The great forces of population change – the balance of births, deaths and migrations – have made the world what it is today. They have determined which countries are superpowers and which languish in relative obscurity, which economies top the international league tables and which are at best also-rans.
The same forces that have shaped our past and present are shaping our future. Illustrating this through ten illuminating indicators, from the fertility rate in Singapore (one) to the median age in Catalonia (forty-three), Paul Morland shows how demography is both a powerful and an under-appreciated lens through which to view the global transformations that are currently underway.
Tomorrow’s People ranges from the countries of West Africa where the tendency towards large families is combining with falling infant mortality to create the greatest population explosion ever witnessed, to the countries of East Asia and Southern Europe where generations of low birth-rate and rising life expectancy are creating the oldest populations in history. Morland explores the geographical movements of peoples that are already under way – portents for still larger migrations ahead – which are radically changing the cultural, ethnic and religious composition of many societies across the globe, and in their turn creating political reaction that can be observed from Brexit to the rise of Donald Trump. Finally, he looks at the two underlying motors of change – remarkable rises in levels of education and burgeoning food production – which have made all these epochal developments possible.
Tomorrow’s People provides a fascinating, illuminating and thought-provoking tour of an emerging new world. Nobody who wants to understand that world should be without it.
Compulsively readable. Regarding the cultural and political implications of enormous pending shifts in human population, Morland manages to remain admirably neutral; readers can draw their own conclusions. Will the future be better or worse? Only one thing is certain: it will be very, very different.
Paul Morland provides the demographic key to understanding so much of recent history and contemporary society - from Chinese cities, to global ageing and the rise of Africa. With great authority and an eye for the vivid detail he opens a door that I was scarcely aware of, persuading me that demography really is the master social science.
An accomplished whistle stop tour of world demographics.
Danny Dorling, Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography, University of Oxford