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  • © 2022

International Handbook of Population Policies

  • Examines contemporary population policies, their evolution, and their prospects

  • Addresses key population challenges globally

  • Provides an up-to-date review of theoretical concepts and policy

Part of the book series: International Handbooks of Population (IHOP, volume 11)

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  • ISBN: 978-3-031-02040-7
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Hardcover Book USD 279.99
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Table of contents (37 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xxiv
  2. Theoretical Foundations

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 1-1
    2. Contemporary Population Issues

      • Jack A. Goldstone, John F. May
      Pages 3-19
    3. Population Policies Framework

      • Karen Hardee
      Pages 21-40
    4. Population, Burden of Disease, and Health Services

      • Vincent Turbat, Rebecca Gribble, Wu Zeng
      Pages 59-77
    5. Population, Development, and Policy

      • John Bongaarts, Michele Gragnolati, Syud Amer Ahmed, Jamaica Corker
      Pages 79-107
    6. Population Dynamics and the Environment: The Demo-climatic Transition

      • Alisson Flávio Barbieri, William K. Pan
      Pages 109-130
    7. Population and Food System Sustainability

      • George Mergos
      Pages 131-155
  3. Empirical Evidence

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 157-157
    2. Sub-Saharan Africa: Slow Fertility Transitions Despite Policy Efforts

      • Aristide Romaric Bado, Jean-Pierre Guengant, Hamidou Issaka Maga
      Pages 159-182
    3. Demographic Features in West Asian and North African Countries: The Impact of Population Policies

      • Mehtab S. Karim, Elena Ambrosetti, Zahia Ouadah-Bedidi
      Pages 229-254
    4. Population Policies in East Asia and Oceania

      • Zilin Li, Rachel Ganly, Christian Joy Pattawi Cruz, Jason Tsz Him Cheung, Stuart Gietel-Basten
      Pages 277-312
    5. Population Institutions and International Population Conferences

      • Stan Bernstein, Karen Hardee, John F. May, Marianne Haslegrave
      Pages 337-364
  4. Policy Levers and Modelling

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 365-365
    2. Data Collection for Population Policies

      • Thomas Spoorenberg
      Pages 367-382

About this book

This Handbook offers an array of internationally recognized experts’ essays that provide a current and comprehensive examination of all dimensions of international population policies. The book examines the theoretical foundations, the historical and empirical evidence for policy formation, the policy levers and modelling, as well as the new policy challenges. The section Theoretical Foundations reviews population issues today, population theories, the population policies’ framework as well as the linkages between population, development, health, food systems, and the environment. The next section Empirical Evidence discusses international approaches to design and implement population policies on a regional level. The section Policy Levers and Modelling reviews the tools and the policy levers that are available to design, implement, monitor, and measure the impact of population policies. Finally, the section New Policy Challenges examines the recurrent and emerging issues in population policies. This section also discusses prospects for demographic sustainability as well as future considerations for population policies. As such this Handbook provides an important and structured examination of contemporary population policies, their evolution, and their prospects.


  • Population Policies
  • Migration Policies
  • Population Aging
  • Demographic Dividend
  • International Development
  • Demography
  • Fertility
  • Mortality
  • Migration
  • Population health
  • Labor Force
  • Reproductive Rights


“A wide audience ranging from interested laypersons, to students, specialists, and policymakers can benefit from reading this Handbook. It is a welcome addition to the growing literature on population policy options, which have become increasingly complex and yet essential for improving human welfare.” (John Bongaarts, Distinguished Scholar, The Population Council) 

“In today’s world, population policies exist to address unprecedentedly diverse demographic circumstances. Thus, some countries have young and rapidly-growing populations, while others are aging and face the prospect of population decline. In addition, there are many other dimensions of the diversity—for example, relating to health conditions, economic growth, education, employment, migration, urbanization, and the environment. Against this multifarious and complex backcloth, the International Handbook of Population Policies constitutes an authoritative and absolutely indispensable resource. The volume’s thirty-six chapters, written by distinguished experts, give appropriate weight to both historical context and the future challenges which lie ahead. Research and teaching in the field of population policies is permanently enriched by this Handbook.” (Tim Dyson, Professor Emeritus of Population Studies, The London School of Economics and Political Science) 

“Population policies have always stirred passion and controversy, dealing as they do with life, death, sex, contraception, abortion, migration, human rights, women’s rights, political ideologies, religion, nationalisms, colonialisms, identities, food, environment, and many economic and social policies. This volume provides a valuable overview of the current shape of theoretical and empirical research on population policies. Its two co-editors and many contributors include some of the outstanding research leaders from around the world. Its publication is very timely, as unusually rapid changes are currently underway, producing demographic shifts that can be deeply challenging in both political and economic terms. For anyone interested in becoming better informed about such matters, this new Handbook is a fine way to start.” (Michael S. Teitelbaum, Senior Research Associate, Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School) 

“Our world and its approximately 240 countries and territories are in a demographic transition – one that is unprecedented in terms of transitional stages, speed of change, and number of people affected. Given such diversity and complexity it is difficult to plan demography – but one can prepare to manage its effects and seize its opportunities.  Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “To know a nation’s geography is to know its foreign policy.” But it is also true that “To understand a nation’s demography is to know its future!” John May and Jack Goldstone’s excellent International Handbook of Population Policies provides a wealth of knowledge to support policymakers and strategy planners in developing creative and effective policies to shape a better future.” (Hans Groth, Chairman of the Board, World Demographic & Ageing Forum (WDA Forum)) 

“The International Handbook of Population Policies is a wide-ranging, impressive, and entirely welcome contribution to the field. Editors May and Goldstone have produced a major compendium that is likely to stand as a go-to reference source for some time to come.” (Nicholas Eberstadt, Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy, The American Enterprise Institute) 

“The thirty-six thoughtful chapters in this unique International Handbook of Population Policies summarize present understandings of every aspect of population policies. The generous representation of authors from every inhabited continent assures a diversity of viewpoints and interpretations. The editors John F. May and Jack A. Goldstone have given us much to learn and much to use in practice.” (Joel E. Cohen, The Rockefeller University and Columbia University, New York)

“This Handbook is a treasure trove of knowledge and has the most comprehensive coverage of an extremely wide range of issues related to all aspects of population policies substantively and geographically. The Handbook chapters are written by the world's most renowned experts in particular fields. This Handbook is a must not only for professionals involved in population policy formulations but also for those involved in research in demography, economics, health, and other socioeconomic disciplines.” (Sergei Scherbov, Director of Demographic Analysis, Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital) 

“A systematic and comprehensive appraisal of population policies is long overdue. The International Handbook of Population Policies by John May and Jack Goldstone addresses this void and does so most thoroughly. The editors have done a remarkable job putting together a Handbook that covers virtually all the key topics of population policy. Moreover, they have done an even more remarkable job gathering together the most talented scholars to write the chapters. I am convinced that this Handbook will soon become the “bible” of population policy and will be known and accessed by all demographers, political scientists and other scholars seeking a current and comprehensive examination of all dimensions of international population policies.” (Dudley L. Poston, Jr., Texas A&M University)

Editors and Affiliations

  • Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University, Arlington, USA

    John F. May, Jack A. Goldstone

About the editors

John F. May, PhD, a US and Belgian national, is a specialist of population policies and programs. He is currently Research Professor of Public Policy at the Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University, Arlington, VA. Dr. May earned a BA in Modern History (1973) and a MA in Demography (1985) at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium. He received his PhD Summa cum laude from the University of Paris-V (Sorbonne) in 1996. He was a Lead Demographer at the World Bank for 15 years and has worked for the United Nations (Haiti and New Caledonia), as well as for The Futures Group International (now, The Palladium Group), a US consulting firm specializing in demographic modeling and population policy. In addition, he has worked around the world for most international agencies, including the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). He was also a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD) and a Visiting Scholar at the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), both in Washington, DC.

He has published World Population Policies: Their Origin, Evolution, and Impact (Springer, 2012), which received the Population Institute 2012 Global Media Award for best book in population. His recent book, Africa’s Population: In Search of a Demographic Dividend (Springer, 2017), was co-edited with Dr. Hans Groth, Chair of the World Demographic & Ageing Forum (WDA Forum) in St. Gallen, Switzerland. His most recent book Demography and Economic Emergence of Sub-Saharan Africa was written with Dr. Jean-Pierre Guengant (Belgian Royal Academy, 2020). 

Jack A. Goldstone, PhD, is a specialist in political demography and long-term social change. He is currently the Virginia E. and John T. Hazel, Jr., Professor of Public Policy at the Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University, Arlington, VA. Dr. Goldstone has a PhD in Sociology from Harvard University and has also taught at Northwestern University and the University of California. He led a research laboratory on macro-sociology and political demography at the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration in Moscow and been Director of the Institute for Public Policy at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He received the Myron Weiner Award of the International Studies Association for lifetime achievement in the field of political demography. He co-edited Political Demography (Oxford, 2011) with Eric Kaufmann and Monica Duffy Toft, and is working on his next book: 15 Billion: How Population Change will Change the World in the 21st Century.

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

eBook USD 219.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-031-02040-7
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book USD 279.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)