The study of population, its components, and how they effect population change.

Demography Courses

Encyclopedia Articles

Use these reference sources for a general overview of demography.

Introduction to Demography

Demography is the study of the size, composition, and geographic distribution of human populations, and how the population changes due to fertility, mortality, and migration. This guide will assist you in finding sources for demographic theories and methods (articles and books) as well as materials (raw and refined data).

The study of demography includes three components:

  • Demographic theories and models, which are statements of observed fact or theory that attempt to explain the nature, causes, and effects of population processes at different geographic scales.
  • Demographic methods, which consist of the procedures and techniques for working with demographic data.
  • Demographic materials, which are the source of raw demographic data. These include censuses (actual counts of the population), vital registration systems, population registers, and sample surveys.

Demography is often sub-divided into two areas of focus:

  • Formal or mathematical demography tends to focus solely on variables that are demographic in nature: fertility, natality, mortality, ageing, and migration.
  • Social demography or population studies is broader in scope and includes nondemographic variables (socio-economic, medical, and environmental) to understand how they impact or influence demographic variables, or vice-versa.

About This Guide

This guide was originally created and maintained by Prof. Frank Donnelly, Geospatial Data Librarian, now at Brown University as of Feb. 2021.

Demography Librarian (interim)