It Isn’t Low Birthrates That We Should Be Concerned About

Stop blaming women, and recognize the economic crisis making motherhood unaffordable.

Sarah Olson Michel
4 min readMay 5, 2023
Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash

Falling birthrates have a number of people concerned for the future of society. According to Elon Musk, doom awaits us if we don’t work on remedying this: “If people don’t have more children, civilization is going to crumble.”

Some “elite couples” from Silicon Valley have even set out to somehow solve the problem themselves, selectively engineering their pairings and genetics to produce seemingly advanced offspring. Of course, the best thing they’ve produced so far has actually been the hilarious memes mocking the effort.

Where the concern really lies is in the fact that a falling birthrate means a dwindling workforce. Musk emphasizes this issue whenever he goes off on his pronatalist rants. Without a healthy workforce, capitalism itself is threatened — and then how will the billionaires make their billions off the backs of the working class?

But while many thought leaders like Musk are pointing to “making more babies” as the solution, few seem to actually be acknowledging the problem: the reason that the birth rate has fallen in the first place. Ask any childless person in their thirties and they’ll tell you — it’s simply