I have seen the quote below on numerous sites (example), always being attributed to Bill Gates and treated as an admission of his malicious purposes, basically proving that his vaccination programmes are really thinly veiled population control operations. Did he really say this?

The world today has 6.8 billion people … that’s headed up to about 9 billion. Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 percent.

  • That bounty is a mystery? We have checked that he did say this indeed, exactly as quoted here. Now the bounty is asking for guesswork on motivations and overall moral judgement ("evil intent") to be included in any answer? Isn't that expressly unwanted here? Gates wants less people on the planet, fewer than current projections predict, and his tool to achieve it is, among others, vaxes. Whether 'less people in a few years' is 'good or bad' is a political view, whether vaxes promote infertility/fecundity indirectly —by choice— or directly by chemical consequences isn't contained in the quote. Commented Oct 21, 2021 at 14:20
  • A potentially interesting point: if he means to reduce the 9bn plateau by 15%, that would mean a plateau at 7.65bn -- which is lower than the current world population. (10% implies 8.1bn, so we'd still have some room to grow).
    – Dave
    Commented Oct 22, 2021 at 15:24
  • The goodreads link ("example") is now broken.
    – Dave
    Commented Oct 22, 2021 at 15:24

1 Answer 1


Yes he said it, in a 2010 TED Talk.

Vaccines reduce infant and child mortality, giving parents more certainty and making it more likely that they will choose to have fewer children.

In society after society, he saw, when the mortality rate falls—specifically, below 10 deaths per 1,000 people—the birth rate follows, and population growth stabilizes. “It goes against common sense,” Gates says. Most parents don’t choose to have eight children because they want to have big families, it turns out, but because they know many of their children will die. (Forbes)

Most things that reduce the uncertainty in family planning (like vaccines, health care, reproductive health services) lead to lower birth rates.

Another effect of better health care is an increase in education levels, which is usually followed by lower birth rates in developing countries. (Education Leads to Lower Fertility and Increased Prosperity)

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    @mikeglenndale: Depends on whether you consider the "goal" of evolution to be "maximize the population of the species" or "ensure that a stable population of the species survives for the longest possible time". In many cases, the two are in conflict. Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 0:11
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    As a thought experiment, imagine that in some society, each family wants a 85% chance of having at least two children survive to adulthood. In a population where the infant/child mortality rate is 50%, a family needs to have 6 children, of whom an average of 3 will reach adulthood, so the population grows at a rate of 50% per generation. In a population where the child mortality rate is 7%, a family need only have 2 children, since there's an 85% probability they both survive. Thus an average of 1.86 children survive to adulthood and the population actually falls. Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 0:21
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    Some other skeptics sites that support this answer: Skeptoid, Skeptical Raptor, Debunking Denialism.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 0:49
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    @mikeglenndale: Evolution is completely disjunct from population growth. (Or E.coli et al. would have to be the tip of the evolution, as they replicate much faster than humans...) Actually, evolution is not about improvement either. It's merely about adaption. "Survival of the fittest" is not about "fitness", but "best fit to the environment".
    – DevSolar
    Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 8:34
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    @KennyPeanuts You might like to read up on the r- and K-strategies -- somewhat superseded now, but IIUC still valid to first order. A K-strategy species (such as humans) produces fewer offspring overall but devotes more effort to childhood survival; in the long run this can be just as adaptive as the alternative of having as many offspring as possible.
    – zwol
    Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 20:05

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