With year-end and decade-end US population estimates released, Ponzi demographics are again appearing in news headlines, economic reports and investment commentary across the country.
The basic message that the proponents of Ponzi’s demographics want to swallow is: economic growth requires population growth. But like all pyramid schemes, Ponzi demographics is a scam.
Self-interest, including many market economists, investment advisers, business leaders, and even political opportunists returned to resonance alarm bells more than reported a decline in US population growth.
The latest headlines include, “The American population growth slows down creeps “,” the US population smallest growth in at least 120 years “and” the US is racing for the slowest growth since the Spanish Flu and the economy impact already proven. ” Others stressed that the 2020 US population projections are likely to close the slowest decade of population growth in the country’s history.
The high mortality rate is alarming. The woman who gives birth to more children than she wants is really worrying. The high rates of illegal immigration and trafficking in persons are alarming. But slower US population growth is not a cause for concern.
Although often disguised in economic jargon and accounting spreadsheets coupled with fears of financial decline, the Ponzi demographics are essentially pyramid schemes that aim to make more money for some by adding more people through population growth (i.e., natural increases and immigration).
The strategy underlying Ponzi’s demographics is straightforward: privatizing profits and disseminating costs arising from increased population growth.
Population growth is simply the result of births minus deaths plus net migration. To better understand trends in US population growth, it is helpful to briefly consider each of the three demographic components.
Although far from the leading position, Italy, Japan and Switzerland have reached that difference, the American average life expectancy at birth has increased by more than 10 years since the middle of the 20th century (ie, from 68 years in 1950 to about 79 years).
However, when mortality increases suddenly, as happened during the Coronavirus pandemic, ringing the warning bells is definitely justified.
With approx 360,000 COVID-19 deaths in the US – far more than in any other country and about 20 percent of the world’s total – are thought the coronavirus may have minus The average American life expectancy at birth is a year or more.
Regarding births, US fertility is below the replacement rate of 2.1 births per woman as is the case in every developed country and many developing countries, including China. In 2018, American fertility dropped to a record low 1.7 births per woman.
Many of the forces pushing US fertility below the replacement level are too strong for governments, the private sector, and other institutions to overcome. In short, men with economic, political and social power were unable to persuade American women to bear more children than they did desired, resulting in a lower replacement fertility rate.
In addition to efforts to increase low fertility, Ponzi demographics also rely on immigration, including migration without permits, for additional population growth to boost profits. The standard slogan in the campaign is “the country desperately needs increased immigration,” even when unemployment is high.
Immigration to the US is the highest in the world. With countries receiving more than 1 million immigrants every year, the total number of immigrants in the country is estimated to have reached 45 million. The number represents about 14 percent of the total population, nearly tripling the share of 5 percent in 1970 and approaching a record high of 15 percent in 1890.
Taking fertility, mortality and migration into account, the US population has been increasing since its inception. American residents have increased every decade since the first census in 1790, exceeding 50 million in 1880, 100 million in 1920, 200 million in 1970 and 300 million in 2010.
During the 21st century, America population increases of 10 percent in the first decade and is projected to increase by 8 percent between 2010 and 2020, from 309 million to 333 million.
The American population is projected to continue to grow, reaching more than 400 million in 2060. Some would like to see America’s population get bigger than projected figures, maybe even reach 1 billion, an outcome that is unlikely in the future.
Ponzi demographers avoid answering questions about how long America’s population should continue to grow. The reason for this is largely because they want the high rate of US population growth to go beyond the foreseeable future.
When faced with environmental problems such as climate change, global warming, environmental pollution, pollution or shortage of water and other important natural resources, Ponzi demographers usually dismiss these concerns as alarmists or argue that they should be addressed by a growing population.
Ponzi’s demographic advocacy for higher population growth for America was ultimately unsustainable. Higher population growth will hinder efforts to improve the quality of life for Americans today and for future generations.
In short, slower US population growth is not a cause for concern. Move gradually towards population stabilization, as recommended over 50 years ago by US Commission on Population and the American Future, is not a panacea for America’s problems. However, this will make it easier to address problems such as climate change, environmental degradation, poverty, homelessness, extreme socio-economic inequality and human rights abuses.
Joseph Chamie is an independent consultant demographer, former director of the United Nations Population Division and author of numerous publications on population issues, including international migration, fertility, mortality, growth, gender and aging.