Blog

Mainstream Media Blindness to China’s Depopulation Dividend

China's population has started decreasing, which the media reports as an economic disaster. In his article originally published at Overpopulation News, Jon Austen explores how the media ignores the benefits of such a decline and finds agreement among commenters. By Jon Austen China has had its first fall in population in 61 years. The media … Continue reading Mainstream Media Blindness to China’s Depopulation Dividend

Fertility decline in developing countries does not depend on economic growth but follows contraceptive use

Many politicians, the public, and some scientists still think that economic development is a major cause of reduced birth rates in developing countries. We tested this belief empirically in a recently published long-term study of many countries (1970-2014). We found no relationships between fertility and economic growth, but a strong association with modern contraception: birth rates … Continue reading Fertility decline in developing countries does not depend on economic growth but follows contraceptive use

The Great Multiplier

At the end of 2022, the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Human Capital held a conference titled Population and Climate Change: The Defining Relationship of the 21st Century. Yet as one participant noted, in this presentation from the conference, the desire to downplay population’s importance is hard to avoid, even among those who should know … Continue reading The Great Multiplier

Eight Billion – Our Greatest Mistake

According to the United Nations Population Fund, reaching a global human population of 8 billion is an achievement to be celebrated. In “a world of infinite possibilities,” they state, “imagine the boundless paths 8 billion can take.” Rather than taking refuge in irresponsible fantasies, it’s time our bloated societies reckoned honesty with demographic reality. By … Continue reading Eight Billion – Our Greatest Mistake

A year of milestones and mourning

2022 saw record amounts of ink spilled and electrons broadcast about the chief environmental disorders of our time - climate change and biodiversity loss - while the global population surpassed 8 billion people. Compared to past years, it seemed as if the media did a somewhat better job connecting the dots between the first two … Continue reading A year of milestones and mourning

The moral imperative of depopulation

Anthropocentrism is preventing humanity from dealing with the world’s cascading environmental crises. Stephen Williams reviews the work of Catholic historian Paul Collins who argues depopulation is an urgent moral imperative. By Stephen Williams A new discussion paper on population ethics written by Catholic historian Paul Collins is as radical as it is worthy. The paper … Continue reading The moral imperative of depopulation

Something you don’t know about Qatar and something you know about China (but it’s wrong)

Despite obvious differences, Qatar and China have something in common: disinformation, myths and lack of information surround these two countries. Looking at data instead of anecdotes discloses surprising facts and enables a better understanding of these countries’ demographic policies. It also sheds light on how population policies can drive unbalanced sex-ratios. by Lucia Tamburino and … Continue reading Something you don’t know about Qatar and something you know about China (but it’s wrong)

In America, reproductive rights have fallen prey to a creeping theocracy

The United States of America is becoming a theocracy. The Dobbs decision has bypassed the Congress by having the Supreme Court establish a de facto religion which forces unwilling women to become mothers. By Richard Grossman, MD © 2022 For years I have hesitated to write about the effect of religion on population. My hesitation has … Continue reading In America, reproductive rights have fallen prey to a creeping theocracy

Population growth has contributed 80% of ecological overshoot

William Rees is the originator of ecological footprint analysis, the influential approach to measuring sustainability. In a new article, he argues that humanity is deep into ecological overshoot and that we need to ratchet back our numbers and the size of our economies before nature does it for us. by Philip Cafaro William Rees has … Continue reading Population growth has contributed 80% of ecological overshoot

The per capita fallacy

Are many tiny ecological footprints more virtuous than fewer, larger ones? Will they be better for the Earth, or easier to accomplish? These hard questions need to be asked as humanity hurtles past 8 billion people and deeper into ecological overshoot. By Gaia Baracetti You've all heard the argument: high birth rates in poor countries … Continue reading The per capita fallacy

Hello World of 8 Billion! 

On 15 November 2022, Earth’s human population will pass 8 Billion, according to estimates by the United Nations. This sobering milestone should galvanise us to redouble our efforts to minimise further growth. By Valorie M. Allen I have found myself checking out the population counter on my website more and more often as it approaches … Continue reading Hello World of 8 Billion! 

Herman Daly

TOP mourns the death of a giant: Herman Daly, co-founder of the discipline of ecological economics, champion of the steady-state economy and a long-time voice for sanity on population. We add our praise to the chorus. by The Overpopulation Project Herman Daly, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Maryland, USA, passed away on … Continue reading Herman Daly

Time for Sweden to resume focus on international family planning aid

Recent research suggests lack of contraception and high desired family size both hinder population stabilization in Africa. We call on the newly elected Swedish government to prioritize international family planning aid, resuming a valuable Swedish tradition.     By Frank Götmark, Nordhild Wetzler, Malte Andersson, Carl Wahren, Karl-Erik Norrman An Op-Ed originally published in Svenska Dagbladet … Continue reading Time for Sweden to resume focus on international family planning aid

More like a dying planet report

Earth continues to hemorrhage biodiversity, according to the latest Living Planet Report. Unfortunately, its authors cannot manage a clear statement of how to stop the bleeding. by The Overpopulation Project “You could think of it as a health check for the planet,” says the World Wildlife Fund, introducing its most recent biennial Living Planet Report, … Continue reading More like a dying planet report

Advocating for the Education She Did Not Have

Education is important for girls and women to be able to control their own lives. To celebrate International Day of the Girl this Tuesday, Population Media Center highlighted their article about education and overcoming social barriers in Nepal, which we have republished here. Read about Binita and her determination to advocate for her sister-in-law's continued … Continue reading Advocating for the Education She Did Not Have

The role of immigration in Italy’s recent election

How important were immigration issues in the recent electoral triumph of Giorgia Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia party? TOP’s chief Italian correspondent gives us her analysis. by Gaia Baracetti History does repeat itself - but not in the obvious way. One could fear we're witnessing a second March on Rome exactly a century after the first, but … Continue reading The role of immigration in Italy’s recent election

Conserving biodiversity means limiting human numbers

A recent letter in Biological Conservation criticized TOP researchers for writing about how more people means less space for wildlife. We responded that without limiting our numbers, people will not be able to protect the natural world. Who’s right? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the on-line comments below. by The Overpopulation Project This … Continue reading Conserving biodiversity means limiting human numbers

Is it wrong to explore the connections between overpopulation and biodiversity loss?

A recent letter in Biological Conservation criticizes TOP researchers for writing about how more people means less space for wildlife. We are curious what our readers think of the arguments and how you would respond. Please share your suggestions in the on-line comments below. by The Overpopulation Project This summer, TOP researchers published an article … Continue reading Is it wrong to explore the connections between overpopulation and biodiversity loss?

Population and Cheap Labour

Herman Daly has made more fundamental contributions to specifying a truly sustainable economics than any economist of the past half century. At 85, he is still contributing to the development of ecological economics and still tossing off more memorable phrases in a short essay than most of us could work into a book. An example … Continue reading Population and Cheap Labour

The Natural Synergy between Population Stabilization and Reproductive Rights

In the second essay we are featuring from the Great Transition Initiative’s forum The Population Debate Revisited, Céline Delacroix highlights the win-win relationship between elevating women’s health, rights and autonomy and minimising population growth. Why then is the topic so unwelcome in international policy discourse? By Céline Delacroix Reading Ian Lowe’s opening essay to this … Continue reading The Natural Synergy between Population Stabilization and Reproductive Rights

“Decline and Prosper!” A review of a comprehensive book about fertility by Vegard Skirbekk

A new book by the productive demographer Vegard Skirbekk has the commendable title Decline and Prosper!. It is a valuable resource, presenting much research on fertility around the world. It also raises questions about how to deal with high fertility and population growth in many countries. By Frank Götmark The book, in paperback from Palgrave … Continue reading “Decline and Prosper!” A review of a comprehensive book about fertility by Vegard Skirbekk

Population and the Great Transition

In June, the Great Transition Initiative ran a month-long forum under the title The Population Debate Revisited. The collection of contributed essays is now accessible on the GTI’s site, and makes for interesting reading. We thought three of the essays held particular merit and will republish them here over the next few weeks. The first … Continue reading Population and the Great Transition

Elon Musk is wrong about population growth

Tech entrepreneur and multibillionaire Elon Musk claims that underpopulation rather than overpopulation is the greatest threat that faces humanity, despite current destruction of nature and the millions of people living in extreme poverty. Dr. David Walker examines Musk's dangerous statements and sets the facts straight. By Dr. David Walker As a South African, I must … Continue reading Elon Musk is wrong about population growth

Growing populations increase the risk of pandemics

Thank you, László We begin this week’s blog by gratefully highlighting the memory of László Szombatfalvy, Stockholm, who recently died at the age of 94. In his book The Greatest Challenges of Our Times László describes overpopulation as the overarching threat to Earth and humanity, above other existential threats. He and his research foundation supported … Continue reading Growing populations increase the risk of pandemics

World population is growing faster than we thought

We’ve all heard the aphorism ‘Lies, damned lies and statistics.’ Statistics are an invaluable tool for understanding and responding appropriately to the world, but when the numbers say one thing and the headlines say another, it’s a cause for concern. TOP takes a dive into World Population Prospects 2022. by Jane O’Sullivan The world’s population … Continue reading World population is growing faster than we thought

3 Women, 2 Countries, 1 Voice for World Population Day 2022

For those times when we feel worn down by the thanklessness of campaigning for population sustainability, it can be uplifting to hear the voices of veteran campaigners whose courage has never wavered. Michael Bayliss introduces us to a conversation to inspire. by Michael Bayliss In the most recent episode of Post-Growth Australia Podcast (PGAP) I … Continue reading 3 Women, 2 Countries, 1 Voice for World Population Day 2022

New publication shows how overpopulation drives biodiversity loss

The concept of human overpopulation, once common, is now rarely used in the scientific literature. Yet overpopulation is a major driver of biodiversity loss and a key obstacle to fairly sharing habitat and resources with other species. A new publication from TOP explores the connections between human numbers and preserving wild nature. by The Overpopulation … Continue reading New publication shows how overpopulation drives biodiversity loss

The United Nations celebrates World Population Day by shaming population ‘alarmists’

Not content with omitting overpopulation concerns from its own rhetoric, in its World Population Day statement the UNFPA has gone on the attack, labelling all concerns about the numbers of humans ‘alarmist’. Jane O’Sullivan takes them to task. By Jane O'Sullivan The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was created in 1969 to act on the … Continue reading The United Nations celebrates World Population Day by shaming population ‘alarmists’

What do citizens of a donor country think drives fertility decline in low-income countries?

In TOP, we have researched what causes the birth rate and family size to fall in developing countries. A major factor has been voluntary family planning programs in countries like Costa Rica, Iran and South Korea. In current academic literature, the dominating paradigm is increased education of women. In developmental aid, “reproductive health” is often … Continue reading What do citizens of a donor country think drives fertility decline in low-income countries?

Influencing politicians to act on population trends: an example from Sweden

To influence societal attitudes and population policy it is important for organizations that understand the population factor to reach out to politicians who can enact necessary changes. Below follows one such example, where the Swedish group Nätverket ‘Population Matters Sweden’ wrote letters to all members of the Swedish parliament, highlighting the need to address population … Continue reading Influencing politicians to act on population trends: an example from Sweden

History was rewritten to delegitimize population concerns: we need to reassert the truth

In the old fable of the Emperor’s New Clothes, people denied the emperor’s nakedness because they wanted to be seen as smart. Today people deny overpopulation because they want to be seen as moral. It is a form of virtue signaling: are you for justice and equity and families and being nice to refugees, or … Continue reading History was rewritten to delegitimize population concerns: we need to reassert the truth

Two ways to argue for population’s importance

Here at TOP, we are often asked how we define overpopulation and whether it’s a helpful concept. Good questions! Below I propose a definition of overpopulation, after first considering the suggestion that it’s not necessary or helpful to deploy the term, even —or especially! — if we want to convince our societies to accept good … Continue reading Two ways to argue for population’s importance

What have you learned in school about population? Please tell us!

Many of our readers may have memories from their school years of lessons about population growth – or perhaps memorable situations when population talk was avoided. As far as we know, there are few studies regarding how population is taught around the world. TOP wants to know more about this, whether your memories are from … Continue reading What have you learned in school about population? Please tell us!

The Hidden Dividends of Stopping Population Growth

Ending population growth is necessary to create ecologically sustainable societies. That’s reason enough to do so. But the evidence suggests smaller populations have other important benefits, including more honest and responsive governments and happier citizens. by Kelvin Thomson Most people concerned about rapid population growth are concerned about its impact on our environment, on other … Continue reading The Hidden Dividends of Stopping Population Growth

Breaking boundaries but not population taboos

The book Breaking Boundaries by Johan Rockström and Owen Gaffney explains the basics of how the Earth works and how humanity is rocking the boat, ecologically speaking. While describing monumental challenges, it views the future with optimism. Despite having a chapter dedicated to population, it fails to acknowledge how larger global populations reduce our chances … Continue reading Breaking boundaries but not population taboos

Population commitments under the Paris climate accord

Under the Paris Agreement of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), the nations of the world have made pledges known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs). These represent countries’ proposals to adapt to and mitigate (limit) global warming. A new publication assesses the NDCs’ treatment of population growth and family planning. by The Overpopulation … Continue reading Population commitments under the Paris climate accord

Religion, Fertility and Contraceptive Use in Sub-Saharan Africa, Part 6: Progressive Religious Organisations

While contraception in Sub-Saharan Africa is still considered taboo in many religious settings and children are viewed as a “gift from God”, some religious leaders are actively promoting the importance of family planning and considering its role in population growth. In this last part of our series on religion, fertility and contraceptive use in Sub-Saharan … Continue reading Religion, Fertility and Contraceptive Use in Sub-Saharan Africa, Part 6: Progressive Religious Organisations

On Threats and How to Prevent Them

Threats that humanity faces today are planetary in scale. That and their menacing character require long-term thinking and preventive politics to deal with or, better yet, prevent them. This may require planetary governance that unites humanity for mutual protection. by Jan Greguš, Masaryk University, Czech Republic  Few would have believed five or ten years ago … Continue reading On Threats and How to Prevent Them

Population in the IPCC’s new mitigation report

A new IPCC climate change mitigation report confirms that population increase and economic growth are the main drivers of today’s historically high greenhouse gas emissions. But that scientific information has been censored and removed from the Summary for Policymakers distributed to the world’s press and the public. Does a problem disappear if we don’t mention … Continue reading Population in the IPCC’s new mitigation report

Ukraine war: temporary glitch or tipping point?

Almost everyone reading these words hopes for a quick resolution to the war in Ukraine. But, with population growth straining global food systems, what might Russia’s aggression mean for global agricultural production and humanity’s ability to feed itself going forward? by Jane O’Sullivan Back in 2015, the insurance underwriter Lloyds published a wake-up call for … Continue reading Ukraine war: temporary glitch or tipping point?