Population collapse due to low birth rates a bigger risk than climate: Musk

This is not the first time that Tesla's top boss has warned about declining birth rates. In June 2022, he also shared data from The Wall Street Journal

Topics  Elon Musk | Twitter | Aging population

Elon Musk

Tesla and SpaceX owner Elon Musk has once again sounded an alarm with regards to the depleting birth rate across the globe. On August 26, Musk took to Twitter and said, "Population collapse due to low birth rates is a much bigger risk to civilization than global warming".

Population collapse due to low birth rates is a much bigger risk to civilization than global warming

Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 26, 2022

This is not the first time that Tesla's top boss has warned about declining birth rates. In June, he  shared data from The Wall Street Journal, which highlighted that birthrates across the US were failing to hit 'sustainable' levels for more than fifty years now. While Musk has often criticised the measures taken for targeted population control, he also has been at the receiving end of criticism for his approach on the population collapse issue. 

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

In another tweet dated July 7, Musk wrote that he is doing his best to help the underpopulation crisis and collapsing birth rate is by the biggest danger that civilisation faces. This came after one report suggested Musk had twins last year with one of his top executives.

Musk, for long, has been vocal about his concerns regarding the declining birth rate. He has often rubbished the thought that having more children is harmful to the environment, due to which people are choosing to not have kids. 

But why is Elon Musk reiterating on the population collapse? 

Several reports show that there has been a global decline in the fertility rates over the past 50 years. According to UN World Population Prospects, 2022, the global fertility rate fell from 3.3 in 1990 to 2.1 births per woman in 2021.

The report added that India might take over China as the most populous country by 2023. This comes at a time when China's one-child policy has been failing and the country is witnessing a severe population crisis. This is coupled with the decline in the marriage rates and an increase in the aging population.

As per the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the birth rate declined to an all-time low of 7.52 per 1,000 people in 2021.

Although India's population crossed 1.4 billion mark in 2021, the growth rate has reduced drastically in the country. From 1.38 per cent in 2010, the growth rate has now come to half at 0.68 per cent in 2021, the report said. With a decline in birth rate, the dependent population and pressure on govt is expected to increase. According to a Business Standard report dated July 18, the share of population above 65 is likely to see a jump from 9.7 per cent in 2022 to 16.4 per cent in 2050.

As far as the US is concerned, the birth rate fell to a new low of 4 per cent, according to a 2021 report. The report also mentioned that the decline continued for the sixth consecutive year, with only 3.6 million babies being born in 2020, lowest since 1979. This decline is linked to the average age of American mothers, said the report. 

The 2019 UN report said, the world population, by the end of the century, is projected to virtually stop growing, for the first time in the history. While countries like Germany and Japan have been witnessing decline in birth rate, middle-income countries like Brazil and Thailand are also witnessing the decline now. 

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First Published: Mon,August 29 2022 19:32 IST
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