Empty Planet : The Shock of Global Population Decline
by Bricker, Darrell; Ibbitson, John

An award-winning journalist and leading international social researcher make the provocative argument that the global population will soon decline—and that immigration will be the key to prospering in this new social, political, and economic landscape
For half a century, statisticians, pundits, and politicians have warned that a burgeoning population will soon overwhelm the earth's resources. But a growing number of experts are sounding a different alarm. Rather than continuing to increase exponentially, they argue, the global population is headed for a steep decline—and in many countries, that decline has already begun.
In Empty Planet, John Ibbitson and Darrell Bricker find that a smaller global population will bring with it many benefits: fewer workers will command higher wages; the environment will improve; the risk of famine will wane; and falling birthrates in the developing world will bring greater affluence and autonomy for women.
But enormous disruption lies ahead, too. We can already see the effects in Europe and parts of Asia, as aging populations and worker shortages weaken the economy and impose crippling demands on healthcare and social security. The United States and Canada are well-positioned to successfully navigate these coming demographic shifts-that is, unless growing isolationism leads us to close ourselves off just as openness becomes more critical to our survival than ever.
Rigorously researched and deeply compelling, Empty Planet offers a vision of a future that we can no longer prevent-but one that we can shape, if we choose.

DARRELL BRICKER is chief executive officer of Ipsos Public Affairs, the world's leading social and opinion research firm. JOHN IBBITSON is writer at large for the Globe and Mail, Canada's national newspaper. Successful authors on their own, their first collaboration was on The Big Shift, a study of change in Canadian politics that became a #1 national bestseller.

The popular belief is that the planet's population is constantly growing, pushing Earth toward a tipping point of maximum capacity. In reality, fertility rates are dropping, and life expectancies are rising-two causative factors in what may actually be a steep population decline. Exploring cultural imperatives from Kenya to Korea, social researcher Bricker and journalist Ibbitson delve into myriad conditions and examine the trends that could lead to a prediction that most established and many developing nations will see a reversal of overpopulation patterns. While migrations from Syria to Canada or from Chicago to South Carolina can impact population levels, urbanization and advances in educational opportunities for women can lower birth rates. From China's authoritarian "one child" policy to the role choice plays in population control, the future health of Mother Earth depends on how such behavioral changes are managed. Thanks to the authors' painstaking fact-finding and cogent analysis, this treatise offers ample and persuasive arguments for a re-evaluation of conventional wisdom. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

A lively exploration of how "we do not face the challenge of a population bomb but of a population bust—a relentless, generation-after-generation culling of the human herd."Warnings of catastrophic world overpopulation have filled the media since the 1960s, so this expert, well-researched explanation that it's not happening will surprise many readers. Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs, and Globe and Mail writer at large Ibbitson (co-authors: The Big Shift: The Seismic Change in Canadian Politics, Business, and Culture, and What It Means for Our Future, 2013) point out that a dozen nations are already shrinking. "By 2050," they write, "the number will have climbed to three dozen. Some of the richest places on earth are shedding people every year: Japan, Korea, Spain, Italy, much of eastern Europe." The authors explain that throughout history, birth and death rates were high, and population grew slowly. After 1800, increased food production and public health improvemen ts lowered death rates, so populations boomed, but this didn't last long. Also after 1800 came the Industrial Revolution and urbanization. Children are a big help on the farm but little use in a city. Perhaps most important, the authors emphasize, when women acquire education and status—something that happens in cities—they have fewer children. As a result, birth rates began dropping along with death rates, and most readers will be surprised to learn that the poor are not exempt. Brazil's fertility is below its replacement rate, and Mexico's is fast approaching. While it's not unanimous, the authors are not alone in concluding that world population, now around 8 billion, will stabilize near 8.5 billion at midcentury and then decline. This is not necessarily good news. Nations losing population suffer labor shortages and an excess of elderly whose support requires taxes from a shrinking number of younger workers. The only effective solution to population decline i s immigration, which, all researchers and the authors agree, always benefits their new nation. A delightfully stimulating and not terribly controversial overview of human demographics. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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