The richest man on Earth is in a panic after claiming that populations could collapse. Mr Musk, also the boss of aerospace company SpaceX, took to social media to vent his fears. He posted on Twitter: “We should be much more worried about population collapse. “UN projections are utter nonsense. “If there aren’t enough people for Earth, then there definitely won’t be enough for Mars.” It comes after the SpaceX boss has been drafting up a master plan to colonise the Red Planet.
Mr Musk said in December that he was “highly confident” that SpaceX will land humans on Mars by 2026.
He added: “The important thing is that we establish Mars as a self-sustaining civilization.”
That tone appears to have changed after his doomsday warning.
The tech genius shared several studies that suggested populations were plummeting.
Researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation showed the global fertility rate nearly halved to 2.4 in 2017.
The fertility rate is the average number of children a woman gives birth to.
If the number drops below around 2.1, this means the size of the population starts to fall.
The University of Washington researchers projected that fertility rates will fall below 1.7 by 2100.
And 23 countries, including Spain, Italy, Japan and Portugal, are expected to see their population more than halved.
Prof Christopher Murray told the BBC that this is “jaw-dropping”.
And that is not the only alarming study Mr Musk shared with his nearly 80 million followers.
He also posted about a federal U.S. report which showed the country’s population dropped by four percent in 2020 compared with the previous year.
The general fertility rate was 55.8 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, which marked a record low.
The National Center for Health Statistics said: “This is the sixth consecutive year that the number of births has declined after an increase in 2014, down an average of 2 percent per year, and the lowest number of births since 1979.
But while declining birth rates might be bad news for Mr Musk, they might not necessarily be bad news for life on Earth.
A study led by demographer Ron Lee of the University of California showed that living standards are boosted when the fertility rate drops.
His study found that GDP per person is highest when the fertility falls just below replacement level (around 2.1 births per woman) – to 1.6 or even less.
But when fertility is either much higher or much lower than that, quality of life dips again, according to Mr Lee.