Oh, give me land, lots of land...

- Cole Porter, Don't Fence Me In

The earth has 57,308,738 square miles of land mass, including Antarctica, the Sahara, and other uninhabitable and/or non-arable land...

...multiplied by 640 acres/square mile...

...divided by 6,000,000,000 people...

Equals a mere 6.11 acres of land per person.

Tell us again why the world desperately needs you to produce offspring?

It's only going to get worse...

YearProjected PopulationLand / Person
2000 6,082,966,429 6.03 acres
20066,500,000,000 5.64 acres
2010 6,848,932,929 5.36 acres
2020 7,584,821,144 4.84 acres
2030 8,246,619,341 4.45 acres
2040 8,850,045,889 4.14 acres
2050 9,346,399,468 3.92 acres

Figures from Information Please Almanac.

FAQ

Oh, but the first world isn't nearly that crowded!

The U.S. has 3,761,363 square miles of land mass...

...multiplied by 640 acres/square mile...

...divided by 281,400,000 people...

Equals a mere 8.55 acres of land per person.

Yes, this is higher than the world average. Lucky us. But consider that in 1990 the U.S. population was "only" 248.7 million. Ten-year-old children in 2000 each had over an acre less room to roam than they did when they were born. Happy birthday, kids!

Six acres doesn't sound so bad. I don't own that much property now.

That's six acres total. Not just the land you own personally, but the land used to grow the food you eat, for any public facilities you use, and for any nature preserves you'd like to keep. If that's still not small enough for you, just wait. It will get smaller.

"No man is an island"—Much as we may feel and act as individuals, our race is a single organism, always growing and branching—which must be pruned regularly to be healthy. This necessity need not be argued; anyone with eyes can see that any organism which grows without limit always dies in it's own poisons. The only rational question is whether pruning is best done before or after birth.

- Robert A. Heinlein

(More quotes)

Won't science solve the problem?

Science may be able to provide virtually unlimited amounts of food and energy through technologies like genetic engineering and nuclear fusion, but even science can't make the earth larger. If we don't want to end up living like rats in cages, we'll have to moderate our breeding practices. Fortunately, science has found the solution to that problem. It's called birth control.

What about space travel?

I believe we're on the verge of a new space age, but even relatively cheap single-stage-to-orbit vehicles will never be able to keep up with the pace of unchecked human reproduction.

Do you want the human race to become extinct?

No. As a human myself, I'm rather fond of the race. Overpopulation brings with it war, plague, and famine. Our numbers will be kept in check. I'd just prefer to do it the easy way.

Isn't refusing to have children selfish?

Besides not adding to the burgeoning population, the childfree pay more taxes, they support schools and welfare services they will never have to use, they have more disposable income to give to charity, and they take up the slack in the workplace when parents have to go to soccer games or bail their kids out of jail.

"A woman who is committed to being a mother will learn to love any baby, whether it's her own or not; a woman not committed to or prepared for being a mother may well not be prepared to love any baby, not even her own."

- Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, author of Mother Nature: A History of Mothers, Infants, and Natural Selection

(More quotes)

But what if I want someone to love?

Great! There are thousands of children waiting to be adopted into loving homes.

But adoption a long, expensive, and difficult process!

Sounds like perfect practice for parenthood. If you can't handle those difficulties before you have kids, what makes you think you'll be qualified to handle them afterward?

Population control & childfree links

You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car—hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they'll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father.

- Keanu Reeves, Parenthood

(More quotes)

The truth about breeding


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