Demography is a branch of social sciences that deals with the population of humans, changes in the population, and their interactions with the environment, political factors, as well as socio-economic factors. It is also concerned with the growth and distribution of populations in cities, countries, and continents.
The word “demography” is derived from two Greek words “Demos” and “Graphy” which mean “people” and “science” respectively. Thus, the literal meaning of the word is the “science of people.” A synonym of demography is population studies. There are two categories of demography namely micro demography and macro demography.
Indicators of Demography
The demographics indicators include population size, crude death rate, population growth rate, population density, infant mortality rate, total fertility rate, crude birth rate, and life expectancy. The crude birth rate is the number of live births per 1000 people in a year whereas the crude death rate is the yearly annual number of deaths per 1000 people. On the other hand, the infant mortality rates are the annual number of deaths of children aged less than a year old per 1000 of those born alive. The life expectancy is a measure that interests many people. It refers to the number of years that a human being can live in relation to the current mortality rates. Another measure of demography is the total fertility rate which refers to the number of live births per woman in their reproductive life. Population growth rate means the percentage rate of change seen within a specified number of individuals found in a population. On the other hand, population density is the measurement of the size of a population per total land area occupied by the people. These terms are often used in discussions regarding populations that go in governments, private institutions, and world agencies such as the United Nations.
Why is Demography Important?
Demography is significant in understanding historic population trends. An understanding of these trends helps in preparation of future developments and policies such as the design of cities, preparation for elections, and disaster management policies. Demography also helps nations to plan for the food supply, housing, employment opportunities, educational facilities, and health facilities for their citizens. Population studies further helps governments understand the short-term and long-term implications of the changes in the human population. It also assists in understanding the socio-economic challenges faced by populations such as crime, prostitution, polluted air and water, juvenile delinquency, drugs and substance abuse, and environmental pollution. Besides, the recent influx in the world’s population resulting in the over-stretching of the natural resources calls for a better understanding of the world population. For these reasons, demography is a field that attracts universal attention as it affects human life.