Underpopulation Is the Real Problem

2.1 Kids:Stable Population

Population Research Institute has just released the second installment in its “Overpopulation Is a Myth” series— a slickly produced video that explains in easy-to-understand terms why underpopulation is the real looming demographic disaster.

I first saw this video earlier this week, and about an hour later I received an e-mail from a journalist in the UK asking for a brief comment for a story he was writing about a young British woman who, based on a belief that having children would have damaging effects on the quality of life of people already living, had decided to be sterilized.

I commented on how how tragic it is that someone would decide to not have children based on a mistaken belief that the world is somehow overpopulated—and that, quite the contrary, the real danger in our world is underpopulation.  I further pointed out that this is the looming demographic and economic threat that no one wants to talk about. If there are not enough babies being born today, who will support tomorrow’s pensioners?

It’s a shame that such frantic handwringing about overpopulation still persists in our day. How much more stuck in the Stuck-in-the-Sixties can you get? It’s as if Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb had just hit bookstore shelves (and thus had not yet been proven completely wrong), and the writers of Star Trek were still hard at work producing birth control propaganda.

The new PRI video also prompted me to recall one of the talks given at the League’s 2006 Contraception Is Not the Answer conference.


In a presentation titled “Societal Suicide,” British demographer Andrew Pollard noted how the sudden drop in the birth rate that followed the introduction of the birth control pill caused, demographically speaking, a “virtual tsunami”—fewer female children growing up and giving birth to fewer children.

The League’s Ann Scheidler reported on Pollard’s talk in the Fall 2006 Action News:

The effect on the economy is already being felt as fewer workers pay into the pension programs of an aging population. Pollard said the scientists and politicians who see what is happening feel helpless to reverse the trend. People have become accustomed to the one or two-child family or the childless marriage without considering what that means to the future of society. The efforts of European governments to offer financial incentives to women willing to have another child aren’t working.

Pollard reported that America is beginning to look like dying Europe. He said a fertility rate of 2.1 is required to maintain a constant population, but only the states of Arizona and Utah are above that rate, and population has been falling in eighteen states, including New York. The only demographic trend that keeps the U. S. population growing is immigration. Abortion accounts for a portion of the falling population, but contraception and sterilization are the biggest culprits. Pollard praised the League for having the courage to bring this issue to the forefront.

The overpopulation myth won’t be dying out any time soon, so we would do well to arm ourselves with the facts provided in resources like PRI’s videos and Pollard’s “Societal Suicide” presentation.


  • The first video in PRI’s “Overpopulation Is a Myth” series—which explains how the overpopulation myth came to be, and how the predictions made by those who believe in it have turned out to so hopelessly wrong—can be seen here.
  • Join the “Overpopulation Is a Myth” Facebook group here.
  • Order a copy of Andrew Pollard’s “Societal Suicide” talk at the Pro-Life Action League’s “Contraception Is Not the Answer” conference here.
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