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A Concise History of World Population, 5th Edition

ISBN: 978-1-118-27394-4
288 pages
March 2012, Wiley-Blackwell
A Concise History of World Population, 5th Edition (111827394X) cover image


This fifth edition of the essential history of world population is updated with the most recent and significant scholarship on the topic. Reworked sections analyze the impact of environmental and climate change, discuss declining fertility in developing nations, and track the continuing impact of HIV-AIDS. 

  • Central themes updated and revised to take account of new scholarship
  • Includes new sections on theories of migration in pre-history
  • Expands discussion of low fertility rates in developing Asian and Latin American countries
  • Fuller coverage of population and environmental change, including the effects of climate change
  • Bibliographic updates include weblinks to key scientific journals
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Table of Contents

List of Figures viii

List of Tables xi

Preface xiii

1 The Space and Strategy of Demographic Growth 1

1 Humans and Animals 1

2 Divide and Multiply 5

3 Jacopo Bichi and Domenica Del Buono, Jean Guyon and Mathurine Robin 7

4 Reproduction and Survival 9

5 The Space of Growth 17

6 Environmental Constraints 19

7 A Few Figures 24

Notes 27

Further Reading 31

2 Demographic Growth: Between Choice and Constraint 32

1 Constraint, Choice, Adaptation 32

2 From Hunters to Farmers: The Neolithic Demographic Transition 34

3 Black Death and Demographic Decline in Europe 41

4 The Tragedy of the American Indios: Old Microbes and New Populations 46

5 Africa, America, and the Slave Trade 53

6 The French Canadians: A Demographic Success Story 57

7 Ireland and Japan: Two Islands, Two Histories 61

8 On the Threshold of the Contemporary World: China and Europe 66

Notes 73

Further Reading 80

3 Land, Labor, and Population 82

1 Diminishing Returns and Demographic Growth 82

2 Historical Confirmations 86

3 Demographic Pressure and Economic Development 91

4 More on Demographic Pressure and Development: Examples from the Stone Age to the Present Day 95

5 Space, Land, and Development 98

6 Population Size and Prosperity 105

7 Increasing or Decreasing Returns? 108

Notes 109

Further Reading 112

4 Toward Order and Efficiency: The Recent Demography of Europe and the Developed World 114

1 From Waste to Economy 114

2 From Disorder to Order: The Lengthening of Life 119

3 From High to Low Fertility 125

4 European Emigration: A Unique Phenomenon 132

5 A Summing Up: The Results of the Transition 138

6 Theoretical Considerations on the Relationship between Demographic and Economic Growth 140

7 More on the Relationship between Demographic and Economic Growth: Empirical Observations 146

Notes 153

Further Reading 158

5 The Populations of Poor Countries 160

1 An Extraordinary Phase 160

2 The Conditions of Survival 165

3 A Brief Geography of Fertility 172

4 The Conditions and Prospects for Fertility Decline and Demographic Policy 177

5 India and China 185

6 Fertilia and Sterilia 194

7 Explaining a Paradox 198

Notes 205

Further Reading 212

6 The Future 214

1 Population and Self-Regulation 214

2 The Numbers of the Future 216

3 The North-South Divide and International Migration 223

4 On Sustainability of Extended Survival 230

5 The Moving Limits 238

6 The Emerging Limits 243

7 The Emerging Limits: Non-Renewable Resources and Food 246

8 The Emerging Limits: Space and Environment 250

9 Calculations and Values 254

Notes 258

Further Reading 262

Major Scientific Journals for Further Reading 264

Index 265

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Author Information

Massimo Livi-Bacci is Professor of Demography at the University of Florence. A former president of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population, his extensive research interests include contemporary demography as well as the history of population. He has taught and held fellowships at universities all over the world, including Princeton University, the University of California at Berkeley, the Collège de France, and the Colegio de México. His many publications include Population and Nutrition (1991), The Population of Europe: A History (Blackwell, 1999), and Conquest: The Destruction of the American Indios (2007).

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“This little book is indeed concise, covering such a vast territory, but it is not at all superficial. It is a 'must-read' for all serious students of population.”  (Canadian Studies in Population, 2014)

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