PRI FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: What is the Population Research Institute?
PRI is a pro-life, anti-population control organization headquartered in the greater Washington, D.C. area. We have an office in Lima, Peru and work with pro-life activists around the United States and the world, particularly those associated with our project called Family Life International (FLI). Fr. Paul Marx, OSB, Ph.D., founded PRI in 1989 as part of Human Life International. We became an independent organization in 1996, and were closely affiliated with Fr. Marx until his death in 2010.
Q: What is the Mission of PRI?
Our mission is to document abuses of human rights in the name of population control; to make a case against the widely held, but fundamentally wrongheaded, development paradigm which places economic and population growth in opposition to each other; and to articulate the material and social benefits of moderate population growth.
We also pursue the agenda common to all truly pro-life organizations: against abortion, against euthanasia, in favor of traditional marriage, against artificial contraception, and in favor of family-friendly societies and economies, all of which are essential to maintaining healthy populations. PRI's specialty in the pro-life movement is the question of population.
Q: Who is the head of PRI?
Steve Mosher, the first person to document forced abortion in Communist China as part of her coercive population control program, is our president. We like to note that Steve is widely recognized as one of the world's leading authorities on the population question. His writings demonstrate that overpopulation is a myth, and that the efforts of population controllers to reduce human numbers have led to massive human rights abuses and undermined the health of women and children.
He witnessed the nightmare of population control when he was the first American social scientist to live in rural China in 1979-80. He saw pregnant women hunted down by population control police and subjected to forced abortion for violating China's one-child-per-family law.
Q: Does the world face overpopulation, as so many believe?
Not at all. The world's upcoming population problem is the opposite: Too few people, or underpopulation. Since the early 1970s, the world's fertility rate-the total number of children the average woman will bear in her lifetime-has gone from 6 to 2.45, and it continues to drop. Replacement rate fertility in the absence of major wars, epidemics, or famine is 2.1 children per woman. In the First World of Europe, North America, and Japan, cultural and economic changes opposed to family and children combined with effective forms of contraception and abortion have led to a catastrophic decline in fertility that will destroy most of those societies in the next few decades, if current trends continue. In the Third World, billions of dollars of population control funds combined with the encroaching materialistic and hedonistic values from the apostate Christian West have dramatically reduced fertility rates.
The world faces a shortage of labor to support its economies and, especially, to support its aging population. Worker-to-retiree ratios will drop sharply over the next few decades, raising the question of how all these old people will be supported. And, eventually, it will raise the question of how these countries will be populated.
Q: What countries face demographic destruction and why?
The once Catholic countries of Italy and Spain are particularly badly off, but all nations of Western Europe face extinction, as do Canada and Japan. Many other countries, such as the United States, may be only two decades behind. For example, the fertility rates of Italy and Spain hover slightly above 1 child per woman. The simple fact is, the Western world's countries are committing national suicide. Many of these nations are importing large numbers of immigrants in order to supply labor to their economies. These immigrants, particularly Muslim ones in Europe, are too many and too culturally different from their new countries' populations to assimilate quickly, and they are contributing to the cultural suicide of these nations as they commit demographic suicide.
Q: Don't many people disagree that Europe is Dying?
Not really. The exact figures are in dispute, but no one can plausibly deny that the populations of most Western nations are aging rapidly, that they are not having enough children to replace them, and that (with the possible exception of the United States) their immigrants are not assimilating well. If current trends continue, these nations will certainly collapse within a century at the latest. However, some people argue that current trends will not continue, that perhaps immigrants will assimilate, or that technology will solve the need for labor, or that Western women will start to have more children. Even such bastions of political correctness such as the United Nations Population Division (UNPD) forecast massive aging and drops in Western populations over the next half-century.
Q: What is the future birthrate and population of the world likely to be?
The UN Population Division makes three versions of each of its projections: low, medium, and high. In recent history, the low projections have usually been correct because the UN prefers to overstate population growth. But I will use the medium projections so that I cannot be accused of exaggerating based on my perspective. The UNPD projects that world fertility rate will drop to 2.05 children per woman by 2050. That means human beings will cease to have enough children to reproduce themselves. In other words, the continued existence of the human race will be threatened. "Fertility levels in the 44 developed countries, which account for 19 per cent of the world population, are currently very low," says the UNPD's 2004 World Population Prospects report. "All except Albania have fertility below replacement level and 15, mostly located in Southern and Eastern Europe, have reached levels of fertility unprecedented in human history (below 1.3 children per woman). Since 1990-1995, fertility decline has been the rule among most developed countries. The few increases recorded, such as those in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States, have been small."
Q:What is the effect of HIV/AIDS on populations, especially in Africa?
Not only are people choosing to have fewer children the world over, but AIDS has dramatically reduced population growth in some areas of the Third World. No one knows if a future epidemic disease may arise. Says the UNPD, "In Southern Africa, the region with the highest prevalence of [AIDS], life expectancy has fallen from 62 years in 1990-1995 to 48 years in 2000-2005, and is projected to decrease further to 43 years over the next decade before a slow recovery starts. As a consequence, population growth in the region is expected to stall between 2005 and 2020."
Q: What do we mean by, "population aging?"
As a consequence of the lack of children, a dramatic increase in the number of the aged will occur. "In developed countries, 20 per cent of today's population is aged 60 years or over and by 2050 that proportion is projected to be 32 per cent. The elderly population in developed countries has already surpassed the number of children (persons aged 0-14) and by 2050 there will be 2 elderly persons for every child," the UNPD reports. "In the developing world, the proportion of the population aged 60 or over is expected to rise from 8 per cent in 2005 to close to 20 per cent by 2050." Who is going to take care of all these old people? Who will pay their medical bills? Given the advance of the culture of death, mass euthanasia could be the solution.
Q: How fast will Europe's population decline?
The population of Europe's 47 nations is projected to decline from 728 million this year to 653 million in 2050 and that population will be much older than today's. Greater longetivity and immigration will prevent most nations' overall population figures from dropping too drastically, but at what cultural and social costs? Italy will go from 58 million to 51 million, France will go from 60 million to 63 million due to her large immigrant population, Spain will remain unchanged at 43 million, and Russia will go from 143 million to 112 million-and we at PRI consider these figures optimistic.
The UN has projected that if the original 15 European Union nations want to keep the same worker-to-retiree ratios they had in 1995 by 2050, they will have to increase their already high immigration rates by 15 times. In 2050, they would have to import half the world's annual population growth at a time when poorer countries will have become desperate to keep young people.
According to the UN's medium variant projection, overall world population will increase from 6.5 billon to 9.1 billion in 2050, and then shortly begin to decline. But the decline could begin as early as 2040.
Q: What is China's One-Child Policy?
China's Communist government still enforces its population control program on its 1.3 billion subjects with a vengeance. Imagine living in a country where it is illegal to have more than one or two children. Imagine the incredibly oppressive nature of such a policy, which affects every single family in the country. If any family exceeds its quota, fines ranging from half to ten times the average annual household income can be imposed, the husband and wife could lose their jobs, and medical or educational benefits may be withheld from the couple's children.
Isn't it odd to hear so little about this massive, systematic abuse of human rights from Western media organs, feminist groups, and organizations that claim to stand for reproductive choice such as International Planned Parenthood or the UN Population Fund?
Q: Are human rights abuses common in population control programs?
Many countries abuse human rights in the name of family planning or population control. In Mexico, poor Indian women with children are often denied medical care by government clinics unless they agree to be sterilized. In Peru, the government has admitted that many Indian women were forcibly sterilized by that country's population control campaign in which 300,000 women were rendered barren.
These sorts of things go on in Third World countries around the world as government officials and medical professionals seek to enforce population control policies on people who have "too many children."
Q: What does PRI do about these misconceptions and abuses?
We conduct research and education to inform people about what is going on. We disseminate our work through a weekly e-mail (called the Weekly Briefing) and two printed newsletters, as well as the occasional investigative report. We give interviews to reporters and make presentations before groups which invite us. We also meet with members of Congress and their staffs from time to time in efforts to get the federal government to end its support for population control programs, including those disguised as family planning or AIDS prevention programs.
PRI tries to motivate its members to take action by writing their local newspapers, calling their congressmen, getting involved in their local schools, or otherwise working to spread the pro-people culture of life.