At a Wall Street Journal event on Dec. 7, Elon Musk, who was named Time’s 2021 Person of the Year, told the crowd that he believes people aren’t having enough kids. Musk, who is the CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, is certainly doing his part: He is the father of twins Griffin and Xavier, 17, and triplets Damian, Kai, and Saxon, 15, with ex Justine Musk, as well as son X Æ A-Xii (pronounced “X Ash A Twelve”) with ex-girlfriend Grimes.
During the event, Musk said, “There are not enough people. I can’t emphasize this enough, there are not enough people.”
He referenced many “good, smart people” not wanting to have kids. According to a 2021 study by the Pew Research Center, 44 percent of non-parent adults in the U.S. say they are unlikely to ever have children with reasons ranging from “concerns about climate change and the environment” to just not wanting kids.
During his WSJ appearance, Musk argued that overpopulation argument isn’t the reason. “It’s completely the opposite,“ he said adding, “If people don’t have more children, civilization is going to crumble. Mark my words.”
In May 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report showing that the provisional number of U.S. births in 2020 was down 4 percent from 2019, with the general fertility rate at 55.8 births per 1,000 women aged 15-44, which was a record low for the nation.
There are many reasons why a declining birth rate can be bad for the earth and society, including reducing population sizes at a faster rate and shrinking labor forces, which can lead to economic decline. Per an article in the New York Times, the pandemic may have contributed to the declining birth rate, as “births tend to dip after economic crises, as women put off having babies because of uncertainty with jobs and income.” However, the declining birth rate could also be a sign that women have more choices when it comes to pregnancy — and they are simply choosing not to be parents right now.
Perhaps if all kids were as cute as Musk’s latest baby, whom his parents sometimes refer to as “Little X,” it might be an easier decision to procreate! On December 13, Musk brought his youngest son on stage during the Time event in New York City to celebrate his honorary title, according to a video shared on Twitter by Marc Benioff, the owner of Time Magazine. The video showed the crowd “aww”-ing at the rare sight of the toddler, who sat a bit restlessly on his dad’s lap in pictures also shared by Benioff.