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We Don’t Need More Babies (February 2022)

My interest in population policy began in my senior year in college. The Washington Post published an article (click here to read) and below is my letter to the Editor.

A recent editorial decried the slow rate of population growth in the USA recently reported by the Census Bureau and declared: “National policy should promote vigorous population expansion” (“The U.S. needs more immigrants and more babies”, February 7). You do your readers a disservice on this issue by not specifying the population size to be achieved through policies. The U.S. population grew from roughly 130 million in 1941 (when I was born) to roughly 330 million today, two and a half times bigger. Are you advocating policies that will maintain the same growth rate over the next 80 years, reaching a population size of roughly 830 million? If not, what is the optimum population size in the year 2100 or any intermediate year that policies should aim for, optimum in the sense of providing the most well-being for your grandchildren and mine? Please don’t ignore climate change. How do you square adding 500 million Americans to Planet Earth with the existential threat of global warming? As I imagine the years ahead, I believe my grandchildren will be better off in a United States with a bit fewer than 330 million residents. There are immigration and social policies that could stabilize our population at 300 million, for example.


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