Demographic Analysis (MPhil)

Course Provider: Dr Ridhi Kashyap


1. To introduce student to current scientific debates on different components of population dynamics, including mortality, family change and fertility, and migration.
2. To provide technical skills for computing demographic measures and models

1. Population dynamics and the demographic transition. Fundamental measures of population dynamics (growth rates, crude rates, discrete and continuous time). The demographic transition as a model of demographic development. Demographic transition, age structure, and demographic dividends.

2. Periods and cohorts, demographic rates, and micro- and macro-approaches to demography. The meaning of the three key temporal dimensions in demography: age, period, cohort. Lexis diagrams. Discovery and explanation, micro-foundations of demographic change. Sources of population data.

3. Mortality and the life table. The life table and its functions. Cohort and period life tables. Stages of the epidemiological transition. Causes of death. Socioeconomic differentials in mortality. Current debates on human longevity.

4. Fertility and its measurement. Measuring the quantum and tempo of fertility. Period and cohort analysis. Unmet need for family planning. Fertility change in poor countries. Low fertility in industrialised societies.

5. Family dynamics and the Second Demographic Transition. Demographic measures for household, family formation and dissolution. The dynamics of divorce, cohabitation and non-marital fertility. The notion of a Second Demographic Transition and related critiques. The Gender Revolution.

6. Migration. Measuring migration and its effect on population change. Theories of migration. Replacement migration and homeostasis.

7. Population policies. Debates on population policies at the international and national level. Two contrasting fears: the “population bomb” and “demographic decline”. China’s one child policy. ‘Missing girls’ in Asia.

8. Population projections. Basic techniques for population projections. The cohort-component approach. Uncertainty in population projections. The debate on global population change.

On successfully completing the course, students should:
• have the skills that allow to access and discuss contemporary research in the multidisciplinary area of demography and be familiar with key contributions;
• be familiar with the most important demographic methods and techniques;
• be familiar with the most important demographic developments and challenges concerning demographic change;
• be prepared to do doctoral work in the areas of demography and life course research;
• have some familiarity with applied demographic analysis using R.

The organisation of the course is foreseen as follows: weekly lecture, and three computer labs.

Exam is composed by two assignments:

Assignment 1. Essay on a demographic topic, with an abstract agreed with the course provider (max 3,000 words). To be delivered by 12 noon, Friday 0th week, HT

Assignment 2. Applied demographic analysis problem set (using R and population-level data). To be delivered by 12 noon, Friday 8th week, HT

  • Livi Bacci, M. (2012) A Concise History of World Population, Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Wachter, K.W. (2014) Essential Demographic Methods, Harvard University Press.
  • Preston, S.H, P. Heuveline and M. Guillot (2001) Demography: Measuring and Modeling Population Processes, Blackwell Publishers
  • A series of articles detailed in the syllabus.