The American Enterprise Institute explains the top 5 myths about overpopulation

The American Enterprise Institute lists 5 big myths about overpopulation.

They are:

  1. The world is overpopulated.
  2. Rapid population growth keeps poor countries poor.
  3. For all its ethical problems, China’s one-child policy boosts its economy.
  4. If your population declines, your economy does, too.
  5. The world will have 10 billion people by 2100.

Number 2 is the one I liked best:

In 1960, South Korea and Taiwan were poor countries with fast-growing populations. Over the two decades that followed, South Korea’s population surged by about 50 percent, and Taiwan’s by about 65 percent. Yet, income increased in both places, too: Between 1960 and 1980, per capita economic growth averaged 6.2 percent in South Korea and 7 percent in Taiwan.

Clearly, rapid population growth did not preclude an economic boom in those two Asian “tigers” — and their experience underscores that of the world as a whole. Between 1900 and 2000, as the planet’s population was exploding, per capita income grew faster than ever before, rising nearly fivefold, by the reckoning of economic historian Angus Maddison . And for much of the last century, the countries with faster economic growth tended to be the ones where population was growing most rapidly, too.

Today, the fastest population growth is found in so-called failed states, where poverty is worst. But it’s not clear that population growth is their central problem: With physical security, better policies and greater investments in health and education, there is no reason that fragile states could not enjoy sustained improvements in income.

This is a good post to read and store away, because what I’ve found is that fears of overpopulation is underneath many of policies pushed by the left, from abortion, to government regulation of production, to government regulation of consumption. I’m not entirely sure why this fear exists, but I know it’s there for many secular leftists. It’s not rational, it’s not supported by evidence, but it’s there and it animates much of their political agenda.

3 thoughts on “The American Enterprise Institute explains the top 5 myths about overpopulation”

  1. For everyone who wants to do more research on the subject (and everyone should), the above information and more cartoons like the one posted above can be found at

    They have a new video addressing the fact that we just hit 7 billion and what that means, and how the population is going to peak and start declining to where in 75 years we will actually be at 7 billion again.

    WK is right that this is underneath many, if not all of the policies pushed by the left. If we could understand that David Suzuki and the “green movement” came out of the Club of Rome which has controlling population as their main objective, we would understand what it means everytime the left uses the word sustainable.

    The left wants to control and distribute everything, not just Wall Street’s capital. Their obsession with the population numbers means that they want to control food and resource distribution as well. They imagine a world where everyone gets their fair share, which basically means they decide how many people get to come to the table. This is why abortion and euthanasia are so high on the agenda as a means to control and limit government spending on social programs. The social programs are necessary in their minds, the people..not so much.


  2. The myth of China clearly demonstrates the danger of a utilitarian ethic. If you want an economic boom, some people are just going to have to live with a little doom. But I would furthermore argue that China is a paper tiger and their economy will experience a major downturn in the very near future. Their one-child policy is a failure on both moral and economic levels; they destroy the image of God and wipe out future producers of goods and wealth. Gosh, that sounds a lot like the United States.


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