Billionaire Elon Musk has a simple message for Italy and other countries around the world that have reported declining birth rates in recent years: there are more children or are facing extinction.
Musk, who has repeatedly expressed his fear that population decline is the biggest threat to humanity’s long-term existence, said Italy has one of the lowest rate rates in the world, according to statistics from the World Bank.
Musk expanded his point of view in response to a tweet by cyber security researcher Andrea Stropa, who tweeted a chart from the Italian National Institute of Statistics showing birth rates in the county have been falling steadily since the 1960s.
“If these trends continue, there will be no people in Italy,” Musk said.
Musk also shared a Wall Street Journal chart showing “decreased fertility” within the US, showing that the country has remained below “replacement levels” of total fertility rates since the 1970s.
“The birth rate in the US has been below sustainable levels for at least 50 years,” Musk tweeted.
“Contrary to what many people think, the richer someone is, the fewer children they have,” he said. “I’m a rare exception. Most of the people I know have zero or one child.”
Musk sounded the alarm about a falling birth rate as recently as March. When an interviewer asked the Tesla CEO to reveal his “greatest fear”, Musk said humanity’s falling birth rate was “disturbing”. [him] for many years.”
“I spent a lot of time talking about birthdates,” Musk said in an interview with Axel Springer CEO Mathias Dofner. “It may be the greatest threat to the future of human civilization.”
“Most people in the world are operating under the misconception that we have too many people. That’s not true. The birth rate is falling like crazy,” Musk added later in the interview. “Unfortunately, we have these ridiculous population estimates [United Nations] Those that need to be updated because they make no sense.”
Musk identified two other top existential threats to humanity: the potential for “artificial intelligence to go wrong” and the rise of what he called “religious extremism.”
In the meantime, Musk may find some solace in the most recent trends in the United States.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics revealed this week that the birth rate in the US rose for the first time in seven years in 2021, ticking upwards of 1%.