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November 01, 2004

Question to Readers

The comments to this guest post of mine over at the Head Heeb made me curious about ethnic succession.

Can anyone think of a situation where a minority population (ethnic, linguistic, religious) in a fairly coherent social entity--a modern state, say, or a religious community--takes over entirely, purely through high fertility rates? Although there has always been a demographic differential in France between religious Catholics and more secular folk, and until the 1960s almost all immigrants to France came from more conservative Catholic countries, the trend in France has definitely been towards greater secularization. Too, in the American Jewish community the porportion of ultra-Orthodox has remained fairly constant (again, fertility counterbalanced by defection).

The only situation that I can think of which comes even close is the remarkable expansion of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States since 1783. When you consider that one of the Intolerable Acts that triggered the American revolt was the fact that the 1774 Quebec Act passed by the British Parliament granted full political and civil rights to the Canadien Catholics within their traditional territory, it's truly a remarkable fact that now, the United States has the largest Catholic population of any First World nation-state.

Any thoughts?

Posted by randymac at 06:32 PM