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.