I've copied my answer from someone else's question.
As many people are finding out (the hard way) if you finish the main story line as the good guy by keeping your promises but you finish with a lot of debt, most, if not all, of your villagers are going to die. This means no open shops or stalls, dead bodies lying around cities and towns, and other rather annoying things. You'll also notice there are no children.
As far as I can tell, the only solution to this is to generate massive amounts of wealth BEFORE you finish the story line and donate all (if not most) of your gold to your treasury so you can use it to save your people and keep your promises at the same time. This includes owning all of the inhabitable buildings, shops, playing the lute and baking a lot of pies.
There are few reports of players making their character sleep for several days in hopes that their population will increase. Apparently this works, however, if you decided to have a child tax before the darkness attacked, I don't think this option will work because there are no people to make... well, more people. Get it?