In our previous Courses in Demography we have learned how to calculate fertility and mortality rates and how the rates vary by age and sex.
Now let us look at how these rates are related over time. A model to explain this relationship is Demographic Transition Theory. It is explained very simply in this neat 4 minute video by Dr Kim Smith from Portland Community college.
One of Australia's greatest Demographers was the late Graeme Hugo - he would also be considered equally well regarded as a Human Geographer. His specialty was movement of people and spatial location of people within urban and geographic environments. The following is an 8 Page extract from a paper in his latter years in which he extends Demographic Transition theory to incorporate migration and environmental issues.
This illustrates how Demography has many overlaps with Geography (and Human Geography in particular), when dealing with people and place issues like migration and climate change.
In this 200 Series of courses you covered what is referred to as "Formal" Demography. The first stage in scientific inquiry is accurate and reliable statistics and this is the forte of Formal Demography. The second stage is finding explanations for the trends observed in the data. This will usually require collaboration with other life scientists. Some of these scientists will be found in the Social Sciences fields and others might be found in Health & Medical Sciences.
The following is a neat summary of the related fields in Social Sciences. It comes from the Economic and Social Research Council based in the UK.
The following paper is also of interest in identifying how Demography relates to the Health field.
The most closely related Medical field to Demography is Epidemiology. The following paper by Aina Schiøtz provides some insights into the history of this field.
SOCIOLOGY: Melinda Mills is both Demographer and Sociologist and more recently extended her research on fertility into Genetic explanations for variability. As well as being awarded an MBE for her research she has recently been appointed head of a new Centre at Oxford University focusing on Demographic science in wider fields of collaboration. This next 52 minute video from a 2016 conference illustrates how this collaboration and extending of research in wider fields is helping explain more factors influencing variability of lifeitme fertility. This work will help future couples understand the optimum timing of planning families taking into account individual biological risks as well and sociological and environmental factors.
ECONOMETRICS: Ronald Lee has help to build a new field of dis-aggregation of country National Accounts to show the dynamics of household income and expenditure by population age structures. This field is known as National Transfer Accounts. The data is compiled by a small group of demographers and econometricians in a range of countries. Here is a 36 minute conference video by Ron Lee discussing recent results from this work. This work will help people understand national financial implications of population ageing. If there is more widespread understanding of this, governments should have more success gaining acceptance for these financial consequences without resorting to unsustainable population growth strategies.
HEALTH & EPIDEMIOLOGY: Two scientists, one Australian and one Canadian, got together 25 years ago in a cottage in Maine and mapped out methodology for collecting data which explained the effect of all known diseases on lifespan of populations in different countries. This launched a filed of science called Burden of Disease. The methodologies owe their origin in fundamental demography and field workers working in countries where data collection is very challenging. This next 4 minute video gives a brief summary of this work on the 2018 International Award for Research Excelence to Professors Alan Lopez and Christopher Murray. This work will help all countries monitor the effectiveness of their national health systems and disease prevention programs.