Digital Demography

Speaker:  Ingmar G Weber – Doha, Qatar
Topic(s):  Human Computer Interaction


Demography is the science of human populations and, at its most basic, focuses on the processes of (i) fertility, (ii) mortality and (iii) migration. Knowing basic population characteristics if of utmost importance for planning and resource allocation, whether at the city or country level. Unfortunately, many low income countries lack trustworthy and accurate data, aggravating the difficulties in economic development. Even for high income countries, which typically keep reliable records on both fertility and mortality, through birth and death registrations and through censuses, measuring the migration of populations represents a particular challenge. Reasons for the difficulty of measuring migration range from inconsistencies in official definitions across countries, to incomplete registration of migrants within the EU, to the difficulty of quantifying illegal migration. At the same time, mere numbers, whether on births, deaths or migration events, shed little light on the underlying causes, hence providing insufficient information to policy makers. The use of digital methods and data sources, ranging from social media data to mobile phone data to satellite data, offers possibilities to address some of the challenges of traditional demography by (i) improving existing statistics or helping to create new ones, and (ii) enriching statistics by providing context related to the drivers of demographic changes. Organizations such as the UN Global Pulse actively encourage the use of new technologies to track demographic changes. This lecture will give an overview of work in the area of digital demography, focusing on the use of social media for monitoring population processes.

About this Lecture

Number of Slides:  30 - 100
Duration:  45 - 120 minutes
Languages Available:  English
Last Updated: 

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