A Population Implosion?

BY Richard Doerflinger

Remember when everybody worried about a “population explosion” filling the world with too many people? In the 1970s, this fear drove campaigns to legalize abortion and pour billions of dollars into birth control programs.

Now experts warn about the opposite. While birth rates remain relatively high in developing nations, they are lower than predicted. And industrialized nations face a “population implosion” as birth rates fall well below replacement level.

For a while, the United States did better than Europe, partly due to immigration. But even immigrants are having fewer children as they absorb American values, and we now have the lowest U.S. birth rate ever. Recent policies against immigration will only make things worse.

Combined with our longer life span, this trend has dire consequences. Says Elon Musk, the billionaire genius who co-founded the Tesla corporation, we are producing an “inverted demographic pyramid” in which fewer workers must support more and more seniors.

Ultimately, he says, “the social safety net will not hold.” Social Security and our health care system are at risk.


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