What to Expect When No One's Expecting

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What to Expect When No One's Expecting: America's Coming Demographic Disaster is a book by the Weekly Standard columnist Jonathan V. Last about declining birthrates in the United States and elsewhere around the world and the implications for demographics and the functioning of society and the economy (hardcover release February 2013, paperback release June 2014).[1]


Media appearances, interviews, and self-promotion[edit]

Last wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal summarizing the key themes of his book.[2]

Last was interviewed by Kathryn Jean Lopez for National Review.[3] He was also appeared to discuss the book on John Stossel's show on the Fox Business Network[4] and on MSNBC's program The Cycle.[5]

Detailed reviews[edit]

Nick Gillespie, editor of Reason Magazine, reviewed the book on Bookforum, saying that he was convinced by Last's argument that birthrates were declining and there was not much that could be done about it, but found Last's account of the negative consequences exaggerated.[6][7]

David Desrosiers reviewed the book favorably for Washington Times, writing that Last has argued that declining birthrates are largely a consequence of the changes set in motion by the Enlightenment rather than of any specific government policies, though policies by US liberals may have sped up the decline.[8] Stanley Kurtz and Bradford Wilcox wrote separate reviews of the book for National Review.[9]

William McGurn, editor of the New York Post, reviewed the book favorably for the Wall Street Journal, but was critical of Last for having too much confidence in his pessimistic scenarios. McGurn concluded: "In theory, it's all certainly possible. But as Mr. Last reminds us, we do well to be modest about our predictions. Because the one thing the math tells us is this: We've never been here before."[10]

Walter Russell Mead reviewed the book for Foreign Affairs.[11]

Joel E. Cohen reviewed the book for The New York Review of Books.[12]


Elizabeth Kolbert discussed the book along with many others in an article for The New Yorker about population.[13] Last wrote a response to Kolbert's review,[14] and Daniel Halper concurred with Last's assessment of the review, claiming that Kolbert "gets it completely wrong."[15]

A New York Times article in April 2013 listed Last's book as one of many that was raising a "false alarm" about declining US fertility.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Last, Jonathan. What to Expect When No One's Expecting: America's Coming Demographic Disaster. Encounter Books. ISBN 978-1594037313.
  2. ^ Last, Jonathan V. (February 12, 2013). "America's Baby Bust: The nation's falling fertility rate is the root cause of many of our problems. And it's only getting worse". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  3. ^ Lopez, Kathryn Jean (February 21, 2013). "Disaster Coming? The dark clouds of demography". National Review. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  4. ^ Stossel, John. "Why Fewer Babies Could Hurt the Economy". Fox Business Network.
  5. ^ "Jonathan Last Discusses America's Baby Bust". Washington Free Beacon. February 28, 2013. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  6. ^ Gillespie, Nick (April–May 2013). "Let It Breed: A conservative author finds economic peril in population decline". Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  7. ^ Gillespie, Nick (March 28, 2013). "Nick Gillespie on What to Expect When No One's Expecting: America's Coming Demographic Disaster". Reason Magazine (Hit and Run blog). Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  8. ^ DesRosiers, David (March 4, 2013). "BOOK REVIEW: 'What to Expect When No One's Expecting'". Washington Times. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  9. ^ Kurtz, Stanley (February 5, 2013). "Jonathan Last's What to Expect When No One's Expecting". Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  10. ^ McGurn, William (February 20, 2013). "The Children Of Men: For decades we've been warned about the dangers of overpopulation. The real threat to our future, argues Jonathan V. Last, is that we are not having enough babies". Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  11. ^ Mead, Walter Russell (May–June 2013). "What to Expect When No One's Expecting: America's Coming Demographic Disaster By Jonathan V. Last". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  12. ^ The Case for More Babies April 24, 2014 issue of The New York Review of Books
  13. ^ Kolbert, Elizabeth (October 21, 2013). "Head Count: Fertilizer, fertility, and the clashes over population growth". The New Yorker. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  14. ^ Last, Jonathan V. (October 16, 2013). "The New Yorker and 'What to Expect'". Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  15. ^ Halper, Daniel (October 16, 2014). "New Yorker Botches 'What to Expect'". Weekly Standard. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  16. ^ Hoff, Derek S. (April 17, 2013). "The False Alarm Over U.S. Fertility". New York Times. Retrieved February 18, 2014.