HELP NEEDED | Post-Apocalyptic World Trying To Deal With A Population Crisis


I’m Rue Jay Hamilton, and I’m working on a slow-burn, dystopian, science-fantasy romance called Malignant. It’s about a futuristic Earth, where children are developed in laboratories to be ideal children for their parents. In addition, falling in love is illegal, as is being different. I’m writing the prologue and discussing how world leaders created a world population growth plan after the world population growth rate came to an alarming level, and that’s where I’m stuck. In a draft I had in 2020, the growth rate I chose was .25. However, is that a growth rate worthy of alarm, or would 0 be a better choice?

If you’re able to help me with this question, I’d greatly appreciate it.

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Reccomended Reading:

Make Room! Make Room! - Wikipedia!

You will have to do a lot of thinking, research, and looking at projections. Good luck.

…why would falling in love be illegal if population growth is a problem??


This compares the book Giver with the one child policy in China. It’s short and can give you an idea of why to control the population in your story and possibly give you more ideas for it.

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i think they mean that there’s too much population growth? which i’d imagine is why they’d make it illegal maybe ? :sob:


I don’t think so?? Current growth rate in our world is 1.0, and if they’re considering making it 0 in their book, that means there’s little to no population growth, but I could be wrong.

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I think for population growth you need a birth rate above two, one child to replace each parent plus one more to put the next generation in surplus. Birth rates of less than two end up with considerable demographic issues as the previous generations age out. Look at South Korea, China, and Japan for examples…There’s a reason why (when I last checked in 2016) Japan’s govt. assigned 1/3 of its national budget to domestic robotics research, with a focus on elderly care systems…

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Because evil!

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3.0 and higher and stuff gets dire

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Birthrate to keep a steady population is 2.3 kids per couple, or 1.15 per person. US finally dropped below that due to COVId, but France is the nation that’s been below birthrate for the longest time. life expectancy is finally starting to trend downwards, so that is also affecting how this plays out.

As far as if the birth rate was too low? If it’s basic care for the elderly, 2.3 is too low currently. Parents are a burden the less children they have, even when financially prepared. But the current talk is "save the earth, screw our grandparents*…

So it’s not just the statistics from 1 angle, it’s also the priorities we place on what statistics.

For example: We can easily supply “clean energy” that is sustainable from nuclear (they have some forms that have a very small half-life, leave little to no waste, but most of our data is off older outdated power plants), but instead we have rolling blackouts on coal plants and have to “protect the grid” via not plugging in our electric cars while potentially outlawing gas vehicles levels of “we need less kids!” Sorry, our halfassing everything makes children less sustainable.

So, I would find a society that is obesseed with growth going up would be micromanaging every aspect of society. “Use less water so we can have more babies!” types of slogans.


As for “love is illegal”, the outlawing of certain relationships has always been about keeping the growth rate up in a controlled manner, so it’s really one of the suppositions I expect this type of story to have automatically. Spontaneously making children in a socially-undesired manner would be forbidden. Getting into relationships that inherantly can’t have offspring would also be banned. So a society that is genetically engineering all the children wouldn’t want natural love babies.

And this is all without getting into eugenics .

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The country with the lowest proportion of children born to a woman is 0.8, in South Korea. What causes an alarm depends on projections. The only reason government try to boost birth rates above replacement ratio is because the only economic growth they understand is tied to an increase in population pyramid with more people entering workforce than retiring. And, of course, pure racism, because only ‘correct’ babies born in ‘correct’ places in the world count, the rest can starve beyond the tall, tall fences.

Your ratio to cause an alarm would depend on policies. If environmental policies and equalization of wealth and access to resources put as the main priority, then human population can decline for centuries before humans will be in any danger of extinction. Jus like humans hadn’t been in any danger of extinction since 10,000 BCE.

The sustainable amount of humans on Earth is about 10% of current population. :woman_shrugging:

We seriously want those ratios to stop dropping and keep dropping and start thinking if we want to survive as species. Agar-agar is running out in this Petri dish. Because we’ll die from overpopulation and related problems far, far faster than from not having enough babies.


Why? So long as they donate genetic material, they can do whatever they want with their love life. If natural fertility is suppressed, there is 0 reasons to forbid any kind of relationships. In fact, one wants a free love fest, because people would feel attached and loved without the connection to reproduction.

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I’m saying it’s the way it’s always been, from religions all the way through to modern times.

Of course that should change with the advent of being able to raise kids outside of a womb for solely “population boom” concerns.

For “engineered humans”, until we can truly redesign humans already conceived, the rules would at least be in place for people who could make their own babies–that is the realm of forced sterilizations and forced abortions . If we won’t do these two things, then love is forbidden. It makes sense, dumb sense, but this the way masses of people make dumb decisions.

Crisper has already proven that it alters genes outside the target DNA, and is thereby undesirable for making offspring, though it’s still “good enough” for fixing people who need gene therapy and are not passing on the unintended modifications.

So, it really depends on what modifications we go in with and the current ideology of the leaders of such a nation before we can really shift the parameters around. If 1-cell quasi-engineering is viaible, but billion+ cell engineering is a crap shoot (where we are currently at), then a controlling nation would logically limit those things. A freer nation would not, even if it has those goals.

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Like real-world, PCOS is a thing that hinders fertility. I could see me having children being outlawed by a dumb nation, so I don’t pass on increased infertility that spreads across 16+ generations of people with varying levels of failure.

One of the things they were teaching in highschool biology back when I was in high school was that when a mutation causes a repeat in the DNA, the repeats get longer with each generation, meaning that whatever the mutation gets wrong with the first repeat is only made worse with each successive offspring.

Now, this was dumbed down for high school. It’s far more complex than that. But I consistently see people in office who don’t even have a firm grasp on a highschool education, so I expect lawmakers to have human reactions, not solely logical ones.

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Forced sterilizations/abortions sound by far easier than policing the entire population to not have nookies. You need far more advanced tech than artificial womb to stop illegal love. Plus, love can remain unconsummated and used to all the time and then it’s not illegal. You can forbid marriages, but who cares?

If the problem is wrong babies, it’s logical to go after wrong babies and baby-making abilities. For example, collecting sperm from donors in special perfect men farms, then sterilizing all other men plus perfecting birth control for women will go a long way toward achieving that goal. Everything concieved outside the official fertility program can gets aborted as soon as HGH is detected in, say, monthly blood testing of all women for pregnancy. You can get very, very accurate in catching pregnant women.

Like, far easier to track than what exactly two lesbians are doing 24/7


I agree. But we have a highly moralized reaction against forcing that right now. I’ve outright read arguments over the idea of forcing sterilization being a racist ideology because of historical actions. So I could see laws putting the cart before the horse like this. But we have always had laws on the books that make no damn sense when it comes to policing people’s actions. I don’t remember if they ever got the sodomy laws off the books in my state, for example.

I could see there being a choice of either you get steralized or no hetero sex , which would be right down the middle of these two and a false sense of being for people being free to choose. That’s very parallel to laws that are already in place in body autonomy: people arguing over 2 options when there are literally far more options than 2.

Honstly, if it wasn’t for a history full of this stuff, I’d find it strange.

Really most laws like this mess with the law abiding, and are reasons to further sanction those who are willing to be illegal: such as it’s an excuse to land grab if you can put a minor law on the books that allows for it.

We already do this with not cutting your yard or for not paying the fractional taxes on property: there are properties that are confiscated for a fraction of their value due to minor laws adding up over time. something like this could be used on a similar manner: getting caught doing it enough times and you might become a forced organ donor . All sorts of things that can be done to make this type of thing absolutely miserable.

It’s not now and as per Mark Twain, fiction has to make sense unlike reality.

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There’s two ways to make sense, though:

It either makes sense because it’s logical to do or it makes sense because it’s logical for humans to behave like that. It is possible to write a highly logical book based on illogical behavior. We ain’t Spock.

So, when I write about humans running towards a massive fire that is bigger than them, it’s illogical for individual safety, but it is highly logical based upon human instinct and long-term mass survival: the person doing it running the risk of dying. Writing either is very ordered work.

So, I work on two basic levels and a higher-order-thinking, when I reason out whether the story will work:

Is this reasonable to write a smart character/society to do?
Is this reasonable for a dumb character/society to do?

Is this an order of paradigms?

The foundational thoughts for a society permeates what they think is a logical outcome. If we believe that life is sacred, and that there is a hierarchy to life, we will argue one direction in a logical manner. Anyone who denies that base thought will see nothing but stupid arguments. It’s why the hidden assumptions have to be challenged if you want a revolutionary change in the way people think.

A “reducto ad absurdum” is the extreme edge of what the foundation can become. Some RAAs we accept and don’t think about: It’s why we argue “the life of the mother” for abortion. Most cases where this is a given, both sides of the argument expect availability–not that this is known because no one explains a thing.

A philosophy breaks down when it meets it’s extremes. This is why Veganism doesn’t work in the Donner party.

And there’s even evidence that this affects the subconscious: it’s the whole argument why various psychosocial disorders are very much just a cultural trend.

So, all of this is workable as long as you thoroughly define what the limitations are of the society: if they find something too taboo that they are willing to do something less optimal, then you have a logical paradigm to work with. It’s not meant to be logical to you, just to within it’s construct.

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  1. I took out the love is forbidden trope, but I rewrote it to make the government sound clear
    that the world is extremely radical to readers. Classic dystopia, but the genre calls for it.
  2. Many factors come into the population decline, including fear of the unknown, fear of difference, AI apocalypse, and mass pestilence. Gene-editing is the “solution” for the ideal baby (and I got the babies coming from labs idea from my boomer mother.) But I’ve also been told that couples have the choice to have their children born naturally or through the labs, so it’s very weird. Also, one of the story’s messages is to be careful and cautious in the future if gene editing becomes more available in the far future; this is also a fantasy. Like, one character’s genes were hijacked last minute, giving her partial demonic genetics, hence she’s a witch. There are also mutations like shifting into a wolf, shifting into a taloned bird — it’s weird, but my brain wanted science-fantasy. Oh, and lightning absorption and manipulation. awkward chuckle Yeah…