Wednesday, October 20, 2021
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Nicholas Eberstadt: “In theory, it should be perfectly possible for a modern society not only to maintain prosperity but to increase it steadily in the face of pervasive population aging and demo­graphic stagnation or depopulation. Whether the United States can in practice continue to flourish in the face of such trends is another question. The formula by which the U.S. ascended to its current status of the world’s wealthiest society and sole superpower was predicated on over two centuries of continuous and exceptional population growth, unique among Western countries in tempo and scale.”

“Today, America’s population is two and a half times larger than on the eve of World War II (1940), three and a half times larger than in the lead-up to World War I (1910), ten times larger than just before the Civil War (1860), and 300 million persons more populous than that antebellum nation.”

“But that old familiar formula is in trouble today. It is no longer clear that the U.S. can count on indefinite geometric population growth to power its way into the future. Sooner or later, continuing American population growth of any kind may not be in the cards, either.”

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