First of all, let me say that I very much appreciated your review of Matthew Yglesias’ book One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger. You appropriately and accurately point out and underscore the absurdity of the thesis.
However, I believe you could have and should have found fault with the disconcerting descriptor “Rust Belt.” You used a footnote to explicate the realities of fertility rates. You could have used a footnote to highlight the denigrating quality of the term Rust Belt. As a native of Chicago, I find this phrase offensive and inaccurate. It has negative innuendo and imagery and is a product of a thoughtless media. I believe the term is used in a careless manner to add inaccurate texture. I know that you are not thoughtless, but maybe this barbed idiom is easily overlooked. I note that words such as West Coast, Mountain West, and South are used elsewhere in your magazine to identify other areas. I ask that pundits, journalists, authors, and others in the media limit the invidious term Rust Belt to those times when they are actually talking about rust. We of the Upper Midwest must unify and resist terms and categories that are inaccurate and/or demeaning. The term is hurtful (at least I am hurt by it). Thank you for your consideration of this request.
Dennis O. Vidoni
I appreciate everything that you folks at Population Connection do. The forbidden topic is sterilization of women. One of the best days of my life was when I got a tubal ligation, however, it took me being in my forties and having survived the death of my 16-year-old son to assure my doctor that I was ‘serious’ about not wanting more children. Young women friends of mine who are absolutely sure they do not want children find it impossible to obtain a tubal ligation. We (they and I) find it ludicrous that their requests are disrespected based on their age and the disbelief that a woman would actually not want to procreate or have more children. These are smart, introspective women. They know their own minds. I understand the complexity of the issue of sterilization, however, when a woman asks that it be an option, she shouldn’t need to prove her request or be patronized by those with the ability to deny her that avenue. You cover so many important topics—maybe this is one whose time has come? Discussion leads to possibilities.
We subscribe to Population Connection magazine. You are the only people doing the work that really counts. As a lifelong environmentalist, writer, and former national media director for Greenpeace, my big gripe was that no one was paying attention to the critical issue of our time: overpopulation.
I want to include a note about the Pop Facts infographic in the December 2020 issue of our magazine, since a couple of people wrote in with clarifying questions. We should have included percentage symbols next to the various bars in the charts we depicted. Leaving the symbols out was an unintentional oversight, and I apologize for any confusion that may have caused to our readers!