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Population et Societes. 1991 Dec; (263):1-3.This work contrasts 2 world population atlases published in 1991, 1 the work of a demographer and the other of a geographer. Both works synthesize the concepts of demography as it is currently practiced. The work by the geography, Daniel Noin, (Atlas of World Population) has a more detailed bibliography and glossary and concentrates on the contemporary population situation. The other work (The Population of the World. From Antiquity to 2050), by Jean-Claude Chesnais, takes a historic approach. The 2 works are complementary and neither raises ecological alarms. They stress different issues in their conclusions, Chesnais asking whether the nations of Europe can compensate for their loss of demographic and economic power by regrouping into an entity large enough to maintain influence, Noin identifying fertility decline in the poor countries as the major current demographic challenge. Both authors use the same analytical instrument and rely on UN statistics. The UN, since its origin, has been the site of a confrontation between 2 schools of demographic thought, the American which is preoccupied with rapid population growth in the poor countries, and the French, which stresses fertility decline and demographic aging in the developed countries. The analytical instrument in both cases is the theory of demographic transition, on which both authors have already written. The 2 authors classify the countries differently, 1 identifying 5 stages of transition and the other 3 stages and 8 types of countries. Agreement on the basic phenomenon of the transition is accompanied by some difference of interpretation.