Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has said many times that he loves humanity. So it’s not surprising that he is concerned about the low birthrate. Eight billion people may seem like a lot but Elon Musk is right in his concerns.
In May 2022, MedCity News published an article on the globally declining birth rate and noted that depopulation is placing a huge burden on a diminishing workforce. It also highlighted technological improvements in egg freezing have been improving pregnancy rates.
The United Nations projects that by 2100 the world will have 11.2 billion people, however, the birthrate was at its lowest in 2021. The good news is that it has been increasing a bit since then. According to the New York Times, the U.S. birthrate has increased by 1%. The increase stopped a steady decline.
Although this is a good thing, I think Elon Musk is right in his concerns. Elon Musk mentioned the 2021 statistic to me when he was on my podcast earlier this month.
Elon Musk Is Raising Awareness About Population Decline
The Tesla CEO has been raising awareness about the decline in population for quite some time. Today on Twitter he shared a few tweets that echoed what he told me in my podcasts a couple of weeks ago. He tweeted that he’s doing his best to help with the crisis and added, “A collapsing birthrate is the biggest danger civilization faces by far.”
Doing my best to help the underpopulation crisis.
A collapsing birth rate is the biggest danger civilization faces by far.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 7, 2022
His tweets come as the news of him having another set of twins made its way around Twitter. (Congratulations, Elon!) During our conversation, I brought up a reason that I thought was pretty valid and it opened a good debate where I think we both learned a little from one another. I certainly learned from him.
I’ve always thought poverty played a key role, but I could be wrong. I have friends at all income levels who have children. I also have friends at various income levels who don’t and the most common complaint I’ve heard is that ‘children are too expensive.’ I think what Kim Paquette asked Elon was very important.
Elon, should the gov offer programs such as free childcare, education, and universal healthcare to help families afford big families?
— Kim Paquette 💫🦄 🇺🇦 🕊 (@kimpaquette) July 7, 2022
Elon Musk’s Thoughts On Population Decline
Elon pointed out to me that there’s another issue playing a major role in the birthrate decline and this makes the most sense.
“Well, the population decline problem, I think, is possibly the biggest risk to civilization. It’s certainly one of the biggest risks. First of all, a lot of people think that there’s too many humans on the planet and the planet can’t sustain this number of humans.”
“This is absolutely not true we could double the population without any meaningful damage to the environment. You can put all the humans on earth in the City of New. York. That’s the cross-sectional area of humans.”
“They literally fit the city of New. York with on one floor you don’t even need high-rises. If you’re on a plane flight and you look down and you say, ‘what percentage of the time, if I were to drop a ball, would that ball would hit a person?'”
“Basically zero. Even in a city like LA which you would think ‘oh that’s a crowded city.’ But looking at it from above, what’s the cross-sectional area of humans relative to the rest of the ground? And it’s much less than one percent in even in LA.”
“If you’re in a big city environment and you see a lot of people you sort of extrapolate that to everywhere. But it’s actually very rare to see a concentration of humans. The earth is very sparsely populated with humans. There’s not enough humans far from being too many.”
“And I think people are still operating on the assumption that the population’s just growing like crazy when in fact the opposite is occurring. And these numbers are easy to look up. I mean, they’re just on the internet. We had the lowest birth rate in recorded history last year.”
Again, I think that Elon Musk is right to raise awareness about the low birthrate. Whether or not you agree with Elon Musk on the topic of population, he’s doing a good thing by raising awareness.
USA birth rate has been below min sustainable levels for ~50 years pic.twitter.com/v5PSLbvEAE
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 24, 2022