After the Baby Bust

The Politics and Ecology of Zero Population Growth

1. Neilson, J., and B. Pritchard. 2009. Value Chain Struggles: Institutions and Governance in the Plantation Districts of South India. London: Wiley-Blackwell.

2. National total fertility rates (TFR) are excellent but imperfect proxies for overall population growth, since mortality can vary greatly between countries. Consider that Sweden has a positive rate of natural population increase, though its fertility rate falls below “replacement,” since life expectancy there continues to increase. Even so, falling global TFR is real and powerful.

3. The increasing incidence of national fertility rates below the replacement rate is truly international, though necessarily uneven from country to country and region to region. For a terrifically accessible introduction and explanation: Newbold, B. K. 2014. Population Geography: Tools and Issues (Second Edition): Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

4. Observations of the Baby Bust are by no means new; demographic transition is periodically rediscovered in the pages of Atlantic Monthly on a roughly decadal frequency: Singer, M. 1999. “The Population Surprise.” The Atlantic Monthly 284 (2):22–25; Friedman, Uri. 2014. “The End of the Age Pyramid” The Atlantic. June 28.

5. Ashiq, P. 2015. Now, Buddhist group seeks Modi’s intervention to stop ‘Love Jehad’ in Ladakh. Hindustan Times, 1/18/2015.

6. Ghosh, A., and V. Singh. 2015. Census: Hindu share dips below 80%, Muslim share grows but slower. The Indian Express, 01/24/2015. Gupta, C. 2009. Hindu women, Muslim men: Love jihad and conversions. Economic and Political Weekly 44:13-15; Jain, B. 2015. Muslim population grows 24%, slower than previous decade. Times of India, 01/22/2015.; Mohan, R. 2011. Love Jihad and Demographic Fears. Indian Journal of Gender Studies 18:425–430.

7. Smith, S. 2012. Intimate Geopolitics: Religion, Marriage, and Reproductive Bodies in Leh, Ladakh. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 102:1511–1528.

8. Bialasiewicz, L. 2006. The death of the west: Samuel Huntington, Oriana Fallaci and a new “moral” geopolitics of births and bodies. Geopolitics 11:702.


10. Huang, S., and B. S. A. Yeoh. 2003. The difference gender makes: State policy and contract migrant workers in Singapore. Asian and Pacific Migration Journal 12:75–97; Teo, Y. 2009. Foreigners in our homes: Linking migration and family policies in Singapore. Population, Space and Place 15:147–159.

11. McSweeney, K., and S. Arps. 2005. A "Demographic Turnaround": the rapid growth of indigenous populations in lowland Latin America. Latin American Research Review 40:3–29; Mollett, S. 2010. Estálisto (Are you ready)? Gender, race and land registration in the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve. Gender, Place and Culture 17 (3):357-375; Mollett, S. 2013. Mapping deception: the politics of mapping Miskito and Garifuna space in Honduras. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 103 (5):1227–1241.

12. Bowlby, S. 2011. Friendship, co-presence and care: neglected spaces. Social & Cultural Geography 12 (6):605–622; Datta, K., C. McIlwaine, Y. Evans, J. Herbert, J. May, and J. Wills. 2010. A migrant ethic of care? negotiating care and caring among migrant workers in London's low-pay economy. Feminist Review (94):93–116.

13. Ferri, C. P., M. Prince, C. Brayne, H. Brodaty, L. Fratiglioni, M. Ganguli, K. Hall, K. Hasegawa, H. Hendrie, Y. Q. Huang, A. Jorm, C. Mathers, P. R. Menezes, E. Rimmer, M. Scazufca, and I. Alzheimers Dis. 2005. Global prevalence of dementia: a Delphi consensus study. Lancet 366 (9503):2112–2117; Cohen, L. 1998. No aging in India: Alzheimer's, the bad family, and other modern things: Berkeley: University of California Press.

14. DeFries, R. S., T. Rudel, M. Uriarte, and M. Hansen. 2010. Deforestation driven by urban population growth and agricultural trade in the twenty-first century. Nature Geoscience 3 (3):178–181; Rudel, T. K., D. Bates, and R. Machinguiashi. 2002. A tropical forest transition? Agricultural change, out-migration, and secondary forests in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 92 (1):87–102; Rudel, T. K., O. T. Coomes, E. Moran, F. Achard, A. Angelsen, J. C. Xu, and E. Lambin. 2005. Forest transitions: towards a global understanding of land use change. Global Environmental Change—Human And Policy Dimensions 15 (1):23-31.

15. Busch, C., and J. Geoghegan. 2010. Labor scarcity as an underlying cause of the increasing prevalence of deforestation due to cattle pasture development in the southern Yucatan region. Regional Environmental Change 10 (3):191–203; Hecht, S. B., K. D. Morrison, and C. Padoch eds. 2014. The Social Lives of Forests: Past, Present, and Future of Woodland Resurgence. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

16. Katayama, N., Y. G. Baba, Y. Kusumoto, and K. Tanaka. 2015. A review of post-war changes in rice farming and biodiversity in Japan. Agricultural Systems 132:73–84; Robson, J. P., and P. K. Nayak. 2010. Rural out-migration and resource-dependent communities in Mexico and India. Population and Environment 32 (2-3):263–284.

17. United Nations. 2013. World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision. New York: Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations.

18. Robbins, P., and S. H. Smith. 2016. Baby bust: Towards political demography. Progress in Human Geography.

19. Lewis, W. A. 1954. Economic Development with Unlimited Supplies of Labor. Manchester School of Economic and Social Studies 22:139–91. Lewis, W. A. 1955. The Theory of Economic Growth. Homewood (IL): Richard D. Irwin.

20. Marx, K. 1990. Capital: a critique of political economy, Volume I. New York: Penguin Books: 784.

21. Hahn, D. 2013. Did China Already Pass by the Lewis Turning Point? The Comparative Economic Review 20 (1):47–82.

22. United Nations 2015 revisions to global projections time ZPG ( shortly after 2100, with a 23 percent probability of stabilization or decline before 2100. Lutz et al. predict stabilization and decline far earlier: Lutz, W., W. P. Butz, and K. C. Samir eds. World Population and Human Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press. See also: Raftery, A. E., N. Li, H. Ševčíková, P. Gerland, and G. K. Heilig. 2012. Bayesian probabilistic population projections for all countries. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109 (35):13915–13921; Gerland, P., A. E. Raftery, H. Sevcikova, N. Li, D. A. Gu, T. Spoorenberg, L. Alkema, B. K. Fosdick, J. Chunn, N. Lalic, G. Bay, T. Buettner, G. K. Heilig, and J. Wilmoth. 2014. World population stabilization unlikely this century. Science 346 (6206):234–237.

23. At the highest end of economic development and social service provision, a “rebound” has been observed, with incremental increases in fertility in countries like Sweden and Norway. Even so, this only follows sustained declines and is largely irrelevant for a vast majority of the Earth’s human populations. Myrskylae, M., H.-P. Kohler, and F. C. Billari. 2009. Advances in development reverse fertility declines. Nature 460 (7256):741–743.

24. Harvey, D. 1974. Population, resources and the ideology of science. Economic Geography 50 (3):273.