February 18, 2006 | Graham

Remedial maths for Danna Vale

Danna Vale thinks Muslims are out-breeding us all (whoever “us” are) and Australia will end up being a Muslim country.
We’ve published Kevin Donnelly a lot. His theme is that the education system has deteriorated over the last 30 or more years. It’s a thesis to which I’m sympathetic, but then you get statements like this from baby boomers and you wonder just how good maths teaching really was in the “good old days”.
And it’s not just Danna. The Australian has bought into the issue in a big way with contributions by Mark Steyn and Angela Shanahan (no link, but buy today’s edition).
The problem with the theory is this. Muslims make up 1.5% of our population. According to Shanahan the fertility rate of Islamic Australian women is 2.68, while all Australian women have an average fertility rate of 1.7. Assuming (and a demographer would do better than this, but it’s close enough to reality to illustrate my point) that a fertility rate of 2 is required just to replace the parents. That means that the .68 goes to the increase in the population, or a total of 204,000 more muslims.
But assuming that the average Muslim woman is 25 by the time she’s finished having children, those 204,000 more Muslims take 25 years to turn up. I’ve no idea what percentage of the population that will make Muslims in 2031, because immigration will be building the population, and some of those immigrants will be Muslims, but it won’t make them more than 3% of the population, and probably less. Some takeover.
Shanahan ought to be well aware of the mathematics of fertility as well as the psychopathology of scapegoating particular religions. She’s a Catholic woman who, if my memory is correct, has had nine children. As a result of her religion and fertility she ought to be well aware of the demonisation of people of a particular religion coupled with a fear of their fertility.
As Shanahan says “…this is an issue about…religion…That is why Islamic women have large families.” She points out that not only are they fertile, but they tend to marry within their religion. Just like Catholics did.
Perhaps Shanahan frets because Roman Catholics actually have become a significant force in Australia. But they started with a significantly higher base – the Irish – which was boosted by postwar immigration from Catholic Europe, and they still make up only around 30% of the population.
And of course now Catholics have the same fertility rate as the rest of us.
There are reasons to be worried about Islam, but this isn’t one of them.

Posted by Graham at 9:04 pm | Comments (6) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. I am not a demographer or a mathmetician, but I am a baby boomer. My thoughts on the maths are along this line. We currently have a population of around 20 million of whom around 300 000 are Muslim. Asssume a 50/50 split on gender which makes 150 000 females. Assume half of those women are of child bearing age which gives us 75 000 potential mothers. Assume half of those have completed their families. That would give us a pool of around 37 500 Muslim women currently who are possibly going to have children in the next few years.
    I can’t do the maths but I can’t see any possibility of that pool resulting in 10 million plus Muslims in Australia any time soon, even in 50 years. And that is assuming that the total population doesn’t keep increasing at the same rate.
    Any thoughts from mathmeticians out there?

    Comment by rossco — February 20, 2006 @ 12:01 pm

    Britain’s first black archbishop has launched a forceful attack on multiculturalism which, he argues, has denied English people the right to celebrate their history and national identity.
    Soon-to-be Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, who was a judge in Uganda, told the UK Times: “Multiculturalism has seemed to imply, wrongly for me, that we should allow other cultures to express themselves but not let the majority culture at all tell us its glories, its struggles, its joys and its pains.”
    “I speak as a foreigner,” he said. “The English are somehow embarrassed about some of the good things they have done. They have done some terrible things, but not all the empire was a bad idea. Because the empire has gone there is almost the sense in which there is not a big idea that drives this nation.” He also warned that England would only experience further political extremism if it failed to reconnect with its roots.
    “When you ask a lot of people in this country, ‘What is English culture?’ they are very vague. It is a culture that whether we like it or not has given us parliamentary democracy. It is the mother of it. It is the mother of arguing that if you want a change of government, you vote them in or you vote them out.”
    Source: Breaking Christian News Same here in OZ

    Comment by alfred — February 20, 2006 @ 1:35 pm

  3. I think you’re right Rossco – I’ve over-estimated the number of potential Muslim babies because I’ve assumed that all Muslim women are of child-bearing age and have yet to have a family, and I’ve worked my .68 off the total population rather than the half or so that will be female. Just makes Danna’s assertion even more ludicrous!

    Comment by Graham Young — February 20, 2006 @ 2:09 pm

  4. Thanks Graham.
    Sometimes you think you must be crazy because the flaw in Danna et als argument appears so flawed but no one is really attacking the maths. So it is pleasing to get some support.
    I know there are a few assumptions in my argument but I did study economics many years ago.
    Any chance of getting this out to a broader audience?

    Comment by rossco — February 20, 2006 @ 3:26 pm

  5. And this also assumes that none of those kids will grow up to be agnostic or atheist. A pretty big assumption I would think. I have more than a couple of friends with Muslim names who drink alcohol and don’t pray to Allah.

    Comment by Yobbo — February 20, 2006 @ 6:14 pm

  6. You don’t need to be a statistician or mathematician to see that the numbers simply don’t stand-up.
    According to the ABS, Australia’s current population is approximately 20.5 million, of which less than 310,000 are Muslim.
    If half that number are women, who each produce four children, there will be 62O,OOO children. If all these children are female & they also produce four children each, there would be nearly 2.5 million more. Assuming that no Muslim woman in the 3rd generation gives birth before turning 18, then the total number of children produced over 50 years would be 3.1 million.
    To be conservative, let’s also assume that no Australian Muslims perish over the next 50 years. Also, given that the immigration intake & population mix remains constant, then the next 50 years will see less than 116,000 new Muslims arrive in Australia.
    On this basis the estimated total of Australian Muslim population will become roughly 3,500,000 by 2056.
    Meantime, the annual birth rate in Australia is almost 250,000. Assuming that 155,000 of those are Muslim born, non-Muslim births would be around 95,000 annually.
    If we assume that the non-Muslim birth rate only applies for 8 years out of the next 50 years, then only 760,000 non-Muslim children will be born in that period. Then, to be ultra-conservative, let’s assume that the annual death rate of 135,000 is ALL Non-Muslim & remains constant for 50 years. Total deaths of Non-Muslim people would be nearly 7 million.
    With non-Muslim arrivals running at 151,690 people per year, there will be 7,584,500 new citizens added over 50 years.
    So, in 50 Years time it would seem that Australia’s total population will be about 25 million (in-line with the ABS projection for 2050), of whom 14% will be members of the Muslim minority group.
    Unless Danna is expecting the Australian population to undergo a wholesale religious conversion over the next 50 years 14% hardly constitutes a ” Muslim Nation.”
    As they’d say in America ” Do the math, Danna, do the math “.

    Comment by John Richardson — February 20, 2006 @ 9:35 pm

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