A provocative description of the power of population change to create the conditions for societal transformation.
As the world nears 8 billion people, the countries that have led the global order since World War II are becoming the most aged societies in human history. At the same time, the world’s poorest and least powerful countries are suffocating under an imbalance of population and resources. In 8 Billion and Counting, political demographer Jennifer D. Sciubba argues that the story of the twenty-first century is less a story about exponential population growth, as the previous century was, than it is a story about differential growth—marked by a stark divide between the world’s richest and poorest countries.
Drawing from decades of research, policy experience, and teaching, Sciubba employs stories and statistics to explain how demographic trends, like age structure and ethnic composition, are crucial signposts for future violence and peace, repression and democracy, poverty and prosperity. Although we have a diverse global population, demographic trends often follow predictable patterns that can help professionals across the corporate, nonprofit, government, and military sectors understand the global strategic environment.
Through the lenses of national security, global health, and economics, Sciubba demonstrates the pitfalls of taking population numbers at face value and extrapolating from there. Instead, she argues, we must look at the forces in a society that amplify demographic trends and the forces that dilute them, particularly political institutions, or the rules of the game. She shows that the most important skills in demographic analysis are naming and being aware of your preferences, rethinking assumptions, and asking the right questions.
Provocative and engrossing, 8 Billion and Counting is required reading for business leaders, policy makers, and anyone eager to anticipate political, economic, and social risks and opportunities. A deeper understanding of fertility, mortality, and migration promises to point toward the investments we need to make today to shape the future we want tomorrow.
About the Author
Jennifer D. Sciubba is an associate professor of International Studies at Rhodes College. She is a former demographics consultant to the United States Department of Defense and the author of the author of 8 Billion and Counting and The Future Faces of War.
Demography may not be destiny, but it’s destiny’s kissing cousin. Jennifer Sciubba’s easily accessible writing will make an armchair demographer of even those without any background in the subject. Demography is key to understanding the most important trends affecting nations, regions, and the world today, and this book proves a wise guide in that endeavor.
— Valerie Hudson, author of The First Political Order
Provocative and penetrating...[Sciubba shows] how a deeper understanding of fertility, mortality, and migration trends point us toward the investments we need to make today to shape the future we want tomorrow.
— Vikas Shah Mbe - Thought Economics
Sciubba, a professor of international relations and former demographics consultant to the United States Department of Defense, is unfailingly thorough in her research for this authoritative book... An articulate, absorbing examination of where the demographic road is leading and how we can avoid the emerging pitfalls.
The planet’s population is set to continue increasing, Sciubba writes, urging administrations worldwide to enact policies that account for demographic trends, and powerfully concluding that the main question to consider is, ‘How can we use the 8 billion people we have on the planet today to shape the world we want tomorrow?’ Comprehensive and full of incisive analysis, this is not to be missed.
— Publishers Weekly