Population Matters

Royal Family urged to promote smaller families

Royal Family urged to promote smaller families

A US-based sustainable family planning organisation has called upon the Royal Family to lead by example and limit their family size. This comes at a time when research shows that the most effective action we as individuals can take to reduce our contributions to climate change is to have smaller families.


Having Kids, a San Francisco based organisation, recently made headlines after releasing an open letter urging the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to consider carefully before adding to their family. The letter was written in response to a widely-reported comment made by Kate where she playfully suggested having more babies after receiving a gift fit for a newborn.

Everyone makes an impact

The key message of the letter is that extra children place a burden on the Earth and put future generations at risk. Anthropogenic climate change poses real concerns for all of humanity, including future generations, and children born in the rich world make very high contributions to emissions and other forms of environmental degradation.

According to scientists, Earth’s ‘Sixth Mass Extinction‘ is already underway, caused in large measure by human impact.

The letter states that ‘the example the British Royal Family sets is extremely influential’, and that studies show public figures can serve as effective role models when it comes to family planning. An additional consideration is that the impact the wealthiest families have on the environment far exceeds that of children being born in poorer or developing parts of the world. For instance, statistics show that an individual Briton produces 70 more times CO2 than a person from Niger.

Understanding consequences

While the response to the open letter has been mixed, with some members of the public saying that the organisation has no right to “interfere” with the Royal couple’s decisions, others have been swayed by the rationale for why families should have fewer children.

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At Population Matters, we endorse all the points very reasonably made by Having Kids. We believe that smaller families are key to slowing population growth, ensuring sustainable development and improving lives and well-being across the globe. We also believe that far from being “interference”, constructively and politely informing people about the consequences of having additional children helps them to make informed decisions.


To find out more about the benefits of smaller families and other alternatives to slowing population growth, be sure to visit sure to visit our Solutions page.

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