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scientific study of human populations

population processes

the levels and trends in fertility, mortality, and migration

population structure

how many males and females there are of each age

urban ecology

4 variables that affect each other: population, technology, environment, organization


practical applications of population information

geodemographics , geodemography, spatial demography

the analysis of demographic data that takes into account the location of people being studied


Distribution of representatives among the states based on the population of each state


the reconfiguration of Congressional districts that each seat will represent


the drawing of legislative district boundaries to benefit a party, group, or incumbent

marketing demographics

demographics are employed to segment and target the market for a product


the manufacturing and packaging of products or the provision of services that appeal to specific sociodemographically identifiable groups within the population


picking out particular sociodemographic characteristics of people who might purchase what you have to offer, then appealing to the consumer tastes and behavior reflected in those particular characteristics

agricultural revolution

The time when human beings first domesticated plants and animals and no longer relied entirely on hunting and gathering

carrying capacity

largest number of individuals of a population that a environment can support

industrial revolution

the change from an agricultural to an industrial society and from home manufacturing to factory production, especially the one that took place in England from about 1750 to about 1850.

population explosion

the rapid growth of the world's human population during the past century, attended by accelerating rates of increase

rule of 69

Doubling time = 69 / annual growth rate (in %) *if growth rate is negative, result gives number of years to halve population

population implosion

a rapid reduction of population that reverses a previous trend toward progressively larger populations

natural increase

excess of births over deaths (as opposed to in-migration)

demographic perspective

a way of relating basic information to theories about how the world operates demographically

demographic theories

study table 3.1


a nation's wealth was determined by the amount of precious metals it had in its possession, which were acquired by exporting more goods than it imported; Europe 1600's

John Graunt

Father of Demography; analyzed series of Bills of Mortality in 1662 - 1st known statistical analysis of demographic data

Malthusian Principle of Population

Human society will not reach perfection because the population will continue to increase while the food supply will be unable to keep up with this growth

checks to growth

factors that have kept population growth from reaching its biological potential

positive checks

something of the moral or physical nature that prematurely weakens or destroys the human frame

preventative checks

limits to birth

Malthusian consequence of population growth

Poverty and misery - population demand precedes the need for labor so that there are more people than jobs.

means of subsistence

amount of land available, the technology that can be applied to it, and social organization (land ownership patterns)

Critiques of Malthus

Moral restraint and potential of technology

prudential restraint

NeoMalthusian; waiting to marry and reproduce, but not necessarily waiting to have sex


Every society in history has its own population laws that determine the consequences of population growth. Capitalism consequences of population growth are overpopulation and poverty. Socialism absorbs population growth into the economy.

Critiques of Marx

socialism is the antithesis of capitalism - implies birth rates should be high in socialism, but had no guidelines for controlling population growth


Standard of living is major determinant of fertility levels, but people can influence their own demographic destinies


Social capillarity induces people to limit their number of children in order to get ahead socially and economically

Social capillarity

Desire of people to rise on the social scale, to increase their individuality as well as personal wealth


Consequences of population growth - higher levels of innovation and specialization; complex societies.

3 stages of demographic transition

High growth potential, transitional growth, incipient decline


transition from traditional societies with high BR and DR to industrial societies with low BR and DR

rational choice theory

human behavior is the result of individuals doing what will benefit them

wealth flow

Used to be from children to parents, reverses after urban transition

family and household transition

postponement of marriage, rise in single living, cohabitation, and prolonged residence in parental household

Demographic transition as set of transitions

health and mortality transition, fertility trans, age trans, migration trans, urban trans, family and household trans

Age transition

Society is young. After mortality decline, society gets younger. After fertility decline, less children, then bulge of pop is young working age. Then bulge of society is older and needs care.

Demographic Change and Response

People must perceive a personal need to change behavior before a decline in fertility will take place, and that the kind of response they will make will depend on what means are available to them.

When was the first US Census?


Domesday Book



most widely known and used source of demographic information; shows population size, distribution, age structure, characteristics

De facto population

people who are in a given territory on census day

De jure population

people who legally "belong" to a given area in some way even if they are not present on census day.

usual residence

the place where a person usually sleeps

Nonsampling error

includes coverage error and content error; most errors in census come from nonsampling error

coverage error

aka net census undercount = combination of undercount and overcount

differential undercount

some groups are more likely to be underenumerated than other groups

demographic analysis

uses demographic balancing equation to measure coverage error; compare to previous census

demographic balancing equation

population at time 2 = population at time 1 + births - deaths + in-migrants - out-migrants; uses combination of census data and vital registration data (and administrative data)

Dual system estimation

comparing census results with another source of information about the people counted (surveys)

content error

problems with the accuracy of the data obtained in the census.

Sampling error

differences exist between the characteristics of the population and the sample population

continuous measurement

American Community Survey - rolling survey of 3 million Americans each year; replacement for the long form

registration of vital events

births, deaths, marriages, divorces, abortions.

population registers

lists of all people in the country and their vital events

administrative data

Useful even if not gathered for demographic data; includes immigration records, IRS records, social security records, school enrollment records; particularly useful for local population changes and migration

Current Population Survey

monthly survey since 1943; focus on labor force

American Community Survey

monthly survey since 1996; used for more detailed information about households; replaced census long form in 2010

Historical Sources

church records (especially in Europe), local records, cemeteries, family genealogy

Geographic Information Systems

computer-based system that allows us to combine maps with data and then to analyze those data using spatial statistics, and show results in a type of map or other graphic format

Sample surveys

sources of information for places in which census or vital registration data do not exist or where reliable information can be obtained less expensively by sampling than by conducting a census

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