Elon Musk Says Everyone Should Have 'At Least 3 Children' To Save The Human Race — But Studies Show It Costs Up $430,928 To Raise A Kid

Elon Musk recently spoke at the Milken Institute's 27th annual Global Conference, held from May 6 to 8, 2024. During his conversation with Michael Milken, the conference's founder, Musk tackled a topic he's quite passionate about — the declining birthrates in the U.S. and what that might mean in the future.

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Musk pointed out that demographics are slow-moving ships. "You can look at the demographics; it's a slow-moving ship. I mean, you know who's going to be an adult in 20 years based on who was born last year." He stressed that current birthrates are crucial to predicting future populations, and the trend isn't good.

He explained that birthrates are not just dropping but accelerating downward. Musk warned, "The second derivative of the fertility rate is very bad," which means the rate of decline is speeding up. This could lead to a future where civilization "potentially dies not with a bang but with a whimper in adult diapers."

Musk highlighted that this issue is global, not just confined to the U.S. For instance, South Korea, which once had a birthrate of six, now has a rate closer to 0.75. In a humorous moment during the session, a message flashed on the screen saying, "Elon, come pick me up. I'll give you a baby." It drew laughter, and Musk, mixing humor with seriousness, encouraged everyone to have "at least three children."

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Historically, even prosperous ancient civilizations like Rome and Greece faced similar issues with declining birthrates. Musk noted, "Around 50 BC, Rome passed a bill to give a bonus to any Roman citizen that would have a third child." 

So why aren't people having more kids today? In 2023, the typical American family had an average of 1.94 children under 18, down from 2.33 in 1960. The reasons are varied and complex. One significant factor is the cost. Raising a child today is expensive. The Institute for Family Studies reports that the price ranges from $202,248 to $430,928 per child. These financial pressures make many potential parents think twice.

Moreover, improvements in health care and women’s education have also contributed to declining birthrates. In 1900, half of the children died before the age of five. Today, with better health care, more children survive, which historically has led to smaller family sizes. Women’s education has also been linked to lower birthrates, as more women choose to pursue careers and education before starting families.

When asked what gives him joy and what keeps him up at night, Musk shared, "I think kids give me joy. I probably get the most joy from my kids." However, his concerns about the future of civilization, particularly declining birthrates, keep him awake. He also worries about threats to democracy and the erosion of merit-based systems.

Musk revealed that he listens to podcasts about the fall of civilizations to help him sleep, mentioning "Fall of Civilizations" and "Hardcore History" as his go-to choices.

In the end, Musk's message was clear: the future of civilization hinges on our decisions about family and population today. The declining birthrates pose a significant risk, and addressing this issue is crucial for a thriving future.

Financial planning is crucial for a secure future, whether you’re already raising a family or have yet to decide on having children. Regardless of family size preferences, consulting a financial advisor can be valuable. They can help you assess your financial goals, create a budget that aligns with your needs, and ensure you’re on track to achieve them.

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