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Astral Codex Ten Podcast

Aug 5, 2022

So I hear there’s an underpopulation crisis now.

I think the strong version of this claim - that underpopulation could cause human extinction - is 100% false.

The weaker version - that it could make life unpleasant in some countries - is true. But I don’t think it’s at the top of any list of things to worry about.

1: Declining Birth Rates Won’t Drive Humans Extinct, Come On

Not only are we not going to go extinct because of underpopulation, population is going to continue to rise for the next 80 years.

Although growth rate may hit zero a little after 2100, it will be centuries before the human population gets any lower than it is today - if it ever does.

This is mostly because of sub-Saharan Africa (especially Nigeria) where birth rates remain very high. Although these are going down, in some cases faster than expected, current best projections say they will stay high enough to keep population growing for the rest of the century.

2: Immigrant-Friendly Countries Will Keep Growing

Here are Our World In Data’s projections for US and UK populations: