Category Methods

Working with spatial data to generate a consistent demographic time series

In this post, Ilya Kashnitsky shows how we can use freely available data and statistical software to create a consistent demographic time series. NUTS stands for the Nomenclature of Territorial Units For Statistics. The history of NUTS dates back to the beginning of 1970s, when European countries developed unified standards for systems of administrative geography. It was […]

Malaria importation from Africa to China driven by investment and migrant workers

Shangjie Lai writes about the role of migration in transmission routes of malaria between sub-Saharan Africa and China. The international spread of infectious diseases including Plasmodium falciparum malaria has been accelerated by increasing human mobility via air travel over recent decades. An emerging route of P. falciparum infection is from Africa to China by Chinese […]

Elite athletes live longer and age slower – and we have a calculation for it

We know that exercise is good for us, but how does it really benefit our longevity and aging? Are our weekly gym sessions contributing to our longevity and the rate of aging? Our recent paper published in BMJ Open in collaboration with Polish researchers examined the rate of aging and mortality of Olympic athletes. The […]

Inferring population-level effects from individual-level effect estimates: G-computation

The fields of epidemiology and demography are closely aligned. Even demographers interested in fertility or migration, not just mortality, can learn a great deal from epidemiology. As a recent study has argued, epidemiology is currently undergoing a methodological revolution, and this is likely to affect demography as well. The epidemiological revolution is, in fact, a […]

The Art and Science of Being Uncertain

This post from Dr. Jakub Bijak from the University of Southampton discusses the challenges surrounding the management and communication of demographic uncertainty, and the methods available for approaching these problems. Some of the most captivating questions in contemporary demography are about what we do not know: the realms of uncertainty. This is especially visible in population forecasts, which […]

Maternal body composition and breast milk transfer in the context of the nutrition transition

Femke Hitzert won the NIDI Master Thesis Award in 2014 for her research on the association between maternal body composition and breast milk transfer. This guest post by Femke describes her findings. Breast milk is the most important source of nutrients for infants during the first six months of their life, which is underlined by […]

Fertility from a Bayesian perspective – worth trying?

This guest post by Beata Osiewalska discusses and describes her research on Bayesian approaches in fertility analysis. Is it possible to see the probability distribution over the number of children for a person with some particular demographic or socio-economic background? Have you ever wondered what this distribution would look like in your case? In this […]

The challenges in researching the demographic consequences of conflict: Reflections on the Sierra Leonean civil war, 1991-2002

This post is by Amie Kamanda, and discusses the importance of and challenges in investigating the demographic consequences of conflict. In particular, some of the problems in obtaining reliable data in times of conflict are discussed with reference to Amie’s work on the Civil War in Sierra Leone. Importance of researching the demographic consequences of conflict […]

Location, location, location! Why space matters in demography and why we should care.

Alessandra Carioli (Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute) prepared this overview based on her study presented at EPC 2014 in Budapest “A Spatial Analysis of Recent Fertility Patterns in Spain”. This study won one of the poster awards at EPC 2014 and is co-authored together with Daniel Devolder (Centre d’Estudis Demographics, UAB) and Joaquin Recaño (Centre d’Estudis […]

Probabilistic Population Projections: taking migration into account

Jonathan Azose is a PhD student at the University of Washington, United States. His research group focuses on probabilistic population projections, which looks to be an upcoming area in demography. In July 2014, the UN published probabilistic population projections for the first time. Probabilistic projections are nice in that they provide not only point projections, […]

Endogeneity vs causality in family research: is it always the chicken-and-egg problem?

This is a post by Evgenia Bystrov based on her article Testing the Second Demographic Transition Theory with Seemingly Unrelated Regression: Marital Postponement and Human Empowerment recently published in the European Sociological Review. The article focuses on the relations between values and marriage behaviour. The writing of this article was triggered by numerous academic debates […]

Forecasting the outcome of the World Cup

The World Cup begins this week, in the face of controversy over corruption and venality in FIFA and continuing protests in the host nation Brazil against the incredible cost of the tournament and the harsh crackdowns on favela residents. Apart from the obvious moral and political debates, there are interesting demographic angles that could be taken […]

Causal inference

Does working as a researcher cause your eyesight to become strained, your back to become hunched, and your social life to become rather limited? Or is this just an association? The fact that I’m even asking this question probably suggests that I need to get out more. But the question of causality arises frequently in […]

A hot topic and a futile quest? The recent discussion on age-period-cohort analysis

Last year, Yang & Land released their book on age-period-cohort (APC) analysis. A large section of the December issue of Demography is dedicated to age-period-cohort analysis. And just a week or two ago a paper by Bell & Jones on the Yang & Land APC model was published in Demographic Research. APC analysis appears to […]

The bias-variance tradeoff: what it means for quantitative researchers

Most researchers are familiar with the difference between bias and precision. However, not everyone knows that we can allow for a little bit of bias in order to get big gains in precision, and when it can be beneficial to do so.  In this post I detail the why and how. A refresher on bias […]

Modelling Demographic Processes using Agent-Based Simulation

Agent-Based Simulation (ABS) is not yet a common-place term in demographic circles: a quick search of some of the major demographic journals yields not more than a handful of articles that use this or similar terms, and fewer still that have tackled research questions from this perspective. Despite this, it is a methodology which has […]

Is it possible to accurately measure migration?

This is a guest post by Edward Morgan (BSc FRGS). Edward is a master’s student studying Population and Development at the London School of Economics. Edward is a Geography graduate of the University of St Andrews and a former public health consultant to the Met Office. For more information, visit his webpage. Earlier this week, […]

A case for quantitative methods in demography

Recent years have seen an increased use of qualitative methods in demographic research, which corresponds to demographers having broadened their scope and this includes methods not traditionally associated with population studies. There is still a substantial debate over uses of quantitative and qualitative methods in demography, so here I would like to touch on some […]

Homage to the Lexis diagram

The Lexis diagram belongs in the demographer’s toolbox like a mechanic’s wrench. It is the essential tool for visualizing lifelines and events as they occur along the intersection of age, (time) period and (birth) cohort. This means it is of great use to scientists doing longitudinal, time-to-event and even time series analyses. As such, it […]

Originally posted on Demographics Revealed!:
by Carl Haub, senior demographer, Population Reference Bureau No demographic subject captures writers’ imaginations like a country’s birth rate, be it baby “booms” or “busts,” or record highs or lows. But what measure should you use when you’re writing about the birth rate? Yes, there’s more than one—there are three:…