The short course in Demographic Methods and Analysis trains and retrains professionals in the methods and analytical techniques of demography. The course focuses on internalization of methods and analytical techniques by providing many practicals and assignments (all computer-based), in addition to lectures.
The ten-week short course is particularly suited to career professionals working in statistical or demographic research institutes, in either census or survey work, or those involved in research and teaching in the field of demography at universities. The course provides a solid basis for participants to apply up-to-date knowledge and skills in the field of demography once they return to their home institute.
The course consists of two modules in which participants learn different analytical techniques that can be applied to demographic data.
Demographic Data, Measures and Methods
In this module, participants are acquainted with several of the main measures and methods used in demographic analysis, such as probabilities, rates, age standardization, geometric population growth, decomposition methods, fertility analysis, mortality analysis and migration analysis. After the module, participants will understand the fundamental ideas behind these methods, how to implement them using standard software - such as Excel - and how to interpret them.
Life Tables and Population Projections
In this module, participants are introduced to three main demographic techniques used in the social sciences: the life table, population projections and survival analysis. After this module, participants (a) know the fundamental ideas behind these techniques, (b) are able to apply the techniques, using Excel and SPSS, (c) can interpret the most important outcomes of the techniques, and (d) know how the life table technique can be applied to a whole range of topics within the social sciences.
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Next to the four traditional demographic data sources, i.e. the census, civil registration, population registers, and surveys, also additional qualitative and quantitative secondary data sets will be discussed. The possibilities to obtain these data sets, their objectives, and ways to judge the quality of data in these different data sets are discussed. As illustrations, the organization of a census at the Solomon Islands, the census and population register in the Netherlands, the Demographic and Health Survey and survey data collection in Brazil is included. Specific attention will be paid to some of the most important survey study design issues and issues related to its data collection.
In addition, several main measures and methods used in demographic analysis (e.g. rates, probabilities, age standardization, decomposition methods, fertility analysis, mortality analysis, and migration analysis) will be discussed. These methods, together with the life table and population projection technique (which is covered in the course: The life table and population projections) form the core of what makes demography specific as a discipline.
An excursion to Statistics Netherlands (CBS) in The Hague is part of the course.
Next to a written exam with calculations on the computer, the students will have to write a paper on demographic data and demographics for a country of their choice
The life table technique - in its original application – is used to describe the mortality pattern of a population, and results in the life expectancy. The technique can be generalized and applied in many research areas, both at the population level (population health, multi-regional dynamics, labour market demography etc) and at the individual level.
Survival analysis constitutes applying the life table technique to individual-level data on life events, which can answer a wide range of questions on the occurrence, timing and likelihood of these events (e.g. marriage, childbearing, migration, labour market, disease career). Clear links with causal modeling exist.
One of the fundamentals of the life table technique, i.e. survival probabilities, is essential as well to the methodology of population projections, which follows the cohort component method. Key to the cohort component method is the formulation of assumptions for each of the components, i.e. fertility, mortality and migration, and their implementation into the method using the Leslie model which translates the method into a matrix formulation.
In this course, first the fundamentals of the life table technique will be taught, followed by the population projection methodology, and subsequently the application of the life table techniques to a whole range of topics within the social sciences, both at macro (population) and micro (individual) level (=survival analysis).
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