminated in-utero.

What The Economist calls America’s “demographic exceptionalism” is simply the extensive advantages of high fertility: neither the U.S.’s population cohorts or its racial and ethnic makeup will change dramatically, so there will be greater social and political stability; it will maintain an equilibrium between pension and healthcare spending and the ability of taxpayers to pay for these programs; and a population with a sizeable younger cohort has both a greater entrepreneurial spirit and lower labour costs, creating a more attractive business environment, which results in a more dynamic economy. As the U.S. overcomes Europe as the largest market in the world sometime in the middle of this century, it will become an even greater power. This becomes more pronounced while Europe’s relative strength decreases as it ages and suffers from what economists – and The Economist – call “higher dependency costs.”

The magazine is silent on the situation in Canada. Unfortunately, our fertility rate is below replacement – an appalling 1.5 children per woman. Demographers predict Canada will stop growing completely within nine years. Like The Economist, the Canadian media’s reaction to the news from Statistics Canada earlier this year that Canada’s population is aging rapidly and approaching decline was to call for more immigration.

In August, a Leger Marketing poll found that 75 per cent of Canadians are concerned about the future financing of their pension plans due to the aging population and slowing population growth. The reason for this, as in Europe, is the (literally) deadly combination of abortion-on-demand and low fertility, as women have fewer children and put off their first child until much later in life.

Canada’s problems – higher taxes to support higher dependency costs, a shrinking labour market, increased business costs, etc. – will be more pronounced because we are neighbours with an ever-growing superpower. So, considering the devastating economic consequences of abortion-induced low fertility, perhaps even libertarians and neocons can get on board a political platform that takes a strong pro-natal, anti-abortion position. The future of our country depends on it.