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Elon Musk has been warning about population decline and smaller families for years. In his 2015 biography, he’s quoted as saying, “if each successive generation of smart people has fewer kids, that’s probably bad.” Musk is explicit that “smart” people need to be having more kids — he has nine living children, that we know of — but doesn’t go so far as to say that other people should be having fewer. After all, he does want the population to grow.

One of the problems with his narrative is that the global population is growing — it hit 8 billion people last year — as is the US population, though the rates of growth are slowing. Musk, however, acts as though we’re already in a state of decline, which suggests he’s more concerned with the growth rate of particular segments of the population than the population as a whole — as his concern about the procreation of “smart” people suggests.

Almost as long as Musk has been talking about this, there have been questions about how those concerns were reflected...