accept the figures which Dr. Tweedy quotes in criticising the figures for the relative numbers of old age pensioners and children under 15 by A.D. 2000 which in your paper several weeks ago.
I would like to point out that the figures I gave were the figures given by Professor Dudley Stamp in his book "Our Undeveloped World" p.178, written before the recent rise in the birthrate since 1956.
This point was incidental to my main theme, hut even Dr. Tweedy's figures support it as showing how trends can seem to change very radically with quite a small swing one way or the other. It illustrates also the danger, a very real one in demographic studies, which I stressed in my article of working out long-term forecasts from the data and trends of the moment.
Professor Stamp is in the opposite camp from myself on these questions. Nevertheless. I believe his figures were right when he wrote them and I would still like to see ealculations for A.D. 2000 nor 1977, based on the average trend over the last twenty years or so and not on the couple of years
which have seen a slight reversal of conditions obtaining for over a generation.
For example, In 1937, it was calculated that if existing trends continued, the proportion of old people to children in 1990 would have been eight to one. Various factors intervened (including family allowances) to prevent the likelihood of this extreme prophecy being fulfilled. I hope that other factors will Intervene to prevent Professor Stamp's milder forecast corning true, and it seems they are doing so.
But I feel we do need evidence that a certain trend has some chance of being lasting before we dismiss the danger behind these somewhat sensational warnings too readily.
(Fr.) Arthur McCormack
St. Bede's Presbyter y, Widnes, Lancashire.