F.A.Q.

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1.   What is NPG?
2.   What is overpopulation?
3.   What does “negative” population growth mean?
4.   Why is population growth a problem in the United States?
5.   What size does NPG believe America should be? What about the world?
6.   What does NPG propose as a solution to the problem of U.S. population growth?
7.   Is NPG in favor of a mandatory one-child family size, like in China?
8.   Isn’t growth what keeps the U.S. strong? Will America be taking a risk to get smaller?
9.   Doesn’t America’s economy depend on population growth?
10.   Isn’t technology solving the problems created by U.S. population growth?
11.   Won’t “smart growth” plans accommodate America’s increasing numbers?
12.   Could the U.S. negate the results of population growth by reducing consumption?
13.   What does immigration have to do with America’s population growth?
14.   Isn’t the United States a nation of immigrants?
15.   Is opposition to immigration rooted in racism?
16.   Isn’t it a bigger problem that the U.S. will soon have too few working citizens to support the elderly and our nation’s Social Security program?
17.   Haven’t food and basic commodities gotten cheaper because America’s population has grown? Why should Americans worry about resource scarcities?
18.   U.S. population is growing at approximately 1 percent per year. Why should Americans be concerned about such a small rate of growth?
19.   Sure, certain cities have become pretty crowded. But what about areas in the U.S. that remain rural and have very low population sizes? Doesn’t it all balance out?
     

1. What is NPG?

Negative Population Growth, Inc. (NPG) is a national non-profit membership organization.  NPG’s primary purpose is to educate American citizens and legislators regarding the damaging effects of population growth.  Our goal is to slow, halt, and eventually reverse U.S. population growth until America reaches an optimum level – a population size where our nation is self-sustaining with its own resources and we do not destroy our environment.

2. What is overpopulation?

Overpopulation occurs when an area is populated too heavily for its available resources and the capacity of its environment.  When an area is overpopulated, its population cannot be maintained without destroying nonrenewable resources and affecting the carrying capacity of the environment (the earth’s ability to support current and future inhabitants).

People require more land than just the land they’re standing on – they need land for raising food, producing oil and filtering water, recreation and entertainment, shopping, transportation, waste handling, and much more.  The problem of overpopulation isn’t how many people can “fit” into a given area.  It’s about finding and maintaining an ideal population size – before resources and quality of life are destroyed.

3. What does “negative” population growth mean?

When a population grows, its growth rate is a positive number (greater than 0).  A negative growth rate (less than 0) would mean a population size gets smaller, reducing the number of people inhabiting that country.

4. Why is population growth a problem in the United States?

The U.S. Census Bureau shows that America grew by nearly 10 percent between 2000 and 2010 (an increase of over 27 million people), and by 72 percent since 1950!

The consequences of this growth are present all across America:  vanishing open spaces, water scarcity and drought, soil erosion, air pollution, high unemployment, crumbling infrastructure and rising taxes, overcrowded schools and hospitals, urban sprawl, and traffic congestion.

At 320 million people, our nation’s population is already well over its carrying capacity – and recent Census Bureau projections say the U.S. could grow to over 400 million people by 2050.  That’s another 80 million people to feed, clothe, educate, employ, and house.

5. What size does NPG believe America should be?  What about the world?

NPG has surveyed scientists for over 40 years to determine an optimum U.S. population size – a level that is within the environment’s carrying capacity and preserves its integrity for future generations.

The consensus is that 150-200 million people would be an ideal population size for America (approximately the population size in 1960).  According to the Census Bureau, our nation’s population is currently estimated at over 320 million people – roughly double its ideal size.

Considering food production, global warming, chemicals and pollution, labor and wages, crowding, and disease, NPG believes that a world population size of 2-3 billion would be optimum (the current estimated global population is over 7.2 billion).  This lowered population size would lessen the load that human activity imposes on the biosphere, ensuring an enjoyable and sustainable quality of life.

6. What does NPG propose as a solution to the problem of U.S. population growth?

NPG offers a solid solution to the damaging effects of our nation’s population growth.   Our 10 Principles for a Responsible U.S. Population Policy lays out step-by-step guidelines for America to slow, halt, and eventually reverse population growth until our nation reaches a lower size that is truly sustainable – approximately 150 to 200 million people.  This will help ensure a stable future for our natural resources, environment, economy, and improve the overall quality of life for our children and grandchildren.

7. Is NPG in favor of a mandatory one-child family size, like in China?

Absolutely not.  NPG believes that each family should make its own personal decision on the number of children to have.  We also believe that individuals should be well-educated on the facts about population growth and how family size contributes to our overall population levels.  Americans should be given easy access to family planning resources and contraception in order to make their decision.

The U.S. could achieve a smaller, more sustainable fertility rate through a combination of social leadership, education, and non-coercive incentives for smaller families (such as tax credits).  NPG does not endorse any penalty system for larger families.

8. Isn’t growth what keeps the U.S. strong?  Will America be taking a risk to get smaller?

Generations ago, when America’s population size was much lower than our environment’s carrying capacity, the pro-growth mentality was appropriate.  At that time, we needed more people to fill our nation’s needs.  However, that time has passed.

Today, the U.S. population level is at more than double what our environment can sustain.  Our natural resources are depleted, our environment is heavily damaged, and our infrastructure is straining under the burden of overpopulation.  It is no longer the population size of our country, but its sustainability, that will determine our strength.

9. Doesn’t America’s economy depend on population growth?

Population growth benefits business interests, since it means more development.  But as an area becomes more populated, its infrastructure starts straining under the weight of the new people who must be served.  Existing police forces, housing, buses, hospitals, and bridges no longer satisfy the demands of a growing population.  Farmland and forests are sacrificed for strip-malls and housing developments.

As more schools, sanitation systems, roads, libraries, and water services must be built, growth no longer lowers the average cost of services – it begins to increase them.  When this point is reached, growth increases the tax burden on communities; the revenue brought in by new growth is outweighed by the cost that growth creates.  Meanwhile, congestion and crowding increase, pollution levels rise, and quality of life deteriorates.

10. Isn’t technology solving the problems created by U.S. population growth?

Despite technological advancements, human numbers will ultimately overwhelm our environment.  America will eventually run out of finite resources, such as space and water.  Even the CIA has commented on the issue, predicting in its “Global Trends 2015” report that parts of the U.S. will experience water shortages by 2015.  The report stated that technological strategies (water conservation, expanded use of desalinization, developing genetically-modified crops that use less water or more saline water, and importing water) “will not be sufficient to substantially change the outlook for water shortages in 2015.”  As much of our nation –  particularly in the west – has faced severe drought, these predictions were accurate.

Many other highly-anticipated “solutions,” such as corn ethanol and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), have also come up short.  Drought and crop devastation have made the production of corn ethanol cost-prohibitive, and the low yield of fracking compared to its high cost and level of environmental destruction has proven it impractical and unethical.  When it comes to oil, no laboratory has ever reduced the most important factor:  time.  Oil deposits take millions of years to develop.  Technology is simply incapable of replacing the resources produced gradually by nature.

 

11. Won’t “smart growth” plans accommodate America’s increasing numbers?

Rather than packing more and more people into more and more crowded areas, the United States needs to tackle the problem at its source:  an ever-growing population.  When populations continue to expand, communities must find places to house, educate, and employ new residents.  Thus, even the best-intentioned smart growth efforts will eventually run up against population pressures.

12. Could the U.S. negate the results of population growth by reducing consumption?

Increasing our population inevitably means increasing consumption.  Every new person consumes resources, takes up space, and disposes of waste products.  Even if we can reduce consumption by half, no progress can be achieved if we allow the population to grow.

13. What does immigration have to do with America’s population growth?

Studies have shown that over 80% of U.S. population growth between 2005 and 2050 will be a direct result of immigration – legal, illegal, and the U.S.-born children of immigrants.  That rate is expected to be even higher in the years to come.  Our country’s resources must be preserved in order to sustain its existing population.  Presently, America is at double the number of people its environment can accommodate.

The U.S. must reduce its population so that existing citizens can enjoy a stable quality of life, and ensure that future generations experience America at its best.  Before we open our doors to millions more people, we must first resolve our own crises.  If we do not, there will be nothing left to offer.

14. Isn’t the United States a nation of immigrants?

Immigration levels today are far higher than traditional and historical levels.  In the mid-1950s, U.S. immigration levels were less than one-third of those today.  Additionally, America is now a very different country than in years past.  We’ve settled the last frontiers and open space is no longer ample.  Population growth leads to diminishing farmlands and otherwise harms the environment.  The choice to reduce immigration is not about ignoring history, but about protecting our future for generations to come.

15. Is opposition to immigration rooted in racism?

Immigration (as it relates to population growth) is simply about numbers – not race, ethnicity, skin color, or nation of origin.  It is not racist to question what continued population growth will mean for America’s resources and environment.

NPG strongly condemns racism in all its forms.  But we also condemn any agenda designed to prevent open, honest public discussion about issues so vital to all Americans.  Immigration policy must be designed within the framework of overall U.S. population goals.

16. Isn’t it a bigger problem that the U.S. will soon have too few working citizens to support the elderly and our nation’s Social Security program?

This is definitely a problem, but not for the U.S.  This is more an issue in Europe and Japan.  There, fertility decline is leading to smaller populations.  This offers those countries an opportunity to determine what population size is best for them.  In America, however, there are sufficient working-age citizens to accommodate our aging population.

There is no denying that Social Security’s viability requires some tough decisions.  But continued growth would not solve America’s Social Security problem – and that growth would come at an enormous cost in resource depletion and environmental damage.  Instead, we should view the aging of America as an opportunity to begin transitioning to sustainability.

17. Haven’t food and basic commodities gotten cheaper because America’s population has grown?  Why should Americans worry about resource scarcities?

Initially, yes – the cost of food and basic needs were dropping.  However, in recent years, this trend has changed.  As a result of climate change, fierce storms and devastating droughts have destroyed millions of dollars of produce and caused skyrocketing prices.  Population growth is directly linked to climate change!  Also, in order to produce the greater quantities of food needed to satisfy America’s expanding population, our lands have been deforested and overgrazed, agricultural runoff has poisoned our rivers and streams, and our soil has been eroded.

America has temporarily answered the scarcity issue by importing larger and larger quantities of resources from other nations.  However, as population growth continues around the world, those countries will no longer be able to accommodate U.S. demand.  Americans cannot continue to look to outside solutions – we must take the responsible steps towards self-sustaining policies!

18. U.S. population is growing at approximately 1 percent per year.  Why should Americans be concerned about such a small rate of growth?

Although an increase of “only” 1 percent may sound small, such a rate is monumental when talking about a population the size of the United States.  A 1 percent increase means roughly 3.2 million new people in a year (nearly the population of Los Angeles, CA) and over 32 million in a decade (approximately the entire 2010 state populations of New York, Maryland, and Virginia combined).

19. Sure, certain cities have become pretty crowded.  But what about areas in the U.S. that remain rural and have very low population sizes?  Doesn’t it all balance out?

Unfortunately not.  There are many geographical areas in America that enjoy plenty of open space.  However, sustainability is very different from “fitting” people into a given area.  Each inhabitant in the U.S. requires food, water, and energy, not to mention housing, roads, schools, hospitals, and employment.  There must be sufficient land for farming the crops and grazing the animals we will eat.  We require water for agricultural uses, human consumption, sewage treatment, cooling, etc.

Certain areas of the U.S. are unable to be used for any of these purposes.  Dry or desert lands, mountainous and rocky areas, and crowded cities are all unable to provide many of their own resources.  Other communities must produce sufficient quantities to provide for both their own use and those in areas of need.  This means that some environments are pulling “double duty” on their resources.  We must allow the environment some relief to replenish what we consume – it is up to us to lessen the burden by reducing the size of our population!