Demography (from prefix ''demo-'' from
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: Mycenaean Greek (), Dark Ages (), the Archaic period ...
δῆμος (''dēmos'') meaning 'the people', and ''-graphy'' from γράφω (''graphō'') meaning 'writing, description or measurement') is the
statistical study A statistical hypothesis is a hypothesis that is testable on the basis of observed data modelled as the realised values taken by a collection of random variables. A set of data is modelled as being realised values of a collection of random variab ...
population In biology, a population is a number of all the organisms of the same group or species who live in a particular geographical area and are capable of interbreeding. The area of a sexual population is the area where inter-breeding is possible bet ...
s, especially
human beings Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. They are the only extant members ...

human beings
Demographic analysis Demographic analysis includes the things that allow us to measure the dimensions and dynamics of populations. These methods have primarily been developed to study human populations, but are extended to a variety of areas where researchers want t ...
can cover whole societies or groups defined by criteria such as
education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, morals, beliefs, and habits. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelling, discussion and directed research. Education fr ...
nationality Nationality is a legal identification of a person in international law, establishing the person as a subject, a ''national'', of a sovereign state. It affords the state jurisdiction over the person and affords the person the protection of the st ...
religion Religion is a social-cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, and spiritual elem ...
, and
ethnicity An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups such as a common set of traditions, ancestry, language, history, society, culture, nation, ...
. Educational institutions usually treat demography as a field of
sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical ...
, though there are a number of independent demography departments. Patient demographics form the core of the data for any medical institution,such as patient and emergency contact information and patient medical record data. They allow for the identification of a patient and his categorization into categories for the purpose of statistical analysis. Patient demographics include:
Date of birth A birthday is the anniversary of the birth of a person, or figuratively of an institution. Birthdays of people are celebrated in numerous cultures, often with birthday gifts, birthday cards, a birthday party, or a rite of passage. Many religi ...
gender Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between, femininity and masculinity. Depending on the context, these characteristics may include biological sex, sex-based social structures (i.e., gender roles), or gende ...
(Ref: Google Health),Date of
death (1906) Death is the permanent, Irreversible process, irreversible cessation of all biological functions that sustain a living organism. Brain death is sometimes used as a legal definition of death. The remains of a previously living organism ...
, postal code,
ethnicity An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups such as a common set of traditions, ancestry, language, history, society, culture, nation, ...
blood type A blood type (also known as a blood group) is a classification of blood, based on the presence and absence of antibodies and inherited antigenic substances on the surface of red blood cells (RBCs). These antigens may be proteins, carbohydrates, g ...
(Ref: Microsoft HealthVault: Personal Demographic Information, Basic Demographic Information), Emergency contact information, family doctor, insurance provider data,
Allergies Allergies, also known as allergic diseases, are a number of conditions caused by hypersensitivity of the immune system to typically harmless substances in the environment. These diseases include hay fever, food allergies, atopic dermatitis, alle ...
, major diagnoses and major medical history. Formal demography limits its object of study to the measurement of population processes, while the broader field of social demography or population studies also analyses the relationships between economic, social, cultural, and biological processes influencing a population.


Demographic thoughts traced back to antiquity, and were present in many civilisations and cultures, like
Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of antiquity ( AD 600). This era was immediately followed by the Early Middle ...
Ancient Rome In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom (753 BC–509 BC), Rom ...
China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.4 billion. Covering approximately 9.6 million square kilometers (3.7 million m ...
India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the second-most populous country, the seventh-largest country by land area, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Oce ...

.S.C.Srivastava,''Studies in Demography'', p.39-41
/ref> Demography is made up of two word Demos and Graphy . The term Demography refers to the overall study of population. In ancient Greece, this can be found in the writings of
Herodotus Herodotus (; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, ''Hēródotos'', ; BC) was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus in the Persian Empire (modern-day Bodrum, Turkey). He is known for having written the book ''The Histories'' ( grc, Ἱσ ...
, Thucidides, Hippocrates, Epicurus, Protagoras, Polus, Plato and Aristotle. In Rome, writers and philosophers like Cicero, Seneca the Younger, Seneca, Pliny the elder, Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, Cato the Elder, Cato, and Columella also expressed important ideas on this ground. In the Middle ages, Christian thinkers devoted much time in refuting the Classical ideas on demography. Important contributors to the field were William of Conches,Peter Biller,''The measure of multitude: Population in medieval thought

Bartholomew of Lucca, William of Auvergne, Bishop of Paris, William of Auvergne, William of Pagula, and Muslim sociologists like Ibn Khaldun. One of the earliest demographic studies in the modern period was ''Natural and Political Observations Made upon the Bills of Mortality'' (1662) by John Graunt, which contains a primitive form of actuarial table, life table. Among the study's findings were that one third of the children in London died before their sixteenth birthday. Mathematicians, such as Edmond Halley, developed the life table as the basis for life insurance mathematics. Richard Price was credited with the first textbook on life contingencies published in 1771, followed later by Augustus de Morgan, ‘On the Application of Probabilities to Life Contingencies’ (1838). In 1755, Benjamin Franklin published his essay ''Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind, Peopling of Countries, etc.'', projecting exponential growth in British colonies. His work influenced Thomas Robert Malthus, who, writing at the end of the 18th century, feared that, if unchecked, population growth would tend to outstrip growth in food production, leading to ever-increasing famine and poverty (see Malthusian catastrophe). Malthus is seen as the intellectual father of ideas of Human overpopulation, overpopulation and the limits to growth. Later, more sophisticated and realistic models were presented by Benjamin Gompertz and Pierre François Verhulst, Verhulst. In 1855, a Belgian scholar Achille Guillard defined demography as the natural and social history of human species or the mathematical knowledge of populations, of their general changes, and of their physical, civil, intellectual and moral condition. The period 1860-1910 can be characterised as a period of transition wherein demography emerged from statistics as a separate field of interest. This period included a panoply of international ‘great demographers’ like Adolphe Quételet (1796–1874), William Farr (1807–1883), Louis-Adolphe Bertillon (1821–1883) and his son Jacques Bertillon, Jacques (1851–1922), Joseph Körösi (1844–1906), Anders Nicolas Kaier (1838–1919), Richard Böckh (1824–1907), Émile Durkheim (1858-1917), Wilhelm Lexis (1837–1914), and Luigi Bodio (1840–1920) contributed to the development of demography and to the toolkit of methods and techniques of demographic analysis.


There are two types of data collection—direct and indirect—with several different methods of each type.

Direct methods

Direct data comes from vital statistics registries that track all births and deaths as well as certain changes in legal status such as marriage, divorce, and migration (registration of place of residence). In developed countries with good registration systems (such as the United States and much of Europe), registry statistics are the best method for estimating the number of births and deaths. A census is the other common direct method of collecting demographic data. A census is usually conducted by a national government and attempts to enumerate every person in a country. In contrast to vital statistics data, which are typically collected continuously and summarized on an annual basis, censuses typically occur only every 10 years or so, and thus are not usually the best source of data on births and deaths. Analyses are conducted after a census to estimate how much over or undercounting took place. These compare the sex ratios from the census data to those estimated from natural values and mortality data. Censuses do more than just count people. They typically collect information about families or households in addition to individual characteristics such as age, sex, marital status, literacy/education, employment status, and occupation, and geographical location. They may also collect data on migration (or place of birth or of previous residence), language, religion, nationality (or ethnicity or race), and citizenship. In countries in which the vital registration system may be incomplete, the censuses are also used as a direct source of information about fertility and mortality; for example the censuses of the People's Republic of China gather information on births and deaths that occurred in the 18 months immediately preceding the census.

Indirect methods

Indirect methods of collecting data are required in countries and periods where full data are not available, such as is the case in much of the developing world, and most of historical demography. One of these techniques in contemporary demography is the sister method, where survey researchers ask women how many of their sisters have died or had children and at what age. With these surveys, researchers can then indirectly estimate birth or death rates for the entire population. Other indirect methods in contemporary demography include asking people about siblings, parents, and children. Other indirect methods are necessary in historical demography. There are a variety of demographic methods for modelling population processes. They include models of mortality (including the life table, Gompertz curve, Gompertz models, Proportional hazards models, hazards models, Proportional hazards models, Cox proportional hazards models, Decrement table, multiple decrement life tables, Brass relational logits), fertility (Hernes model, Ansley J. Coale, Coale-Trussell models, parity progression ratios), marriage (Singulate Mean at Marriage, Page model), disability (Sullivan's method, multistate life tables), population projections (Lee–Carter model, Lee-Carter model, the Leslie matrix, Leslie Matrix), and population momentum (Nathan Keyfitz, Keyfitz). The United Kingdom has a series of four national birth cohort studies, the first three spaced apart by 12 years: the 1946 National Survey of Health and Development, the 1958 National Child Development Study, the 1970 British Cohort Study, and the Millennium Cohort Study, begun much more recently in 2000. These have followed the lives of samples of people (typically beginning with around 17,000 in each study) for many years, and are still continuing. As the samples have been drawn in a nationally representative way, inferences can be drawn from these studies about the differences between four distinct generations of British people in terms of their health, education, attitudes, childbearing and employment patterns.

Common rates and ratios

* The crude birth rate, the annual number of live births per 1,000 people. * The general fertility rate, the annual number of live births per 1,000 women of childbearing age (often taken to be from 15 to 49 years old, but sometimes from 15 to 44). * The age-specific fertility rates, the annual number of live births per 1,000 women in particular age groups (usually age 15–19, 20-24 etc.) * The crude death rate, the annual number of deaths per 1,000 people. * The infant mortality rate, the annual number of deaths of children less than 1 year old per 1,000 live births. * The expectation of life (or life expectancy), the number of years that an individual at a given age could expect to live at present mortality levels. * The total fertility rate, the number of live births per woman completing her reproductive life, if her childbearing at each age reflected current age-specific fertility rates. * The replacement level fertility, the average number of children women must have in order to replace the population for the next generation. For example, the replacement level fertility in the US is 2.11.Introduction to environmental engineering and science by Masters and Ela, 2008, Pearson Education, chapter 3 * The gross reproduction rate, the number of daughters who would be born to a woman completing her reproductive life at current age-specific fertility rates. * The net reproduction ratio is the expected number of daughters, per newborn prospective mother, who may or may not survive to and through the ages of childbearing. * A stable population, one that has had constant crude birth and death rates for such a long period of time that the percentage of people in every age class remains constant, or equivalently, the population pyramid has an unchanging structure. * A stationary population, one that is both stable and unchanging in size (the difference between crude birth rate and crude death rate is zero). A stable population does not necessarily remain fixed in size. It can be expanding or shrinking. Note that the crude death rate as defined above and applied to a whole population can give a misleading impression. For example, the number of deaths per 1,000 people can be higher for developed nations than in less-developed countries, despite standards of health being better in developed countries. This is because developed countries have proportionally more older people, who are more likely to die in a given year, so that the overall mortality rate can be higher even if the mortality rate at any given age is lower. A more complete picture of mortality is given by a life table, which summarizes mortality separately at each age. A life table is necessary to give a good estimate of life expectancy.

Basic equation regarding development of a population

Suppose that a country (or other entity) contains ''Populationt'' persons at time ''t''. What is the size of the population at time ''t'' + 1 ? :\text_ = \text_t + \text_t + \text_t Natural increase from time ''t'' to ''t'' + 1: :\text_t = \text_t - \text_t Net migration from time ''t'' to ''t'' + 1: :\text_t = \text_t - \text_t These basic equations can also be applied to subpopulations. For example, the population size of ethnic groups or nationalities within a given society or country is subject to the same sources of change. When dealing with ethnic groups, however, "net migration" might have to be subdivided into physical migration and ethnic reidentification (Cultural assimilation, assimilation). Individuals who change their ethnic self-labels or whose ethnic classification in government statistics changes over time may be thought of as migrating or moving from one population subcategory to another. More generally, while the basic demographic equation holds true by definition, in practice the recording and counting of events (births, deaths, immigration, emigration) and the enumeration of the total population size are subject to error. So allowance needs to be made for error in the underlying statistics when any accounting of population size or change is made. The figure in this section shows the latest (2004) UN projections of world population out to the year 2150 (red = high, orange = medium, green = low). The UN "medium" projection shows world population reaching an approximate equilibrium at 9 billion by 2075. Working independently, demographers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria expect world population to peak at 9 billion by 2070. Throughout the 21st century, the average age of the population is likely to continue to rise.

Science of population

Populations can change through three processes: fertility, mortality, and migration. Fertility involves the number of children that women have and is to be contrasted with fecundity (a woman's childbearing potential). Mortality is the study of the causes, consequences, and measurement of processes affecting death to members of the population. Demographers most commonly study mortality using the Life Table, a statistical device that provides information about the mortality conditions (most notably the life expectancy) in the population. Migration refers to the movement of persons from a locality of origin to a destination place across some predefined, political boundary. Migration researchers do not designate movements 'migrations' unless they are somewhat permanent. Thus demographers do not consider tourists and travellers to be migrating. While demographers who study migration typically do so through census data on place of residence, indirect sources of data including tax forms and labour force surveys are also important. Demography is today widely taught in many universities across the world, attracting students with initial training in social sciences, statistics or health studies. Being at the crossroads of several disciplines such as
sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical ...
, economics, epidemiology, geography, anthropology and history, demography offers tools to approach a large range of population issues by combining a more technical quantitative approach that represents the core of the discipline with many other methods borrowed from social or other sciences. Demographic research is conducted in universities, in research institutes as well as in statistical departments and in several international agencies. Population institutions are part of the Cicred (International Committee for Coordination of Demographic Research) network while most individual scientists engaged in demographic research are members of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population, or a national association such as the Population Association of America in the United States, or affiliates of the Federation of Canadian Demographers in Canada.Canadian Population Society

See also

* Biodemography *Biodemography of human longevity * Demographics of the world * Demographic economics * Gompertz–Makeham law of mortality * Linguistic demography * List of demographics articles * Medieval demography * National Security Study Memorandum 200 of 1974 * NRS social grade * Political demography * Population biology * Population dynamics * Population geography * Population reconstruction * Population statistics * Religious demography * Replacement migration * Reproductive health

Social surveys

* Current Population Survey (CPS) * Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) * European Social Survey (ESS) * General Social Survey (GSS) * German General Social Survey (ALLBUS) * Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) * National Longitudinal Survey (NLS) * Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) * PMA2020, Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020 (PMA2020) * Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP, German) * World Values Survey (WVS)


* Global Social Change Research Project (United States) * Institut national d'études démographiques (INED) (France) * Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (Germany) * Office of Population Research (Princeton University) (United States) * Population Council (United States) * Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan (United States) * Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) (Austria) * Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital (Austria)

Scientific journals

* ''Brazilian Journal of Population Studies'' * ''Cahiers québécois de démographie'' * ''Demography (journal), Demography'' * ''Population and Development Review''


Further reading

* Josef Ehmer, Jens Ehrhardt, Martin Kohli (Eds.)
''Fertility in the History of the 20th Century: Trends, Theories, Policies, Discourses''
Historical Social Research 36 (2), 2011. * Glad, John. 2008.
Future Human Evolution: Eugenics in the Twenty-First Century
'. Hermitage Publishers, * Gavrilova N.S., Gavrilov L.A. 2011. Ageing and Longevity: Mortality Laws and Mortality Forecasts for Ageing Populations [In Czech: Stárnutí a dlouhověkost: Zákony a prognózy úmrtnosti pro stárnoucí populace]. Demografie, 53(2): 109–128. * Preston, Samuel, Patrick Heuveline, and Michel Guillot. 2000. ''Demography: Measuring and Modeling Population Processes''. Blackwell Publishing. * Gavrilov L.A., Gavrilova N.S. 2010. Demographic Consequences of Defeating Aging. Rejuvenation Research, 13(2-3): 329–334. * Paul R. Ehrlich (1968), ''The Population Bomb'' Controversial Neo-Malthusianist pamphlet * Leonid A. Gavrilov & Natalia S. Gavrilova (1991), ''The Biology of Life Span: A Quantitative Approach''. New York: Harwood Academic Publisher, * Uhlenberg P. (Editor), (2009) International Handbook of the Demography of Aging, New York: Springer-Verlag, pp. 113–131. * Paul Demeny and Geoffrey McNicoll (Eds.). 2003. The Encyclopedia of Population. New York, Macmillan Reference USA, vol.1, 32-37 * Phillip Longman (2004), ''The Empty Cradle: how falling birth rates threaten global prosperity and what to do about it'' * Sven Kunisch, Stephan A. Boehm, Michael Boppel (eds) (2011). ''From Grey to Silver: Managing the Demographic Change Successfully'', Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg, * Joe McFalls (2007),
Population: A Lively Introduction
'' Population Reference Bureau * Ben J. Wattenberg (2004), ''How the New Demography of Depopulation Will Shape Our Future''. Chicago: R. Dee,

External links

Quick demography data lookup
Links to historical demographic and economic statistics


Population estimates and projections for 230 countries and areas *

Estimates and projections of urban and rural populations and urban agglomerations *

Probabilistic Population Projections, based on the 2010 Revision of the World Population Prospects.

* [http://gsociology.icaap.org/report/demsum.html Brief review of world basic demographic trends]
Family and Fertility Surveys
Population Division
(DESA) (United Nations) {{Authority control Demography, Actuarial science Environmental social science Interdisciplinary subfields of sociology Human geography Market segmentation Human populations