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Divergent Patterns in the Ethnic Transformation of Societies

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  • David Coleman

Abstract

The uneven timing of the demographic transition in different countries of the world will lead to divergence between countries in ethnic and religious homogeneity. Developed-country populations that began their fertility transitions relatively early are becoming increasingly diverse with respect to the ethnic origin and religion of their inhabitants, primarily as a result of high recent levels of immigration. Many demographic patterns of the developed world, such as low death and birth rates, are becoming universal. It might be expected that less developed countries will also turn from emigration to experiencing immigration, as their populations age and their economies develop. This essay suggests, however, that future ethnic diversity arising from immigration may be less marked in many of those developing countries than in the West, especially among latecomers to the fertility transition. Five reasons are advanced as impediments to the globalization of ethnic heterogeneity arising from immigration: demographic, economic, political, and factors related to resource constraints, and climate change. The essay considers what social, economic, and political consequences might arise if high levels of ethnic diversity, and possibly ethnic replacement, remained an idiosyncratic peculiarity of today's developed countries, which would therefore diverge in important ways from the rest of the world as the twenty-first century unfolds. Copyright (c) 2009 The Population Council, Inc..

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  • David Coleman, 2009. "Divergent Patterns in the Ethnic Transformation of Societies," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 35(3), pages 449-478.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:35:y:2009:i:3:p:449-478
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thomas Liebig, 2007. "The Labour Market Integration of Immigrants in Denmark," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 50, OECD Publishing.
    2. Maddison, Angus, 2007. "Contours of the World Economy 1-2030 AD: Essays in Macro-Economic History," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199227204.
    3. Vaclav Smil, 2005. "The Next 50 Years: Unfolding Trends," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 31(4), pages 605-643.
    4. Anthony Daniel Perez & Charles Hirschman, 2009. "The Changing Racial and Ethnic Composition of the US Population: Emerging American Identities," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 35(1), pages 1-51.
    5. Paul Demeny, 2003. "Population Policy Dilemmas in Europe at the Dawn of the Twenty-First Century," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 29(1), pages 1-28.
    6. Jian Xie, 2009. "Addressing China's Water Scarcity : Recommendations for Selected Water Resource Management Issues," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2585.
    7. Thomas Liebig, 2007. "The Labour Market Integration of Immigrants in Australia," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 49, OECD Publishing.
    8. Thomas Liebig, 2007. "The Labour Market Integration of Immigrants in Germany," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 47, OECD Publishing.
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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Lichter, 2013. "Integration or Fragmentation? Racial Diversity and the American Future," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(2), pages 359-391, April.
    2. Patrice Dion & √Čric Caron-Malenfant & Chantal Grondin & Dominic Grenier, 2015. "Long-Term Contribution of Immigration to Population Renewal in Canada: A Simulation," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 41(1), pages 109-126, March.
    3. Francesca Modena & Fabio Sabatini, 2012. "I would if I could: precarious employment and childbearing intentions in Italy," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 77-97, March.
    4. Philipp Kolo, 2011. "Questioning Ethnic Fragmentation's Exogeneity - Drivers of Changing Ethnic Boundaries," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 210, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.

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