By Edmond Y. Azadian
Population growth is a strategic weapon for many nations. For long, European countries have adopted “birth encouragement” programs to overcome the drop in their populations. France, especially, has a very generous “birth encouragement” program, which was adopted a long time ago due to concerns about the decline in births there. However, with the flow of immigrants, mostly from France’s former North African colonies, the program has benefited these immigrants, rather than the ethnic French people.
Now that many similar programs are in place throughout Europe, many politicians have been alarmed that within the next half century, Muslim populations may make up the majority population on the European continent.
The former Soviet Union had a similar plan in place, which also benefited the Muslim population; women with multiple children were awarded the title “hero mothers.” Most of those “hero mothers” in Soviet Armenia were either Kurds or Azeris. China, with a population well over 1.5 billion, has a reverse population policy. Families are discouraged from having more than two children. China is an economic super power developing at a very fast rate, and its population control plan is intended to calibrate its birth rate with the pace of its economic progress. Runaway population growth may hamper its economic growth.
Armenia has a half-hearted population program in place, which has not contributed much to its growth because such a program needs solid infrastructure to sustain the intended rise in population. Surveys taken in Armenia have demonstrated that many families are reluctant to have children because of economic problems and uncertainties facing the youth there. Should Armenia one day enjoy a strong economy and help its citizens resist the lure of foreign countries, it would benefit from fertility clinics for some population increase.