The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd


  • Nathan Keyfitz
Reference work entry


Demography is the analysis of population, including both techniques and substance. It is applied most often to human populations, and includes the gathering of data, the construction of models, interpretation of population changes, policy recommendations. The data used by demographers are partly cross-sectional in the form of censuses and sample surveys, partly flow data consisting of time series of births and deaths. Models that express the relation between the flow series of births, deaths and migration on the one side and the cross sections on the other are a main tradition of demography, running through the work of Lotka, Leslie and many others. Interpretation includes tracing causes of changes, and assessing their future consequences. Policy recommendations aim at lowering birth rates in countries of rapid growth, and raising it in countries below replacement.

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nathan Keyfitz
    • 1
  1. 1.