Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of International Higher Education Systems and Institutions

pp 1-7

Date: Latest Version

Demography and Higher Education

  • Stéphan Vincent-LancrinAffiliated withCentre for Educational Research and Innovation (Directorate for Education and Skills), OECD Email author 

What does demography have to do with higher education? At least three different things. Firstly, demographic trends in a country’s population or worldwide may have an impact on the size, cost, dynamics, and demographics of higher education systems and their outputs. Secondly, higher education systems have their own demographic trends: one can for example be interested in the size, composition, and dynamics of student, graduate, academic, and administrative staff populations within the sector for a variety of reasons. Finally, higher education has an impact on countries’ demographics: not only is educational attainment one of the criteria that is often studied in demographic studies, but the share of the tertiary educated group in a population can also have an impact on countries demographic trends as this influences birth and mortality rates, health, income, etc.

Demography is concerned with both quantity and quality – two interrelated dimensions of populations that can be looked at fro ...

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