Demography and Population Studies

Demography is the scientific study of the characteristics of human populations. It is also sometimes called population studies. Demography is considered to be a branch within the field of sociology. It relies heavily on statistical data, collecting, interpreting, and presenting the information to determine trends. Most of the data comes from censuses around the world. Other survey and statistical records are also used to a lesser degree.

Demographers primarily handle information about basic life events like birth and death rates, migration, employment, divorce, contraceptive use, hunger, economics, access to running water, education, life expectancy, and so on. These statistics are used in a few different ways. They often try to predict what will happen in the future, which may help to avoid or plan for potential problems. Demographers may study why things happen and what the consequences are, including the effects of population trends on the environment. Population studies help determine how governments allocate their funds and where aid resources go. The fields of advertising and economics also use demography statistics to a large extent.

Because most of the information used in population studies come from surveys, it's important for people to respond to them and give accurate answers. This is especially true regarding government census surveys. The analyzed results are often used to advocate for disadvantaged groups of people by researchers and independent organizations as well as government agencies. They can help determine policies and decide which town gets a new health clinic or job creation resources.

Resources for Teachers and the General Public

All About Population Explains population in a fun and simple way with videos, maps, and more
Estimated World Population Today by the UN
Lesson Plans at LessonPlanet Great list of activities for teachers
Population Connection Discusses population and the environment, including resources for teachers
Global Issues Articles on how population affects global issues
People Search a database which ables the public to find individuals within the population.

Academic and Research Information

Demography Scientific Journal
Social Geography Interactive Open Access Journal
Virtual Library Links to journals, research institutes, university programs, and much more
The World Wide Web of Demography Comprehensive overview of online demography resources with over 500 links
US Census Bureau Seemingly endless statistics and studies
2001 Census of Canada
UK Statistics Authority
ChildStats US Government site about statistics that affect children
Center for Disease Control Data Data about diseases
FedStats US Government site that organizes statistics from many different agencies
Melissa DATA Statistics by ZIP Code Enter a ZIP code to get local data
EconData Regional Economic Data