Introduction to Demography

Professor: Pollard and Weden
Units: 1.0
Elective Course
Concentrations: Quantitative Methods, Social and Behavioral Science
Prerequisite: Students will need to be comfortable working with mathematical equations. It is helpful, but not essential, for students to have previously taken a basic statistics class to help them understand some of the assigned articles and policy readings. However, the demographic methods taught during the course will not require prior statistical skills or statistical software package use (they will be instructed in appropriate demographic programs).

Understanding a population’s demographic context is essential to policy development. This course provides a general understanding of the main concepts, methods, and materials in demography and of their application to current policy questions. Students will learn the research approach demographers use to describe populations and analyze population change; they will become familiar with the sources of demographic data; and they will learn how to implement and integrate basic demographic methods with other quantitative methods. The policy relevance of fertility, mortality, and migration will be examined from both a domestic and global perspective. The course will also address population aging, population health, urbanization, and social and economic equity within and between populations. Policy topics will be paired with instruction in applicable demographic methods. Students will learn:1) techniques for describing population composition, distribution, and growth; 2) methods to compare populations; 3) single-decrement life tables; and 4) the cohort-component method for population projection.