Economists seem to be everywhere; demographers, not so much. As Danny Dorling admits, when demographers like him are asked at parties what they do, sometimes it is easiest just to lie. Their zero-rated public profile seems to reflect the state of their science. People may disagree about what economics has to say but no one doubts there exists a vast body of economic science which must say something. With demography, there is no such certainty and, as the world population passes 8bn, what might charitably be called intuition has rushed into the cognitive vacuum. People argue both that the population is far too big (to feed or for the health of the planet) and, with equal conviction, too small (for economic growth or to look after grandma). So this list of demographic books begins with a primer, laying out the basics of demographic science and explaining what is known, why it matters and where are the contested frontiers.