(December 2012) “Distilled Demographics,” PRB’s video series, highlights key demographic concepts such as fertility, mortality, and migration. Through these short videos, you can learn demography’s real-world application and impact. “These videos not only show that demography can be exciting, but also highlight how population trends and issues affects the well-being of us all,” says Carl Haub, senior demographer at PRB. “Fertility, mortality, and migration—along with other demographic issues—play a major role in determining what kind of opportunities and challenges people face in their communities and countries.”
Many people want to know: Where, exactly, do population figures come from? The census is the foundation of demographic statistics, but census-taking is a complicated and difficult process. There are two divisions among the countries of the world in terms of the availability and the quality and completeness of data. Data from developing countries is a little “softer,” and for the most part, incomplete, but countries do try to register births and deaths. These are the numbers that go into many demographic studies, including PRB’s World Population Data Sheet. In this video, PRB senior demographer Carl Haub explains how the demographic data from countries are obtained, highlighting major global surveys and other means.
Watch all episodes of Distilled Demographics with PRB’s YouTube playlist. Click on the grey box icon on the bottom of the video to navigate to different videos.
The Demographic Dividend (December 2012)
The demographic dividend is the accelerated economic growth that may result from a decline in a country’s mortality and fertility and the subsequent change in the age structure of the population. With fewer births each year, a country’s young dependent population grows smaller in relation to the working-age population. With fewer people to support, a country has a window of opportunity for rapid economic growth if the right social and economic policies developed and investments made. In this video, Jay Gribble, PRB’s vice president of International Programs, gives an overview of a demographic dividend: what it is and what it takes to achieve it.
Urbanization (March 2012)
A few years ago, it was announced that half the world’s population now lives in urban areas. When we think of urbanization, we tend to think of sprawling cities with skyscrapers. However, the definition of “urban” varies greatly from country to country. In this video, PRB senior demographer Carl Haub discusses the global diversity of “urban” areas and the implications of a more urban world.
How Many People Have Ever Lived on Earth? (October 2011)
The question of how many people have ever lived on Earth is a perennial one among information calls to PRB. One reason the question keeps coming up is that somewhere, at some time back in the 1970s, a writer made the statement that 75 percent of the people who had ever been born were alive at that moment. For this “estimate” to be true would mean either that births in the 20th century far, far outnumbered those in the past or that there were an extraordinary number of extremely old people living in the 1970s. But if we judge the idea that three-fourths of people who ever lived are alive today to be a ridiculous statement, have demographers come up with a better estimate? In this video, Carl Haub, with some speculation concerning prehistoric populations, approaches a guesstimate of this elusive number.
Population Projections (March 2011)
Everyone wants to know what the world’s population will be in the future, but how do demographers come up with population projections? It’s important to understand the assumptions behind projections—the factors that are considered such as the current birth rate, contraceptive use, education levels, policy and funding, and more. In this video, PRB senior visiting scholar Carl Haub uncovers how demographers estimate what the population of a country or the world will be in the future.
Migration (November 2010)
Migration is a minefield for demographers; varying definitions and measurements can be difficult to sort out. Migration is the geographic movement of people across boundaries to establish a new permanent or semipermanent residence. Along with fertility and mortality, migration is a component of population change. The terms “immigration” and “emigration” are used to refer to moves between countries (international migration). The parallel terms “in-migration” and “out-migration” are used for movement between areas within a country (internal migration). How is an “immigrant” defined? Why do people migrate? How is the world becoming a “melting pot”? In this video, Carl Haub answers these questions and clarifies how migration affects population.
The Death Rate (June 2010)
The 20th century world population “explosion,” from 1.6 billion in 1900 to 6.1 in 2000, was a direct result of the rapid decline in mortality rates in less developed countries. As death rates declined, life expectancy rose, leading to higher population. In this video, Carl Haub uncovers the trends behind this “revolution” in mortality, explains how “crude” death rates are measured, and using examples from various countries, why these measures matter for public health and economic development.
The Birth Rate (April 2010)
The birth rate is one of the most basic and important measures in demography. But its relevance is not limited to just demographers. Birth rates affect public policy and budgeting for education and health systems, and can have major impacts on the well-being of a country’s population. Governments, policymakers, and the news media are concerned about birth rates, because the rates are seen as either being too high or too low. In this video, Carl Haub explains how “crude” birth rates, the total fertility rate, and replacement-level fertility rates are measured, and using examples from various countries, why these measures matter for public health and economic development.
Addressing Population Myths (December 2009)
Demography can be complicated and confusing. The media can discuss population issues based on false assumptions and interpretations without realizing it. Statistics can be used to pursue political points of view. In this video, Carl Haub addresses common population myths. Myth 1: There was no population growth problem in the 1960s and 1970s. Myth 2: The world’s population is not growing and today’s problem is low birth rates. Myth 3: Europe will be predominately Muslim by 2050.
Deciphering Population Pyramids (October 2009)
Carl Haub shows how population pyramids give us a snapshot of a country’s demographic profile. But what do they tell us about a country’s past and future? “These videos not only show that demography can be exciting, but also highlight how population trends and issues affects the well-being of us all,” says Haub. “Fertility, mortality, and migration—along with other demographic issues—play a major role in determining what kind of opportunities and challenges people face in their communities and countries.”
We want to hear from you! Have a question on world population and demography? Send in your question to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PRB’s Distilled Demographics video series is underwritten through the generosity of Juanita Tamayo Lott and Robert H. Lott in support of PRB’s Millennial Generation Outreach Program, and in memory of Jorge del Pinal.