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Demographic Concepts and

Terms/Elements of Population
By: Imran Ahmad Sajid

Presentation at Department of Social Work, University of Peshawar, on Monday,


06-Dec-2010

Emergence of Demography
People are the material out of which nations and societies are made, and
concern over the number of people runs through history, 1from the ancient times
of Pharaoh, Greece, and Rome to the medieval and modern era. King William,
Duke of Normandy, ordered a census of England after its conquest in 1066 which
resulted in Doomsday Book. Pharaohs of Egypt began doing census as early as
2500 BC. The emperors of Rome also counted and assessed their subjects
frequently—Augustus ordered a count of the entire empire for three times during
his period. Why all this interest in counting people? To estimate tax revenue and
military manpower. 2

To know how much revenue a tax can produce, a government needs to know
how many people will be paying it. Moreover, only by knowing how many people
live in a particular district can the central government be sure that local officials
are not embezzling. For example, a local tax official might report to the imperial
government that there are 5,000 tax paying families in his district when there
are, in fact, 8,000, thus enabling him to pocket the taxes paid by 3,000 families.

By the same token, only by knowing the number of able-bodied males of military
age can a ruler estimate how large an army he can raise.

Thus, from ancient times, governments constituted census. However, there was
a problem with all these censuses, with the passage of time, they become out-
dated. The reason was obvious; populations often change rapidly. Therefore, it
may be necessary to redo a census frequently to have accurate information.
However, censuses are very expensive; therefore governments are often
reluctant to conduct them. But over time, ways have been found to gauge
population changes. It is because of the fact that populations often fluctuate in
size; governments encouraged inquiry into why this occurs. Thus was born the
science of demography.3

The word demography is formed from the Greek word demos, meaning ‘people’
and graphy meaning ‘description’. Doing demography means describing people.

1
Hustcinson. (1967). The Population Debate. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. P. 1.
2
Rodney Stark. (1989). Sociology. [3rd Ed.]. Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing
Company. P. 520.
3
Ibid. p. 522.
Whenever you here about population growth, death rate, birth rate, fertility rate
etc, you are hearing to the work done by the demographers.

Demography is defined as, the scientific study of human population primarily


with respect to their size, structure and development (change)----UN

It seems that demography is interested in number of people, but it is more than


just a numbers game. It poses crucial questions about the effects of population
growth and how it may be controlled or diverted.

Demographic Concepts and Terms/Elements of


Population
As we know, populations grow or decline due to the changes in fertility, mortality
or migrations patterns. For a scientific demographic analysis understanding of
several basic concepts (elements of) population is essential. These including;

• Fertility

o Fecundity

o Crude birth rate

o Total Fertility rate

• Mortality

o Crude death rate

o Infant mortality rate

o Life expectancy

• Migration

o Immigration

o Emigration

• Population growth

o Positive population growth

o Negative population growth

o Zero population growth


A- Fertility
Any study of human population must concern itself with how many people are
born.4 Fertility occupies the central position in demographic analysis. The growth
of population depends on fertility.

Fertility is the actual number of births in a given population.5 On the other hand,
fertility rate is the annual number of births per 1,000 women of childbearing age,
usually between 15-44.

Fertility is different from fecundity which is the physiological ability to have


children. Most women during child bearing age (15-45) are capable of producing
children. During this time, a woman could potentially have up to 25-30 children;
however, this number is far from real life. It is for the reason that there are some
barriers to child bearing including health, culture, social norms, financial
concerns, and personal choice etc.

Fertility is of two types, natural fertility and controlled fertility. Natural fertility is
the fertility which exists in the absence of deliberate birth control. Controlled
fertility is the fertility which involves a deliberate use of birth control. 6

i. Crude Birth Rate


Fertility is often measured through Crude Birth Rate (let it be denoted by ‘b’). It
is the number of annual live births per 1,000 people in a given population.7 Live
births mean it does not include still births (born dead). A live birth is defined by
WHO as, any born human being who demonstrates independent signs of life,
including breathing, voluntary muscle movement, or heartbeat. CBR is
calculated by the following formula;

Total number of live births in a year x 1,000


Total mid year population

Consider the following hypothetical example;

Total population = 30,000

Live births per year = 150

By putting the values in formula, we have;

Birth Rate = 150 x 1000 = 50


3000

4
John J. Macionis. (1993). Sociology. [4th Ed.]. New Jersey: A Simon and Schuster
Company. P. 588.
5
Henry L. Tischler. (1998). Introduction to Sociology. [8th Ed.]. Balmont, California:
Wadsworth Publishing Company. P. 416.
6
Anwar Alam. (2008). Demography: Population Explosion and Control. Peshawar:
Department of Sociology, University of Peshawar. P. 105.
7
Ibid.
There were about 40,94000 live births in Pakistan during 2008 in a population of
163.76 million.8 By our formula we have

CBR = 40,94000 x 1000 = 25


163,760,000

A CBR of 30 and above is considered to be high while below 20 is considered to


be low. This birth rate is termed crude because it is based on the entire
population irrespective gender, race, territorial distribution, origin etc.

B- Mortality
Mortality is the percentage of deaths in a population. Death, as defined by the
UN, is the permanent disappearance of all evidence of life at any time after birth
has taken place.

i. Crude Death Rate


Corresponding to the Crude Birth Rate, demographers use a Crude Death Rate.
CDR (let it be denoted by ‘d’)is the annual numbers of deaths per 1,000 people
in a given population.9 CDR is calculated by the following formula;

Total number of Deaths in a year x 1,000


Total mid year population

Consider the following hypothetical example;

Total population = 3,000

deaths per year = 75

By putting the values in formula, we have;

Death Rate = 75 x 1000 = 25


3000

There were about 12,60,952 deaths in Pakistan during 2008 in a population of


163.76 million.10 By our formula we have;

CDR = 12.60,952 x 1000 = 7.7


163,760,000

CDR blow 10 is considered to be low while CDR above 20 are considered to be


very high.

8
Ministry of Finance. (2009). Economic Survey of Pakistan 2008-09. Islamabad: Ministry
of Finance, Government of Pakistan.
9
Henry L. Tischler. (1998). Op.Cit. p. 417.
10
Ministry of Finance. (2009). Economic Survey of Pakistan 2008-09. Islamabad: Ministry
of Finance, Government of Pakistan.
ii. Infant Mortality Rate
A third widely used demographic measure is the infant mortality rate (IMR). It is
the number of children who die within the first year of life per 1,000 live births.
Out of 1,000 babies born this year in Pakistan, more than 70 will die till next
year. It means that out of 4094000 live births in Pakistan during 2008, more than
287000 died before 2009.

IMR offers a good general measure of overall quality of life, level of health
services and physical development in a society.

iii. Life Expectancy


Life expectancy or Life expectancy at birth is the average number of years that a
newborn baby can expect to live. Countries with high infant mortality rate have a
lower life expectancy while the countries with a lower level of IMR have a high
level of life expectancy. In Pakistan, life expectancy for both sexes is 65.2 years
(65.4/m and 65.7/f). Likewise, life expectancy in less developed countries (LDCs)
is around 60 while in developed countries it is around 80s.

C- Migration
Populations also change when people move into or outside a society. Migration is
the movement of people from one geographical area to another11.

Migration is sometimes involuntary, as illustrated by arrival of Afghan and Indian


refugees into Pakistan during 80s and 50s respectively. It is also voluntary when
people are motivated to move by complex push and pull factors.12

i. Immigration
Immigration is the movement of people into a territory (let it be denoted by ‘I’).
In other words, it is the process of entering to another territory. For example,
migrants coming from Afghanistan into Pakistan are immigrants. They are
immigrating to Pakistan.

ii. Emigration
Emigration is the movement of people out of a territory (let it be denoted by ‘e’).
For example, Pakistanis going to Malaysia or Australia for permanent residence
are emigrating from Pakistan. So, it is the process of leaving a country
permanently.

Immigration and emigration both moves simultaneously. People, at the same


time, are immigrants and emigrants simultaneously. Aslam leaving Pakistan is
emigrating from Pakistan and moving to Dubai for permanent residence is
immigrant to Dubai government.
11
Henry L. Tischler. (1998). Op.Cit. p. 418.
12
Macionis. (1993). Op. Cit. p. 589.
iii. Net Migration
It is the difference between immigration and emigration. It is measure by
number of people entering into a population minus number of people leaving
that population. it is calculated through following formula;

Net-migration = immigrants – emigrants x 1000


Total population

Consider the following hypothetical example;

Immigrants = 50
Emigrants = 65
Total population = 3000

By putting the values in the formula we have;

Net-migration = 50-65 x 1000= -5


3000

D- Population Growth
Population growth is known as change in any population over time.13 The rate of
change in a population over a period of time is known as population growth rate
(let it be denoted by ‘r’). Population growth rate is calculated through the
following formula;

Births – Deaths + Net-migration

Consider the following hypothetical example;

Total population = 3000

Birth rate = 50

Death rate = 25

Net migration rate = -5

Population Growth Rate 50-25-5 x 1000 = 20 = 6.66


3000 3

13
Population Growth. (2010). Wikipedia. In the website Wikipedia the Free
Encyclopedia. Retrieved on December 04, 2010 from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_growth
i. Positive Population Growth
Positive population growth is a situation in which the number of newborns and
the number of immigrants is greater than the number of dying and emigrating
people. Mathematically it can be expressed as

Positive population growth = b + i > d + e

Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and most of other developing countries are


experiencing a positive population growth. Growth rate in Pakistan was 1.8
percent for 2009.

ii. Negative Population Growth


Population growth will be termed as negative when births plus immigration is
less then deaths plus emigration. Mathematically it can be expressed as

Negative population growth = b + i < d + e

Japan, Germany, Italy (and most of other European countries), and Russia, are
experiencing a negative population growth rate.

iii. Zero Population Growth


Zero population growth is a situation in which the number of new births and the
number of immigrants in a population is no more than the number of dying
people and the number of emigrants, so that the population size remains the
same for the period of time.

In other words, population is in equilibrium with a growth rate of zero, when


births plus immigrants is equal to deaths plus emigrants. Mathematically,

Zero population growth = b + i = d + e

Spain, Belgium, Austria, and Green land are experiencing almost zero population
growth rates.

Conclusion
Proper understanding of demographic concepts and terms/elements of
population change are necessary for demographers similar to the knowledge of
accounting terminologies for an accountant.