Entrepreneur and business magnate Elon Musk gestures during a visit at the Tesla Gigafactory plant under construction, on August 13, 2021 in Gruenheide near Berlin, eastern Germany.
Patrick Pleul | AFP | Getty Images
“There are not enough people,” Musk told a Wall Street Journal event on Monday. “I can’t emphasize this enough, there are not enough people,” he said.
The tech billionaire said low and rapidly declining birth rates are “one of the biggest risks to civilization.”
His comments come as a growing number of people are deciding not to have children, citing concerns such as climate change and inequality.
Musk added that too many “good, smart people” think there are too many people in the world and that the population is growing out of control.
“It’s completely the opposite,” Musk said, urging people to look at the data. “If people don’t have more children, civilization is going to crumble. Mark my words.”
Analysts at Morgan Stanley said in a note to investors in July that the “movement to not have children owing to fears over climate change is growing and impacting fertility rates quicker than any preceding trend in the field of fertility decline.”
To support their argument, they pointed to surveys, academic research and Google data that shows climate change is directly and indirectly accelerating the decline in fertility rates.
UCLA researchers have shown that the number of births in the U.S. fell in the nine months following an extreme heat event, while a study of 18,000 couples in China last year showed that climate change, and particulate pollution in particular, was associated with a 20% increased likelihood of infertility.
Of course, if everyone stopped having children then humanity would eventually cease to exist. A fringe group of anti-natalists believe that’s exactly what should happen, but most people don’t share this view.
Indeed, many people see having children as a fundamental human right and one that can bring happiness and joy to families.