Politics, the media, and Hollywood are saturated with overpopulation doomsayers. From Green New Deal advocates to Marvel’s supervillain Thanos, warnings abound that the Earth simply cannot sustain the 7 billion humans and counting currently plodding around the planet. But Lyman Stone says this commonly-held view gets things exactly backwards.
The greater threat to human flourishing over the coming decades is not overpopulation but depopulation, as fertility rates across the developed world crater and fertility rates in developing countries follow suit. In this episode we discuss why the panic over a “population bomb” is so misguided, what’s causing declining fertility rates across the world, what if anything can be done to reverse course, and what these shifting demographics will likely mean for the United States and the world.
Lyman Stone is an Adjunct Fellow at AEI, a Research Fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, and a former International Economist at the US Department of Agriculture. He blogs about migration, population dynamics, and regional economics at In a State of Migration, and he also writes regularly for Vox’s Big Idea vertical. His work has been covered in the The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and numerous local outlets.
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