U.S. Fertility Rates Fall, Population Numbers Grow Larger and CO2 Levels Continue to Rise

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NPG Paper Reports That the U.S. Population Growth Continues to Grow and Environmental Damage Remains a Constant Threat as CO2 Levels Continue to Rise

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While we should rejoice declining birthrates as beneficial to the long-term sustainability of our nation, we must recognize that immigration plays a pivotal role in our ability to truly turn the tide on climate change.

Negative Population Growth, Inc. has released the newest addition to their NPG Forum paper series. U.S. fertility rates are currently below replacement level but climate change continues to be a challenge. This paper, written by Edwin S. Rubenstein, titled Human Fertility and Climate Change studies the relationship between today’s plunging birthrates and global warming. Rubenstein states: “…U.S. population is projected to increase steadily through 2050… The reason? Immigration.” While we should rejoice declining birthrates as beneficial to the long-term sustainability of our nation, we must recognize that immigration plays a pivotal role in our ability to truly turn the tide on climate change.

“Fertility rates tend to fall during hard economic times, as people postpone having babies, and then rise as the economy recovers.” Rubenstein notes, while discussing that U.S. fertility rates are below the 2.1 replacement rate and have been for over 25 years. Adding to the scenario, Rubenstein considers the noteworthy increase of global temperatures, saying: “Since the 1960s each decade has been warmer than the previous one, by significant amounts. This trend is driven mainly by emissions of CO₂ and other heat-trapping emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.”

Leaning into the dangers of air pollution, Rubenstein brings the vulnerability of children into the conversation, stating: “Infants who survive the trauma of birth face a lifetime of health issues related to climate change.” He also observes that air pollution, in general, “killed 7 million people worldwide in 2016…more than half of these deaths are estimated to be from household air pollution, mainly from coal, wood, charcoal, and biomass, used for cooking.” Gathering the facts together, Rubenstein takes a look at a small movement of young adults choosing not to bear children — ultimately surmising: “A zero-child pledge is a luxury that most people on this Earth simply cannot afford…(and) even a universal one-child policy, imposed immediately in all countries would not prevent global population from rising significantly by 2100.”

He goes on to use China’s one child policy as an example of how government controlled family planning can go awry, explaining: “While many countries — including our own — are struggling with low fertility rates and aging populations, these issues are more pressing in China, because the country’s underdeveloped social safety net means that most older adults rely heavily on their families to pay for healthcare, retirement and other expenses…Making matters worse, China’s main state pension fund, which relies on tax revenues from its work force, could run out of money by 2035.” Rubenstein highlights that for China and the U.S., fertility rates have been below replacement level for decades and that the biggest difference — when it comes to population growth — is immigration, saying: “China is a country of mass emigration. Historically, we (U.S.) have been a country of mass immigration.”

Looking towards the future, Rubenstein echoes NPG’s belief that policies on migration and human fertility would bring our population down to a more viable level, saying: “a world population of 1.5 to 2 billion is needed for long-term sustainability.” Adding the earth’s rising temperatures into the equation, Rubenstein concludes that for the U.S. to get ahead of continued immigration-based population growth and climate change we must make a concerted effort to, over the course of many years, reduce our population numbers, writing: “A sustained period of negative net immigration would enable U.S. population to eventually shrink. As the world’s largest per capita CO₂ emitter, this would be a milestone in the war against global warming.”

Founded in 1972, NPG is a national nonprofit membership organization dedicated to educating the American public and political leaders regarding the damaging effects of population growth. We believe that our nation is already vastly overpopulated in terms of the long-range carrying capacity of its resources and environment. NPG advocates the adoption of its Proposed National Population Policy, with the goal of eventually stabilizing U.S. population at a sustainable level – far lower than today’s. We do not simply identify the problems – we propose solutions. For more information, visit our website at http://www.NPG.org, follow us on Facebook @NegativePopulationGrowth or follow us on Twitter @npg_org.

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Craig Lewis
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