Population Research Institute

Population Research Institute
Founder Paul Marx (priest)
Type think tank
Headquarters Front Royal, Virginia
Steven W. Mosher
Website pop.org

The Population Research Institute (PRI) is a non-profit organization based in Front Royal, Virginia, USA.[1] PRI describes itself as "a non-profit research group whose goals are to expose the myth of overpopulation" as well as "human rights abuses committed in population control programs, and to make the case that people are the world's greatest resource."[2] It operates programs against the advancement of contraception, sterilization, and abortion. PRI is a 501(c)(3) organization and claims contacts to pro-life groups in over 30 countries.[3] Results are being released in an own online periodical, PRI Review.[4][5]


Image from PRI criticizing the one-child policy

The Population Research Institute was founded in 1989 by Paul Marx (1920–2010), a family sociologist, Catholic priest and Benedictine monk. He had been the founder of Human Life International, too.[6] PRI became an independent institute in 1996. In the same year, the institute became headed by Steven W. Mosher,[7] an anthropologist and author who studied and discovered excesses in China during the beginning of the one-child policy in the late 1970s and the early 1980s.[8] PRI opposes such practices and asserts a causal link between the one-child policy on the one hand and China's imbalanced sex-ratio as well as its aging population on the other hand.[9]

Family Care Center

As of 2015 PRI operates a facility called Family Care Center, a family welfare and crisis pregnancy center located in Saint Lucia,[10] the home country of its spiritual director, Father Linus Clovis.[11]

Defunding population control programs

According to the Los Angeles Times, PRI successfully lobbied the George W. Bush administration to withhold US$34 to $40 million per year for seven years from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the largest international donor to family planning programs.[12] This turn had been demanded by a 2002 appeal of about 140 groups the think tank had led.[13] The PRI says that its mission includes to "[e]xpose the relentless promotion of abortion, abortifacient contraception, and chemical and surgical sterilization in misleadingly labeled 'population stabilization,' 'family planning,' and 'reproductive health' programs".[14] One of the institute's drives calls to end compulsory sterilizations in India,[15] another one bases a renewed demand to defund budgets on its own investigations suggesting a lack of distance between UNFPA activities and coercive Chinese population control.[16] PRI monitored UNFPA's involvement in controversial, rural and minority people-oriented sterilization campaigns during the Peruvian Fujimori era, and it also investigated the forceful actions against Degar women in Vietnam aimed at preventing reproduction.[17]


PRI obtains the vast majority of its funding from charitable contributions, gifts, and grants, with a total revenue of 2.63 million dollars in financial year 2014. Of this, 71.5% was spent on program expenses, 3.9% on administration, and 24.4% on fundraising.[18]

The institute has received funding from The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Inc. for conferences on human rights in China.[19]


Some critics[20] argue that claiming "Overpopulation is a Myth" is deceiving, and contrary to the scientific consensus on the subject. The Ten Million Club Foundation [21] further adds to criticism,[22] accusing PRI of having a hidden religious agenda (against family planning and contraception) that motivates claims that it says are deceiving, saying that those are not backed up by any original research ("[PRI hasn't] as yet published a single peer review paper in any scientific journal").

A rather benevolent review issued by CatholicCulture.org misses clarification from PRI in cases where the institute's website provides a research link to secular and non-Catholic contents.[23]


  1. CatholicCulture.org: Website Review: Population Research Institute (2014-02-19). Retrieved 2016-12-05.
  2. PRI Web site: Who We Are
  3. PRI Web site: Who We Are
  4. PRI Web site: PRI Review
  5. CatholicCulture.org: Website Review: Population Research Institute
  6. PRI Web site: Our Founder: Fr. Paul Marx, O.S.B.
  7. SourceWatch: Population Research Institute. (July 4, 2010). Retrieved 2016-12-05.
  8. PRI Web site: Our President
  9. PRI Web site: China Ratchets Up One-Child Policy, Part II
  10. PRI Web site: A bold new project to assist mothers in need
  11. PRI Web site: Meet our Board
  12. Weiss, Kenneth R. (July 22, 2012). "Fertility rates fall, but global population explosion goes on". Los Angeles Times.
  13. Major Coalition Urges Bush to Zero-Fund UNFPA (Population Research Institute). PR Newswire (June 20, 2002). Retrieved 2016-12-05.
  14. PRI Web site: Our Mission
  15. PRI Web site: Stop Forced Sterilizations in India
  16. PRI Web site:Stop U.S. Tax Dollars From Funding Population Control in China
  17. Francis, Babette (August 24, 2002). "POPULATION: Time to set the record straight". News Weekly. Retrieved 2016-12-05.
  18. "Population Research Institute". Charity Navigator. 2016. Retrieved 2016-12-03.
  19. "Population Research Institute". MediaTransparency. Archived from the original on March 10, 2007.
  20. A Response to Critics of Family Planning Programs. http://www.guttmacher.org/ (1 March 2009). Retrieved on 11 July 2013.
  21. Ten Million Club Foundation. http://www.overpopulationawareness.org/. Retrieved on 11 July 2013.
  22. Overpopulation Awareness - videos. http://www.overpopulationawareness.org/ (August 2010). Retrieved on 11 July 2013.
  23. CatholicCulture.org: Website Review: Population Research Institute

External links

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