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World Congress of Families VI Opens Friday on a Continent Plagued by Low Fertility and Population Decline

Contact: Don Feder, Director, Communications, 508-405-1337, dfeder@rcn.com; Judy Hodge, 815-964-5819, media@worldcongress.org; both with World Congress of Families 

MADRID, Spain, May 23, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- World Congress of Families (May 25-27), which opens in Madrid on Friday, will take place against the backdrop of Europe's perilously low fertility and population decline which contributes to the continent's intractable economic crisis.

World Congress of Families Managing Director Larry Jacobs explains: "In developed nations, a fertility rate of 2.1 is needed just to replace current population." The fertility rate is the number of children the average woman will have in her lifetime. "In the European Union as a whole, it's 1.5 -- well below replacement. In Spain, it's slightly lower  -- 1.47. Greece has a TFR of 1.3."

Nations like Russia, Germany, and Japan are already losing people and facing dramatic population decline. In developed nations, populations are also aging rapidly.  Japan's over-60 population went from 11.6% of the total population in 1989 to 21% in 2011.  Not surprisingly, Japan's stock market has mirrored the decline in fertility rate and population and has been decreasing since 1990.

Jacobs observed: "Despite what population-planners have been telling us since Paul Ehrlich's 'The Population Bomb' in 1969, the demographic challenge of the 21st century won't be overpopulation but declining and aging populations.  Long-term economic growth and population growth go hand-in-hand.  Never in recorded history have nations been able to sustain economic growth during population decline.

Already, the effects can be seen in Greece, where fewer and fewer workers are forced to pay for a growing number of pensioners and other government expenditures. After the nation's May 6 election, political parties there were unable to form a government and a new election has been called for June 17.  Demographics lie at the heart of such turmoil.

Declining fertility will be an important topic of discussion at the Madrid Congress. A plenarry session on Demographic Winter, chaired by Jon Mueller of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, will include speeches by:

Joel Kotkin ( futurist and consultant on economic development) "Demographic Winter: How We Got to Where we Are."

Don Feder (WCF Communications Director) "The Cultural Roots of Demographic Winter"

Douglas Sylva (Senior Fellow, Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute) "Demographic Winter As A Threat to World Peace" and

Alejandro Macarron (Managing Partner of the business strategy, consulting and corporate finance firm, Otto & Company) "Large Families and the Way Out of Demographic Winter."

The Congress will also include a Demographic Winter panel discussion. Participants are Steve Mosher (President, Population Research Council), Steve Smoot (executive producer of the documentary "Demographic Winter: the Decline of the Human Family"), Igor Beloborodov (director of The Demographic Research Institute, Moscow) and Joel Kotkin.

Alexey Komov, organizer of the WCF Moscow Demographic Summit (2011) will also speak at the Congress.

"Demographic Winter is below almost everyone's radar," Jacobs remarked. "But at World Congress of Families we've been talking about it for more than a decade. As evidence continues to mount on the impact of the global decline of fertility, we expect the discussion at World Congress of Families VI in Madrid to be more relevant than ever."

Those interested in attending World Congress of Families VI in Madrid (May 25-27) can register online at www.worldcongress.es

WCF VI  is organized by HazteOir.org (the local host committee)  and The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society.  Co-conveners for WCF VI in Madrid include Alliance Defense Fund, Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute and Focus on the Family.  World Congress of Families is also supported annually by our 35 partners, in 11 countries.  Click here for a complete list of WCF Partners.

For more information on World Congress of Families go to www.worldcongress.org.  To schedule an interview with Larry Jacobs, contact Communications Director Don Feder at 508-405-1337, dfeder@rcn.com or Judy Hodge 815-964-5819, media@worldcongress.org.

The World Congress of Families (WCF) is an international network of pro-family organizations, scholars, leaders and inter-faith people of goodwill from more than 80  countries that seek to restore the natural family as the fundamental social unit and the 'seedbed' of civil society (as found in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948).  The WCF was founded in 1997 by Allan Carlson and is a project of The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society in Rockford, Illinois.  To date, there have been five World Congresses of Families -- Prague (1997), Geneva (1999), Mexico City (2004), Warsaw, Poland (2007) and Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2009).  World Congress of Families VI will be held in Madrid, Spain in May 25-27, 2012.