What to Expect When

Jonathan V. Last is a senior writer at The Weekly Standard in Washington. His writings have been featured in The Wall Street JournalThe Los Angeles TimesThe Washington PostThe Philadelphia InquirerThe New York PostThe Claremont Review of Books, First Things, The Week,SalonSlateTV Guide, and elsewhere.

His book on fertility and demographics, What to Expect When No One’s Expecting, is published by Encounter. You can order it now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, and Books-a-Million. And become a friend of the book (or JVL) on Goodreads.

What people are saying about What to Expect When No One’s Expecting:

Jay Evensen, “Overpopulation? We Should Be So Lucky,” Deseret News, February 7, 2013.

Interview on The Blaze Real News, February 6, 2013

Interview on Fox Business Channel Tonight with Lou Dobbs, February 5, 2013

Stanley Kurtz, National Review Online, February 5, 2013

10 Questions with the Daily Caller, February 5, 2013

Interview on CBS This Morning, February 5, 2013

Coffee and Markets Podcast, February 5, 2013

National Review “Between the Covers,” podcast February 5, 2013

Laura Vanderkam, “What to Expect,” February 4, 2013

After Words, C-SPAN2, February 2, 2013

Austin Ruse, “No Babies, No Future,” Crisis magazine, February 1, 2013

Heather Wilhelm, “When Babies Disappear,” RealClearBooks, January 14, 2013

Les Sillars, “America’s Baby Bust,” World magazine, December 19, 2012

Jeff Jacoby, “The Baby Bust Generation,” Boston Globe, December 16, 2012

More JVL on Demographics:

The “Overpopulation” Hoax, The Daily, May 2, 2012

On Wrongful Birth, The Weekly Standard, April 30, 2012

Demography Is Destiny, The Weekly Standard, April 23, 2012

America’s One-Child Policy: A Very Special Episode

7 Billion People, The Weekly Standard, November 14, 2011

China’s Lost Girls, The Weekly Standard, September 26, 2011

The U.N.’s Imaginary Babies, Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2011

Child’s Play with Numbers, WeeklyStandard.com, August 3, 2011

The War Against Girls, Wall Street Journal, June 24, 2011

Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids, Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2011

Ted, Teddy, and the Natalist Impulse, WeeklyStandard.com, December 7, 2010.

America’s One-Child PolicyThe Weekly Standard, September 27, 2010

There Goes the NeighborhoodThe Weekly Standard, September 13, 2010

The Depopulation of GreenlandThe Weekly Standard, May 17, 2010

Duggar EconomicsWall Street Journal, September 18, 2009

The Population Sink, The Weekly Standard, June 7, 2006.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Philip Hoppe February 2, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Why is this not available on Kindle?


stephanie lambert February 2, 2013 at 10:35 pm

Hi Jonathan,

It’s not hard to increase American population, however; America is more focused on individual success and not the family unit. I’d like to make a suggestion/opinion regarding how to increase the population of Americans and that is to create a society that values family, maternity/paternity leave of a year (just like our friends across the pond), public bathrooms with little toilets and sinks for little people, public places for nursing mothers to nurse their babies. Also, if 1.5 million women weren’t turning to abortion because they feel so unsupported by those close to them and our society, you would also see the population increase. Just some ideas….

American government and our society do not support the family unit, when compared to other societies/countries throughout the world. Women can not do it all based on what they have to work with here in America, there is very little support for women and children of all income levels (welfare/wic families are offered more support than any other income level in America and it should be equal for all women and children).

Treat women better and trust me there will be more children.



Christine February 5, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Maybe, you need to do a little more research. America has a much higher birth rate than any of the countries “across the pond”. Or our neighbor to the North, or our neighbor to the South. –all this despite the societal and governmental “support”.


Glenn February 2, 2013 at 10:52 pm

You are a fucking NAZI, eugenecist piece of shit. Glenn H


David May 12, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Interesting to see that Godwin’s Law applies here as well.
You haven’t arrived on the Internet until someone calls you a Nazi.

Sadly, the Nazis experimented on living people, so calling someone who talks about people who choose (with no coersion) not to have kids displays an astonishing level of ignorance. Shame on you, Glenn. You know nothing about Nazis, and you make the lives of those of us who try to prevent future Nazi-style policies that much harder.


John Barton February 5, 2013 at 6:26 pm

I heard the interview with Dennis Prager today (02/05/2013). I went to Amazon ready to order the Kindle edition. No Kindle Edition! At least, not yet. I now buy most of my books via Kindle. A little less expensive, but very portable. I can read it on my phone, all three of my computers, via the cloud and on my wife computer and iPad. I will be watching and hope it will be available soon. Fascinating book, especially the head of the Orthodox church in Georgia.


blue eyes gone :( February 10, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Hey john, i predict in the future, once the rest of the world had adopted the western style liberal democracy that highly values individual rights, that there will be a huge conflict between womens reproductive rights (the right to take birth control) and the survival of the human race. Should we take away womens rights?
…..In reality we have never put much effort into raising the fertility rate because we respect individual freedoms to highly. We have never utitilized the power of culture and coercion for such a purpose. Since culture is extremely powerful, i have not doubt we could easily raise the fertility rate.


blue eyes gone :( February 11, 2013 at 10:30 am

Well maybe Glen is right. Direct statist intervention by the Nazi goverment with its Lebensborn program was sucessful and raised the german fertility rate.


Nate February 22, 2013 at 6:49 pm

I don’t see a problem. I see a problem with the opposite. At the rate we are growing, the U.S. will double in 90 years and the World population in 45 years. One can argue there is a difficult arranging for retirement but that is an economic problem not a problem of too few people. If you try to solve that problem with more breeding, you just end up with a bigger problem down the line.


Kate c June 30, 2013 at 7:48 am

Umm yeah nate an economic problem. Meaning you don’t have a future. Because you didn’t have kids in your life to pay for you 20 years down the track.


Russ Cohen February 23, 2013 at 6:08 pm

I have not read this book, but I did read the review of it in the WSJ.

I must respectfully disagree that it is a problem that fertility is dropping- indeed, I hope the trend continues and spreads more widely among all the peoples of the earth. Most problems the earth and the current human population on earth are experiencing are exacerbated by the enormous number of humans on the earth. Traffic, air and water pollution, resource depletion, hunger, violence, war, etc. are all made worse by too many people. Yes, there will be a temporary period (40 years or so) when the needs of aging baby boomers will place strains on relatively fewer young people following them – but after then the earth’s human population can stabilize at a lower and more sustainable number.


Kate c June 30, 2013 at 7:53 am

So you think the two younger generations should go through 40 years if Pharoa type enslavement by boomer corporate shareholders and superannuation for 40 years for grandchildren most will never meet?

You wouldn’t prune the bad wormed and crusty super-old apples off the tree of life instead?


Zahir March 2, 2013 at 12:12 am

Heard your program on WPR with Joy Cardin. Very interesting perspective. But counter to my current thoughts primarily due to the environmental issue. I believe increasing population might cause an even bigger environmental disaster. I would be interested in your perspective on some of the system dynamics models that have been developed on this subject. If you need references I would be happy to provide some. Thanks again for a thought provoking interview.


Sunny March 30, 2013 at 2:55 pm

All this does is PROVE that the post I put a few weeks ago is TRUE. The GOVERNMENT is accomplishing what they have set out to accomplish. ALSO, I’m sure that the 50,000,000 babies murdered have contributed to this decline. ALSO, the plan of Sanger, a racist of the first order, who was given accolades for her plan to murder minority babies.

For anyone who needs PROOF that our government PLANNED(along with the United Nations) to REDUCE fertility and goodness KNOWS what else, here it is again. EDUCATE YOURSELVES!!!! THE LINK TO OUR GOVERNMENT’S DECLASSIFIED OFFICIALS DOCS IS LINKED BELOW THIS PARAGRAPH. “How about this, where our government works with the UN for population control….and people think Agenda 21 is nonsense….THIS document is FROM OUR OWN GOVERNMENT ARCHIVES…on our OWN government’s website….and THE PEOPLE STILL REFUSE TO BELIEVE… I QUOTE, “31. The World Population Plan of Action and the resolutions adopted by consensus by 137 nations at the August 1974 U.N. World Population Conference, though not ideal, provide an excellent framework for developing a worldwide system of population/ family planning programs. We should use them to generate U.N. agency and national leadership for an all-out effort to lower growth rates.” and “There is an alternative view which holds that a growing number of experts believe that the population situation is already more serious and less amenable to solution through voluntary measures than is generally accepted……A number of major actions in the area of creating conditions for fertility decline can be funded from resources available to the sectors in question (e.g., education, agriculture).” WHAT THE CRAP DOES THAT MEAN???? Check it out if you can’t believe our US government would WRITE/PLAN something like this….and it IS on our government website….it was DECLASSIFIED in 1989. Read it….there are LOTS more offensive things in there….wonder why these documents aren’t taught in schools?”


and how about this lovely statement, ” “It holds that, to prevent even more widespread food shortage and other demographic catastrophes than are generally anticipated, even stronger measures are required and SOME FUNDAMENTAL, VERY DIFFICULT MORAL ISSUES NEED TO BE ADDRESSED”. (emphasis mine)


David May 12, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Sorry, Sunny. I can’t hear you through your shouting.
Good writers don’t need to use all-caps to emphasize; good writers let the words speak for themselves.
Plus, when you, yourself, shout that you don’t know “what the crap” something means, why should anyone else take you seriously?
Oh, and learn how to use quotation marks. Please. I beg you.


Kate c June 30, 2013 at 7:47 am



Janet Baker August 3, 2013 at 8:30 am

David, please reply to content.


Janet Baker June 23, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Mr. Last–don’t promote Amazon! Don’t you know Jeff Bezos gave a huge donation to the cause of homosexual marriage? Take the pledge like I did, and I’m sticking to it!!!



Tom Gagne October 24, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Just started the book today and am a little upset. I’ve been working on an article on my grand unified theory of societal breakdown since the 1950s and had started some work on pets and children.

Then I listened to your forward and didn’t know whether to pat myself on the back or knock you upside the head.

Chapter 3’s observation about the breakdown of familial inter-dependency was a little short. I think you could have elaborated on that, but perhaps that’s a subject all to itself and didn’t fit the narrative of the book.

Regardless, I’m glad I heard your interview at one of the Federalist events podcasts. $1.1 million to raise a child to adulthood? All while paying a greater percentage in taxes?

And having children being an act of consumption? Dang! Interesting observations.


Glenn Burkhardt April 13, 2014 at 10:02 am

Long term population control is the world’s most important long term problem. The world’s population cannot increase indefinitely, which is where Mr. Last’s thesis leads. Although there are problems with supporting pensioners as a population declines, there are so many other problems that are made more tractable, mostly to do with availability of resources. With a smaller population, demands on the fuel supply, housing, food, building materials all decrease. Pollution problems, even climate change becomes more tractable. Short term problems are created by a declining population, but the coming demographic disaster is due to increasing population. Countries that reduce their population are to be applauded as contributing to humanity’s long term survival.


Dave May 14, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Glenn, your notions are romantic and non-scientific. Demographers know – and there is no debate – that declining populations cause declining standards of living, health and life expectancy. If you do not have at least 2.33 replacement rate, then you end up much closer to resource and labor wars. Russia’s actions in Ukraine and the caucasus region are directly attributable to their demographic implosion. Population growth world wide has been tanking for over 30 years and is getting to the point where additional military conflicts will occur as a result. The idea of demands on fuel, housing, building decreasing and that’s a good thing is just simply historically and scientifically wrong and fantasy. What declines is the ability to supply things like food, medicine, housing because workers – and automation is obviously not a solution here – resulting in lowering standards of living and decreasing health when all of these things are rationed. We have plenty of resources and plenty of space. The planet can easily support 2 to 3 times it’s current population. We just all live near the beach in terms of population distribution so that’s why so many feel the planet is crowded. It’s simply not true. All of the dire warnings of the “population bomb” crowd since the 1960s have proven to be 100% wrong. The demographic implosion is the most serious crisis facing the west in particular and will lead to an increase in war, famine and societal degradation.


Janet Baker August 20, 2014 at 10:44 am

Oh thank you, Dave! Thank you! Now, if you would add a restoration of the ultimate medieval economy, where ownership was widely distributed, there’d be an answer to the very valid objection of the Kate c’s of the world that women slaves are being asked to deepen their enslavement by giving birth to more slaves.

All this began with that awful, greedy, bloody rebellion called the Reformation, and our reset command must pre-date the economy and culture that resulted.


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