During the roughly three decades covered by this volume, the population of Latin America grew by more than two and a quarter times—from under 154 million to over 357 million—fueling the most rapid and massive shift in population from rural to urban areas in human history. Scholars have scarcely scratched the surface of the manifold implications of these demographic changes within the ecological, economic, political, psychological, and sociological dimensions of Latin American reality. Perhaps this book will prompt more research of this kind.

Geographer Richard Wilkie has drawn together here more useful information about the specific characteristics of this unprecedented demographic upheaval than can be found in any other single source. Moreover, he presents these data with admirable clarity and consistency both for the major regions of the area and for each of the 20 countries individually. He accompanies these graphic and tabular presentations with a wealth of photographs, which alone would make the volume of considerable interest. A further especially helpful feature is the three-dimensional, computer-drawn maps displaying by various civil divisions total population, population density, and population change between the two most recent censuses.

The only unevenness in the hook derives unavoidably from the irregularity and delays of some countries in taking and processing their censuses. In spite of this occasional annoyance, however, the book is a truly indispensable reference tool with the unique characteristic of being almost equally fascinating and informative for both scholars and beginning students.