The CEO of Tesla is really worried about the demographic decline of the planet. While population growth has never been lower in the United States, the billionaire warns that the population collapse could really threaten the future of humanity, not only on Earth… but also on Mars!
The Wall Street Journal recently published an article on the decline of the American population : it turns out that as of July 1, 2020, the total population of the United States had only increased by 0.35%, the rate of lowest growth ever recorded across the Atlantic. And for good reason: in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic , the number of deaths exceeded the number of births in half of the states.
Indeed, in the United States as in all developed countries, the fertility rate has been falling for several years; the economic uncertainty associated with the pandemic has only reinforced the trend. The subject appears to worry Elon Musk , who shared the Wall Street Journal article on his Twitter account . “ Population collapse is a much bigger problem than people realize, ” he tweeted a few days ago.
23 countries are expected to see their populations decline by more than 50% by 2100
According to INSEE , the French population increased by 0.3% in 2020, a weak growth which is again explained by the increase in deaths due to the pandemic. The fertility rate, which now stands at 1.84 children per woman, has been falling since 2015. According to the National Institute for Demographic Studies, we were 7 billion inhabitants on Earth in 2011, and will be 8 billion in 2022 or 2023. However, it is possible that this demographic explosion will end sooner than we think.
A study published in 2020 predicted a marked slowdown in population growth: after peaking at 9.7 billion people in 2064, the population is expected to decline to 8.8 billion in 2100. “ Continued global population growth during the century is no longer the most likely trajectory for the world’s population , ”said Dr Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation , which led the research. Also according to this study, in 2050, 151 countries should have a fertility rate below the generation replacement threshold; In addition, 23 countries, including Japan, Thailand and Spain, are expected to see their populations decline by more than 50% between 2017 and 2100.
While some climate specialists may be delighted with these forecasts, believing that a decline in the world population is one of the pivots that could make it possible to fight effectively against the climate crisis, demographers are, on the other hand, very worried about the economic future. the world – and in particular here, the United States: indeed, a decrease in the working-age population could end up plunging the country into a lasting economic crisis, implying a notable rise in inflation.
Elon Musk says he’s worried not only about the future of Earth, but Mars as well. The businessman fears that the decline of the world population will harm his project of « interplanetary conquest »: » Mars has a great need for people, since the population is currently zero. Humans are the guardians of another life on Earth. Let’s bring life to Mars! « , He declared on his Twitter account. Musk sees this demographic decline as a major problem, adding that there is now a greater chance that our civilization will end up « in a groan » than in a « bang ».
Fewer young workers to innovate and support seniors
According to forecasts, by 2100, almost all countries (183 out of 195) will have a fertility rate below the generation replacement threshold (which is 2.1 births per woman). Fertility rates have already been falling all over the world since 1950; Europe, as well as Brazil and China, have already fallen below the replacement threshold. » The only zone where fertility rates are maintained is the intertropical zone between the Sahel and the Zambezi « , specifies Hervé Le Bras , researcher at the National Institute of Demographic Studies.
The birth rate remains high in sub-Saharan Africa: there are more than seven children per woman in Niger. In these countries, in the past, infant mortality was compensated by a high birth rate; but today, the situation has changed: advances in medicine and the education of young girls are gradually reducing fertility. While the decline will not be as rapid in this part of the world as in the developed countries – with falling death rates and increasing numbers of women of childbearing age – it will eventually occur.
The main problem associated with the declining birth rate is the aging of the population. And there will be fewer and fewer young workers to take care of these elderly people financially … In addition, fewer workers are also less potential to innovate and develop new technologies that could improve our living conditions and save the planet.
In this context, several developed countries, in Europe, America and South-East Asia, will undoubtedly have to call on migrants to increase their working population – a solution which unfortunately causes a lot of societal tensions. Some countries, such as Russia, have already put in place birth policies based on financial support; Iran has adopted more drastic measures , restricting access to contraception and abortion.
Is humanity really threatened with extinction? For some researchers, the decline of the population remains one scenario among others, which is based on hypotheses of fertility, mortality and migratory phenomena which could vary over the years. For others, the trend is inevitable: “ We cannot continue like this in the next century, otherwise, at the end of the day, there will be no one on Earth. At one point or another, we will have to find a solution, ”warns Christopher Murray.
Source: Trust my Science