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Demography 1 is the scientific study of human populations, primarily with respect to their size, their structure and their development. In statistical terminology any collection of distinct elements may be called a population 2 or universe 2. The population 3 of a particular area consists of all inhabitants 4 of that area, though the term may on occasions be used for part of the inhabitants only, e. g. the population of schoolchildren, the population of marriageable age etc. Such populations are properly called sub-populations 5. The term population is occasionally used to denote the total number 6 of persons in an area.
- 1. demography n. — demographic adj. — demographer n., a specialist in demography.
- 3. population n. — note that this term may also be used adjectivally as a synonym for demographic, e.g. in population statistics, population analysis, population studies.
Special terms have been used for certain aspects of demography (101-1). In descriptive demography 1 the numbers, geographical distribution and general characteristics of human populations are described by means of population statistics 2 or demographic statistics 2 (130-1). The treatment of quantitative relations among demographic phenomena in abstraction, from their association, with other phenomena, on the other hand, is called formal demography 3, pure demography 3 or sometimes theoretical demography 3. In this sense formal demography excludes the treatment of relations between demographic events and social, economic or other phenomena, as well as primary description and general speculation. Some writers would restrict the use of the term demography to this branch of the subject. When we study demographic phenomena in actual populations, the term population studies 4 is often used. Some French writers use the term démographie quantitative 5 to denote the parts of the subject included in this paragraph, in order to distinguish them from the study of population quality.
The study of relations between demographic phenomena on the one hand and economic and social phenomena on the other forms another branch of the subject. The terms economic demography 1 and social demography 2 have been used by some writers. Demography also deals with the study of population quality 3. This phrase may be used with reference to all sorts of social and personal characteristics. In a slightly different sense the term primarily refers to the distribution and transmission of hereditary characteristics (911-1) which are the subject-matter of population genetics 4. Human ecology 5 is the study of the distribution and organization of communities with attention to the operation of competitive and co-operative processes and has part of its subject matter common with demography, as has biometry 6 or biometrics 6 which deals with the application of statistical methods to all forms of biological research.
- 4. genetics n. - genetic adj. - geneticist n., a specialist in genetics. Population genetics is distinct from human genetics, which deals with the transmission of inheritable characteristics in man: population genetics includes studies of the distribution and transmission of hereditary traits in plant, animal and human populations.
- 5. ecology n. - ecological adj. -ecologist n., a specialist in ecology. The term ecology is also used by some ethnologists for studies of the relation of social organization and culture to physical environment and technology.
- 6. biometrics n. — biometric (al) adj. — biometrician n., a specialist in biometrics,
Finally there is the study of population theories 1 (cf. 901). This term must not be confused with theoretical demography (102-3). Population theories are designed to explain or predict the interaction between changes in population and economic, social, psychological or other factors; they include purely conceptual treatments. Population theories occasionally form the basis of population policy 2, which deals with measures designed to influence population changes.
- 1. The term population theory is sometimes used as a synonym for theoretical demography in the sense described in this paragraph,
Certain sub-branches of demography are on occasion specifically distinguished. Historical demography 1 is the study of the history of population development, and the term has on occasions been narrowed down to mean the study of population history in the period before proper statistics (130-1*) were available, as special methods have to be used for this purpose. The term population analysis 2 is used by some demographers in a restricted sense comparable to the restricted meaning of theoretical demography (102-3). It may occasionally be used to mean the drawing of inferences from data collected in empirical investigations. Sometimes it has been restricted to that part of theoretical demography which makes use of mathematical methods. The term mathematical demography 3 is used more generally for any mathematical treatment in this field including the application of mathematical functions to empirical data. A certain school of demographers have coined the term démographie potentielle 4 for the study of life potentials (433-6) and its applications. There is no accepted English translation.
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