Topic outline


    This is the first of 7 Courses of the 200 Category, Demography. We encourage you to complete all of the 7 Courses if you can spare the time. Check out what's in 202 to 207 by tapping the icons above.
    • 201.1 Welcome Aboard! - Here is A Quick Overview

      Welcome to your first Course in the 200 Category Demography.  We hope you will find these 7 courses stimulating. In case you missed it at the Category introduction, here is an inspiring invitation to the wonderful world of Demography from Professor Joel Cohen:
      Now after that inspiration, Sharon K. Birch of Gettysburg College, takes the pressure down with this 2 minute description of the basic building blocks of Demography.
      A key message from these two videos is that a full appreciation of studying Demography is the linkages of human population to environments, economies and social structures.  In the 7 Courses in Demography you will learn some basic mathematical measures of the composition of different populations and the forces for change in the form of birth, death and migration rates.  You will get a feel for some of the environmental, economic and social issues which have influenced these forces for change.
      The following 7 page article discusses the history and scope of Demography as a social science dating back to John Graunt in the 1600s.  It highlights careers that population study can lead to including collaborations with other life scientists, urban planners, financial advisers and government. It was written by David Lucas, a Demographer at the Australian National University (ANU), a major centre for study of Demography in Australia (See 207.5 for Australian Universities offering Demography Courses).  The following document is Chapter 1 from the Book "Beginning Australian Population Studies" used in courses at ANU.

      Hopefully by now you starting to get the idea of what these 200 Demography series of Courses are all about.
      This first Course 201 is fairly brief and focused on you getting used to how the courses are structured and how to navigate around the content. 
      Course 202 covers population composition and how you can build numerical and graphical images of what a population looks like.
      Course 203 covers birth rates, otherwise know in Demography as Fertility. 
      Courses 204 and 205 cover survival rates and human life span, otherwise known as Mortality in Demography.
      Course 206 covers Migration to complete the trilogy of the three forces of population change, births, deaths and migration.
      In the final Course 207, you will reflect on how the topics covered relate to population change through human history and what avenues there are available to study population topics in more detail. 
      • 201.2 Ratios and Rates used in Demography

        The key ingredients of fundamental Demography are head count of people - Numbers, Ratios and Rates. The maths and formula used are very straightforward once you understand the terms used and the purpose of the measures. There are also techniques and methods for examining age structure of populations. 
        As an easy introduction to the maths, just read pages numbered 4 to 8 of the following Population Handbook prepared by the Population Reference Bureau - the two sections are "About Population" and "Age and Sex Composition".
        • 201.3 Demographics

          Demographics is how we refer to the statistics produced by the work of Demographers.  The Australian Bureau of Statistics is the main producer of Demographics in Australia and employs demographers and statisticians to do this work.  Similar government agencies exist in most countries.
          This 3 minute video is an example of ABS communicating demographic data they produced in 2015.


          In this video you should have spotted:
          • Composition: % by sex and individual ages for all Australia displayed in a Population Pyramid
          • Dependency related age groups: young (0-14), working age (15-64) and aged (65+). The percentage change in these groups are displayed in a line graph
          • Composition: by State Population Numbers
          • Annual Rates of Australian population growth: subdivided by Natural Increase (births minus deaths) and Net Migration (immigrants arriving minus emigrants departing)
          As we cover the different measures during the Demography courses, we will show you where to get the data that is used to produce these demographics, the formula required and how to produce graphs.
          • 201.4 How the Demography Courses are Structured

            The Courses in the 200 Demography Category, are structured as follows:
            1. Description of a topic in simple language
            2. An example using real data or visual exhibits and an Exercise to play with
            3. Discussion of past and current trends with link to relevant research papers and exhibits
            4.  Video content from some great academic communicators
            You can move to Topics within a Course using the side bar on left, or to any other Course using links in the Panel on the right.
            You will see there is also a link in the Panel on the right to a Glossary of definitions of special words.
            At the present time there are no Quizzes or Assignments in this Course. They may be added at a later date.
            • 201.5 What's Next?

              In the Next Course 202, we start calculating some basic ratios and percentages to illustrate the composition of a population.  You can move to Topics within a Course using the side bar on left, or to any other Course using links in the Panel on the right. You will see there is also a link to the to a Glossary of what special words mean.

              Just click on the next Course title here, 202 Population Composition to open up the next Course.