What is Demography

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Meaning of Demography

The word ‘Demography’ which is originated from Greek language. ‘ Demography is made up of two words of Greek language. The first word is Demas  which means – people and the second word is Grapho  which means – to draw or write about people, thus the literal meaning of Demography is – Man. Or writing or marking about the public. ( To draw or write about people )

As Ashley Guillard summed up “It is the science which studies the number of people”. That is, it is the science that studies the number of humans. The term ‘demography’ was first used by the French scholar ‘Achille Guillard’ in 1855 in his book ‘Elements destatique human on demographic comparison’.

But its foundation as a distinct and independent science was laid by the English scholar John Grant in 1662. John Grant introduced demography in 1662 in his important work, ‘Natural and Political observation made up the bills of smortality’. This is the reason why he is called the father of demography.
Before the birth of the word Demography, some other names for population related studies have also been popular from time to time, such as Demology and Population studies etc. But these words could not last long, nor popular. May it be Therefore, in 1862, the Greek language word ‘dimography’ by Ashille Guillai is more popular and popular. Thus, in a nutshell, the meaning of demography in the literal sense is that demography is the science that studies and analyzes the characteristics of a population. It is also necessary to know what different scholars have understood by Demography because the view of scholars properly explains the equality of meaning to us. If we look at the definitions of demographics, then it is clear that there is no unity in the views given by sociologists, economists and educationists on the definition of demographics. Some scholars have defined the subject matter of this scripture as the basis, while some scholars have defined it keeping in mind its scientificity, utility and importance. An economist sees population as a consumer of labor supply and considers the study of demographics as a part of economics of development. Sociologists study the social aspects of population in Demography.

Biologists and geographers study biological facts and geographical distribution in demography. This is the reason why it is difficult to present all the elements together in one definition. For the sake of ease of study, let us study the definitions given by different demographics by classifying them into two headings.
1. Narrow Approach.
2. Broader Approach


 Narrow  approach:

The definitions of narrow approach include the quantitative aspect of population and importance is given to statistical methods in the study and analysis of life data. Generally, the study of five factors affecting population, reproduction, marriage, death, migration and social mobility, is done under two heads, structure or formation of population and change over time. These five factors are always active in determining the size, regional distribution, structure of population and keep the population dynamic. The main definitions of demographics with a narrow perspective are as follows 1. According to Achille Guillard, it (demography) is the mathematical knowledge of the general movement of population and physical, social and intellectual conditions.

According to Levasseur, it (demography) is generally the science of population which mainly tries to ascertain the speed of births, marriages, deaths and migration of population, as well as to discover the laws which govern these movements. Regulates.” Livasier has underlined the historical importance by trying to relate his definition to Vital Statistics.

According to Benjamin B, “Demography is the study related to the growth, development and dynamics of human population as a whole.” According to Hippel, G.C. (Whipple, GC), “Demography is the science that deals with human generation, According to Van Mayer, G. (Von Mayer, G.), “Demography is the statistical analysis of the condition and dynamics of population, under which census and biological events are registered.” And in this way a statistical analysis of the condition and mobility of population can be done on the basis of basic data obtained from census and registration. In this definition, demography has been developed as a statistical method of accounting of human life, under which population and major biological events are regularly studied and analyzed.

In the words of P.R. Cox, Demography is the science in which statistical methods are used in the study of human population and it is mainly concerned with the increase or decrease in the size of the population.

the number and proportion of people living, born and dead in a particular region and related to the measure of such functions as fertility, death and marriage rates. In this way, Cox has given importance to the use of statistical methods in the study of demographics and discussed the significance of the study and analysis of life data.

Broader  view:

The definitions with a broader perspective focus on the quantitative study and analysis of population as well as the qualitative aspect. By doing this, an attempt has been made to develop Demography as a comprehensive general and applied science. Some related definitions are as follows:

According to Hauser and Duncan, “Demography is the composition of population size, regional distribution, and the components of change in them, known as births, deaths, regional migration and social mobility (change in level). In this definition of development, the structure of population includes both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the population. In the definition, special emphasis has been laid on the study of social mobility, because the change in the population is not only due to birth, death, but changes in the social status like unmarried to married, married to widower/widow, unemployed to employment etc. are also important factors. that affect the population.

According to Thompson and Lewis, its (demographic) interest is not only in the size, structure and distribution of the present-day population, but also in the changes taking place in these aspects from time to time and the reasons for these changes. The above definition was mentioned by both American Demographers in their book “Population Problems” in 1930. In his Population Study, he tried to broaden the study of demography by including the size of population, composition of population, distribution of population.

Prof. Donald J. Bogue (Prof. Donold J. Bogue) Prof. Bogue has been Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago, USA. In his book Principles of Demography published in 1990, he presented a systematic discussion of the basic rules, processes and subject matter of Demography.

According to Prof. Bogg, “Demography is the five types of demographic processes, fertility, mortality, marriage, migration and social mobility. Some definitions. According to Barclay, the partial representation of population is sometimes referred to as demographics and includes some Individuals represented by specific types of data are studied from a holistic point of view. Demography is concerned with group behavior and not with any individual behavior.

According to Spengler and Duncan, “Demography, like many other disciplines, encompasses diverse disciplines in itself, but today its field is limited to a body of integrated knowledge which is composed of the total population and the elements involved in it.” Under these elements, the size of communities, birth, marriage and death rates, age structure and migration are included.” 3. According to Victor Petrov, “Demography is the science that deals with the structure of population And studies the movement.” From the above definitions, we have come to know the meaning or meaning of demography in a broad way that all the determinants of population and their consequences are studied under demography. Under this, both quantitative and qualitative aspects of population are studied and analyzed.


Scope of demography

As a student of Demography, you are aware of the fact that Demography is a dynamic science. Therefore, its area is continuously increasing. The famous economist Dr. John Maynard Keynes has said that three things should be included in the study of Scope.

• Content on Demography
• Nature or disposition of demographics
• The relation of demography to other disciplines (or sciences)


subject matter of demographics

After studying about the demographics, you have come to know that it is very difficult to give a unanimous or universal definition of demographics. There is no unanimous fact about its area and subject matter. There are two approaches in this context, such as the comprehensive approach, mainly under which Spangler (Spangler). Ideas of Vance, Ryder, Lorimer and Moore etc. can be included. The second approach is the narrower approach, which mainly includes Hauser and Duncan (P.H. Houser and D. Duncan). The ideas of Berkeley, Thompson and Lewis and Irene Teauber etc. can be included.

In the present time, on the basis of the generality and utility of Demographic Science, scholars have divided the subject material of this science into the following five parts–

• Composition of Population
• Distribution of Population
• Size of Population
• Factors Influencing Change in Population
• Population Policy


 Composition of Population

Studying the structure or formation of population is another important subject of demography. Where the size of the population makes a quantitative interpretation. At the same time, qualitative analysis becomes possible from the “structure of the population. By its study, we get a clear idea of ​​the characteristics of the population of that particular place. Even if the size of the population of two places is equal, they have age, sex, caste, religion and There may be variation of residence etc. Social structural development, variation, similarity characteristics, such important facts come to the fore which clearly explain the qualitative explanation. In this way the size of the population is explained by the individual (Macro Analysis) then the structure of the population is individual. micro analysis).
According to Prof. Halle, four main objectives are achieved by studying the structure of population.
1. With this, inter-population composition becomes possible in different populations.
2. The labor force in a society can be estimated.


Only after knowing the population structure can we understand the demographic process. For example, to know the birth rate and death rate, it is necessary to know the age structure and sex structure.

With the help of structural information, one can predict the social system and the possible changes in it.


Classification of population can be done on the basis of demographic characteristics like


  • Sex Composition
  • Working Population
  • Age Composition
  • Marital Status
  • Educational Standard
  • Distribution by Religion or Caste

Age and sex distribution are very important factors in demographics. If the number of children in the society is more, then the death rate will be high, the labor force will be less. As a result, the contribution of production to national development will be negligible. The same thing will happen even when the elderly are more. But if the youth power is more then his contribution will be special. Apart from this, rural and urban population marital status, work, occupation, education and religion caste are the factors which determine population by influencing birth rate, death rate and migration. Population structure and population process interact with each other. In the words of Thompson and Lewis, “There is a reciprocal relationship between population structure and its mortality, fertility rate and net migration.” That is, structure influences through age and sex structure. Duncan and Hauser say, “Population structure includes not only aspects such as age, sex and marital status of the population, but also health status, intellectual level, technical ability acquired through training, etc. 



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