Billionaire Elon Musk has a simple message for Italy and other countries around the world who have reported falling birthrates in recent years: have more babies or face extinction.
Musk, who has repeatedly expressed his fear that population declines are among the biggest threats to humanity’s long-term survival, noted that Italy has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, according to data from the World Bank.
Musk expanded on his point in response to a tweet from cybersecurity researcher Andrea Stroppa, who tweeted a chart from the Italian National Institute of Statistics which showed birthrates in the county have steadily fallen since the 1960s.
“Italy will have no people if these trends continue,” Musk said.
Musk also shared a Wall Street Journal chart showing a “fertility slump” within the US, with data showing the country has remained below a “replacement level” by total fertility rate since the 1970s.
“USA birth rate has been below min sustainable levels for ~50 years,” Musk tweeted.
“Contrary to what many think, the richer someone is, the fewer kids they have,” he added. “I am a rare exception. Most people I know have zero or one kid.”
Musk sounded the alarm about falling birthrates as recently as March. When an interviewer asked the Tesla CEO to reveal his “biggest fear,” Musk said humanity’s falling birthrate was “troubling [him] for many years.”
“I spent a lot of time talking about the birthrate thing,” Musk said in an interview with the Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner. “That might be the single biggest threat to the future of human civilization.”
“Most people in the world are operating under the false impression that we’ve got too many people. This is not true. The birth rate has been dropping like crazy,” Musk added later in the interview. “Unfortunately, we have these ridiculous population estimates from the [United Nations] that need to be updated because they just don’t make any sense.”
Musk identified two other top existential threats to humanity: the possibility of “artificial intelligence going wrong” and the rise of what he called “religious extremism.”
Meanwhile, Musk may find some solace in the most recent trends within the United States.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics revealed this week that US birth rates increased in 2021 for the first time in seven years, ticking upward by 1%.