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Controlling Populations of Immortals

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A problem that fantasy writers have when faced with long-lived races, such as elves, is population control. A common method is low fertility and/or an extremely long maturity rate, but this would make it extremely difficult for the race to ever rebound if something went wrong.

So here are other ideas.

  • Breeding is controlled by government.
  • Large amounts of the species are periodically killed off, i.e. in battles, esp. for those located in war zones, or participating in a war.
  • Violent race that fights (and thus dies) a lot.
  • High death rate among infants.
  • Social/pheromone stimulation controls fertility: in an area dense with pheromones or heavily populated, a female is unlikely to come into estrus. If she is removed from her own kind, she will come into her breeding cycle.
  • There's nothing wrong with their fertility; they just have a low sex drive.
  • They have perfectly normal fertility and sex drive, but they are advanced enough for widespread acceptance of birth control.
  • They require very specific conditions to breed.
  • They are robots/androids and incapable of breeding.
  • After they reproduce, they die.
  • There are far more males than females.
  • The extreme majority of the species is homosexual.
  • The government/population employs mass, artificial population control (in other words, mass executions) to keep numbers low.


  • Original Writerium Article[1]

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