It is highly unintuitive and also contrary to past versions of civ, but that's the outcome of certain Civ 6 game design decisions. In past Civ games, most yields came from people. In Civ 6, districts and buildings and trade routes and city states generate plenty of yields on their own without people to work them. Four to ten Pop give you 2 to 4 districts per city, which are plenty, without taxing your amenity situation. Getting higher population means investing in food, housing, amenities, etc., and right now only Pingala boosts the yields of that extra population, as unlike past versions of civ, no buildings in Civ 6 boost the intrinsic output of people. As for production, you only need it for districts and projects. Everything else can be bought with gold or faith. The quicker you can get a gold or faith based economy going, the easier the game gets. Gold-bought things appear instantly in the place you need them. And you don't really need a lot of things in Civ 6. Most of the "stuff" in the game is for fun and playing around with, and totally optional. Anyway, if you're interested, try playing around with focussing on getting science, culture, and gold directly. Limit production to getting the things that give you eruekas and boosts or districts, and otherwise run projects. Or don't, if that's not fun for you. This is only one approach to playing the game.