The introductory readings provide an overview of the field of demography and the various issues that demographers face throughout their work. The readings describe the work of a demographer and the trends that demographers have found on a larger, global scale. The readings also describe past, current, and future developments in the field.
Common or conflicting themes and findings
The common themes in the readings include the growth of demography as a field of study, the various disciplines that provide insight into demography, and the diverse populations that are studied through the lens of demography. Some of the readings provide a basic overview of the study of demography as a discipline and the issues that impact demographers (Micklin, 2005; Poston and Bouvier, 2010; van Dalen, 2012). While the other readings give insight into the global and world trends that affect demography (Demeny, 2006a; Demeny, 2006b; Ezeh, 2012). Common findings in the readings include the growth of population in various areas of the world (Demeny, 2006a; Demeny, 2006b; Ezeh, 2012; Poston, 2010). The forecasted growth of world populations (Demeny, 2006b; Ezeh, 2012) is also highlighted throughout the readings. Some of the readings provide charts, graphs, and tables in order to show their findings and predictions in greater detail (Demeny, 2006a; Demeny, 2006b; Ezeh, 2012; Micklin, 2005).
Conflicting themes in the readings include looking at demography as a whole (Poston and Bouvier, 2010; Micklin, 2005), looking at the thoughts of demographers (van Dalen, 2012), and looking at the impact of global population issues (Demeny, 2006a; Demeny, 2006b; Ezeh, 2012). With the discussion of issues and ideas that impact demography and the world on a global scale, it shows that demographers have to think locally and globally all of the time regardless of their particular area of study. Some of the readings discuss the growth and change in the field of demography (Poston, 2010; Micklin, 2005; van Dalen, 2012), while the other readings look at the growth and change in world populations(Demeny, 2006a; Demeny, 2006b; Ezeh, 2012). Conflicting findings include the projected forecast of population compared to the actual change (Demeny, 2006a; Ezeh, 2012) based on data from the United Nations estimates. The information presented in the readings may have looked different or had better estimates if they used other sources of data.
Critique of the arguments
Poston and Bouvier (2010) introduces the argument that demography is destiny is an idea that only skims the surface of the true scope of demography. The other readings would validate this argument due to the sections of life that demography impacts (Demeny, 2006a; Demeny, 2006b; Ezeh, 2012; Micklin, 2005; van Dalen, 2012). Van Dalen (2012) makes the point that demographers have to be seen as different from other social scientists and highlights the unique areas pertaining to demographers. In order to familiarize beginners to the field of demography, Poston and Bouvier(2010) mention that we all have a role to play in demography. Van Dalen (2012) actually confirms this idea throughout his study of the lives of demographers.
Critique of the methodology
The methodology used in the readings included looking at United Nations data and related to population and fertility in order to make predictions for trends and future areas of interest. Other sources of data included Maddison (Demeny, 2006a) and The World Bank (Ezeh, 2012). I wonder if the findings would have been different if the researchers had used a variety of sources for data in order to have a more diverse collection of information to refer to and also to learn from especially when discussing future forecasting.
Critique of interpretation
The interpretation of the findings were pretty straightforward. The presentation would have been more culturally sensitive if it had included insight from work being done in the field. Demeny(2006a) presented a thorough depiction of the history of the various populations highlighted in the mentioned regions and how culture and history affect populations.
Questions for discussion
1. What are some resources that would be beneficial for beginners in demography?
2. How is the field of demography changing?
3. How do other fields of study impact demography?
4. What do demographers do?
5. How does demography impact future populations?