Latest Issue

Demography is destiny. In 1821, England’s population (11m) was less than double that of Ireland (6.8m). Imagine an alternative history in which over the following 200 years, the rapid divergence between the two countries did not occur, so that England’s population might today be about 30m (as opposed to 51m) and Ireland’s 15m (as opposed to 4m, excluding Ulster). Britain would have been a more ordinary European country. It would not have had an empire—or not such a big one—and would not have been so militarily or economically successful. Ireland’s alternative demography would probably have required it to win independence…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect