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Peoplequake: Mass Migration, Aging Nations and the Coming Population Crash

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  249 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Wherever we look, population is the driver of the most toxic issues on the political agenda. But while prominent voices cry out for population control, few realise that the population bomb is already being defused. Half the world's women are having two children or fewer. Within a generation, the world's population will be falling. And we will all be getting very old.

So sho
Paperback, 397 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by Eden Project Books
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Jun 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
I blogged the following discussion of this book on the Migrants Rights Network website at

It is increasingly clear that the coalition government’s immigration policies are going to be informed by the population pessimism which regards growth at the level of the ONS’s( upper predictions of 70 million people by 2031 as the very worst fate that could befall the United Kingdom.

Much of the discussion around the announcement of a cap
This book is all about demographics. What happens as people have fewer children, live longer, move more? David Foot, author of Boom, Bust, and Echo argued that two-thirds of everything can be explained by demographics, and that's what Pearce sets out to prove in The Coming Population Crash.

Pearce starts with a review of demographic thinking, starting with the 18th-century scholar Malthus and working his way forward. Pearce is at his strongest, I think, when he describes how generations of polit
Liz Throop
Dec 27, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Fred Pearce has earned his reputation as an excellent writer, and he has chosen an important topic for his book The Coming Population Crash. In fact, the issues he covers are too important to stand unchallenged. Here are a few of the issues I have with, The Coming Population Crash (alternate title Peoplequake). Chapter 10 “Small towns in Germany” describes in the drop in population in Eastern Germany caused primarily by young womens’ relocation to Western Germany. Pearce writes, “The former peop ...more
Mar 29, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: environment
As befits a roving journalist, Pearce's book is a collection of field reports from around the world, sometimes amusing, often eye-opening and at times insightful updates of the current state of affairs on our planet, from a sociological and cultural point of view. I do agree with other readers that in such a short piece of work it lacks deep analysis and well argued conclusions, but that did not detract from my enjoyment of this book. However his optimism and hope for a better future where manki ...more
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fred Pearce's optimistic outlook is the perfect antidote to the relentless Malthusian world view of immiment plague, pestilence and famine. There really are reasons to be cheerful if challenges are addressed and not left to become self-fulfilling prophesies of the doomsayers. The book doesn't fight shy of the massive issues that need to be confronted: feticide, eugenics, euthansia, mass migration, immigration, environmental impact, wealth polarisation and much more besides. But just as Malthus c ...more
May 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Pearce has never met an immigrant he didn't like, and that relentless optimism gets a little old over 300 pages. I could have wished for a more even-handed treatment on this subject, but the scope of his research is impressive. You might think that demographics is simply births and deaths, but Pearce looks at how the human life cycle has changed over the last 150 years and how those changes affect politics, technology, women's rights, and the graying of the global population. (Best sentence in t ...more
Jul 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was great from so many angles. It was factually enlightening and didn't fall to idiotic malthusian misanthropy not to naive optimism. Humanist book through and through. ...more
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
the reason we call urban myth or one looks at how a history event was passed down, extra sensationalism were often added, so the history changes as time goes such myth is population explosion started by Malthus..then it does not stop...Author has been using a lot of data in many countries to prove that not only population does not grow, rather, as we often talks about: population is in severe decline: Japan, India, Sri Lanka, EU zones..despite the fact that population growth has been con ...more
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This whole book, nay, every chapter, nay, every page, nay, every paragraph is not just a massive education, but a gargantuan re-education.

It's not all just illuminating, but I felt re-illuminated from scratch.

Proof of the truth of this book, in the face of doomsayers that dominate attention more than they should, is that more books of recent vintage have surfaced to bear out his larger point, and he was way, way ahead of the game.

Look around you. Cities are shrinking, ghost towns are now everywh
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
A great book with possibly the best ‘Introduction’ I’ve ever read. Though it’s a little (11years) outdated now, much of it is as relevant as ever. I felt it didn’t quite deserve the 5th star as the pace and panache of the book dwindled in the final two sections.
Nonetheless will definitely recommend to my students.
Kevin Varney
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Pretty good, pretty optimistic. I noticed it is now a little out of date.
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scary either way. too much pop. = bad, too little = bad
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sociology
Still waiting to hear what this planet’s surprising future is because this book definitely draw anything close to a conclusion on the many, many statistics and anecdotes it dropped.
Steve  Charles
Nov 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Very informative and shatters a lot of myths about population. Optimistic? Yes, but supported with cogent arguments and helpful examples and evidence.
Sep 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: male-author, p
This was a very interesting and informative book that discusses both the misconceptions surrounding population growth, the impacts that population growth has on an area and some of the different solutions to the problems. My major concern with the book was that is some places it was over simplistic. Population growth in some areas is down to 4 or 5 interlinked things rather than just one, and while governments are actively (in some cases) trying to alleviate problems such as access to contracept ...more
Jul 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Are we outbreeding the ability of of earth to support us all? Was Malthus's vision of a civilisation-ending catastrophe driven by overpopulation, if somewhat delayed, truly what awaits us? There are plenty who fear so. But Fred Pearce takes a different view, and it's not based on wishful thinking or optimism in spite of the evidence, but on the facts about demographic changes that are already taking place in many parts of the world. For in the long term we face a shrinking population and the rea ...more
Nov 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really liked most of this book. It's an interesting analysis of racism, eugenics in many forms, foreign aid and women's liberation. I really liked his idea that the current global falls in birthrate are due to 'incomplete' female liberation, where women are free to choose between child rearing, work and other pursuits but society, religion and government are still mostly following the old patriarchal ways.

He lost a star in the final chapters though with his rosy eyed discription of the 'silve
Scot McAtee
Dec 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Call me a Malthusian, but who isn't a little Malthusian at the core? It's difficult to maintain optimism when all we hear about is how badly we humans are trashing the planet and how quickly we're spreading. Based on some of the horror stories I hear from the people I deal with on a daily basis, it's hard to believe that the majority of the population even cares about the state of the planet.

I like the optimism of this book and if Pearce's research is accurate, then all that baloney I hear about
Jul 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reallyism
Only three stars because while I agree with the general premise, that population doomsayers are wrong (as well as mostly elitist and occasionally racist), Pearce is so unwaveringly optimistic it is hard to swallow. Also, there are not notes of any kind, only a casual listing of sources at the end, which dampens the credibility. I also wish he had laid out his hypothesis in the beginning. He just lays out facts and lets you do the analysis, so I didn't feel like I had a true understanding of his ...more
Nov 17, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had never thought about a lot of the topics this book discusses. The historical parts were interesting. I realize now how political population concerns can be. Your political take on what the world needs can really colour what should be done.

I also had no idea that Planned Parenthood had such disreputable, racist and classist beginnings. Naive me thought it was all about how children who were planned came into better lives.

Favourite quote in the book: "There is enough for everyone's need, but
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: development
I read this and rated it five stars years ago when it first came out. I've just re-read it now and forgot what a great book it is. I'd definitely still rate it five stars and I think I even enjoyed it more now and could make so many more connections throughout the book than I could back in the olden days of 2010 or whenever it was. Only thing I wish it had as an extra would be a couple of appendices on global populations and fertility rates. I spent quite a lot of time googling along in companio ...more
Jun 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although it occasionally droned with boring data, statistics, and several-line-long titles of research organizations, Fred Pearce does offer a great perspective on the alarmist environmental threats we often hear bandied about. I especially loved his reviews of historical predictions, and how they were correct or incorrect. He actually gives me hope for our possibly dark future, assuming those in power do not blow up the world or do anything too extreme.
Jun 12, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Wow. Super interesting. This is all about the world's changing demographics, how they've shaped and been shaped by societal and economic forces, and how all this might play out in the near future. Includes some (often chilling) history of the population control movement. Pearce makes mostly optimistic predictions about our demographic future; I sure hope he's right. ...more
This book contained a lot of excellent examples and case studies, but I didn't find that he had very much analysis on any of those case studies. He just kind of laid them out and was like, ok, you do the analysis. Nothing really original about this book, but a good reference if you want a place to have population examples handy in collected form. ...more
Sep 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the few books that manage to entertain just as much as educate. Pearce while having a defined opinion about the subject gives a balanced account of the fear of overpopulation and demographic development. Almost every argument is backed up by facts and data and manages to surprise at times.
Colin Anton
Found the book extremely compelling to read ( I set my own personal Kindle record for highlighting passages). Great *commentary* and insight on Malthusian eugenics and global population trends.

Then the author got too preachy, and rubbed me the wrong way. Any time you need to reference Tina Turner's bare midriff as a solution to global population issues, you've lost me completely.
May 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: natalism
A solid addition to the natalist literature. This book gives several interesting vignettes (of Malthus' life, and of poor people living in the "slums"), although it doesn't hit the issue as squarely as "The Empty Cradle" or the newer "What to Expect When No One's Expecting."

Overall, pretty middle of the road on the liberal/conservative spectrum... and definitely worth the read.
Dec 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
At times it uses an overwhelming amount of facts and statistics to back up it's arguments. But overall a clear and well presented argument to support the hypothesis that the boom in human populations is not all bad news and gives up plenty of room to be optimistic about the future. ...more
Tina Nyman
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A "must read" book. Cuts through so much of the propaganda and political posturing pushed upon the world by dominant sectors for their economic/political wellbeing and supported by intellectually weak and irresponsible media reporting. If nothing else it challenges entrenched view and biases. ...more
Mar 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Demolishes the myths about world population adding that patriarchy has been ended by women's control of her own fertility.
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Fred Pearce is an English author and journalist based in London. He has been described as one of Britain's finest science writers and has reported on environment, popular science and development issues from 64 countries over the past 20 years. He specialises in global environmental issues, including water and climate change, and frequently takes heretic and counter-intuitive views - "a sceptic in ...more

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