Population increase is a natural sign of political health. By that measure, Baltimore has been sick a long time. Six straight decades of depopulation have reduced the city by a third. Seeking not only to halt this bad case of "the dreaded shrinks" but reverse it, the mayor has set the modest goal of increasing the city's population by 22,000 people in 10 years.
The "experts" assert that immigration is the key to a population rebound. Today's demographers might do well to consult the granddaddy of demographic prognostication: the 18th century French political philosopher Montesquieu. In his Persian Letters, Montesquieu reflects on the fate of the great cities of Constantinople and Isfahan: "People, attracted for a thousand reasons, ought to flock to them from every direction. Yet they are decaying internally and would long since have perished, had not their sovereigns in almost every century caused entire new nations to enter and repopulate them." Reliance on immigration can stave off collapse but does not remedy the fundamental causes of decline.
In the near term, it seems sensible to do whatever can be done to attract immigrants. New citizens from diverse lands can be a source of cultural vibrancy and economic growth. We don't want Baltimore to petrify into a city of rich whites and poor blacks, with middle-class members of both races fleeing at their earliest opportunity. However, without attention to the triggers of depopulation, those immigrants might soon repeat the flight pattern of their predecessors, or be numerically insufficient to counteract the prevailing ethos.
It is this matter of ethos that is crucial, according to Montesquieu. He argues that "the chief cause [of depopulation] is to be found in a change of customs." Not surprisingly, the customs he focuses on are those most entwined with human procreation and childrearing — above all, the status of the institution of marriage (although he doesn't neglect another closely related matter: the spirit of commerce and industry). In his examination of factors that can undermine the fruitfulness and health of populations, he singles out "the cruel habit the women [of some locales] have of aborting themselves, so that their pregnancy will not make them disagreeable to their men."
Source : http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-abortion-population-20120123-8-story.html380