Demographic analysis

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Demographic analysis examines and measures the dimensions and dynamics of populations. These methods have primarily been developed to study human populations, but are extended to a variety of areas where researchers want to know how populations of social actors can change across time through processes of birth, death, and migration. In the context of human biological populations, demographic analysis uses administrative records to develop an independent estimate of the population.[1] Demographic analysis estimates are often considered a reliable standard for judging the accuracy of the census information gathered at any time. In the labor force, demographic analysis is used to estimate sizes and flows of populations of workers; in population ecology the focus is on the birth, death, migration and immigration of individuals in a population of living organisms, alternatively, in social human sciences could involve movement of firms and institutional forms. Demographic analysis is used in a wide variety of contexts. For example, it is often used in business plans, to describe the population connected to the geographic location of the business.[2] Demographic analysis is usually abbreviated as DA.[3] For the 2010 U.S. Census, The U.S. Census Bureau has expanded its DA categories.[3] Also as part of the 2010 U.S. Census, DA now also includes comparative analysis between independent housing estimates, and census address lists at different key time points.[3]


Demography is the statistical and mathematical study of the size, composition, and spatial distribution of human populations and how these features change over time. Data are obtained from a census of the population and from registries: records of events like birth, deaths, migrations, marriages, divorces, diseases, and employment. To do this, there needs to be an understanding of how they are calculated and the questions they answer which are included in these four concepts: population change, standardization of population numbers, the demographic bookkeeping equation, and population composition.

Population change[edit]

Population change is analyzed by measuring the change between one population size to another. Global population continues to rise, which makes population change an essential component to demographics. This is calculated by taking one population size minus the population size in an earlier census. The best way of measuring population change is using the intercensal percentage change. The intercensal percentage change is the absolute change in population between the censuses divided by the population size in the earlier census. Next, multiply this a hundredfold to receive a percentage. When this statistic is achieved, the population growth between two or more nations that differ in size, can be accurately measured and examined.[4][5]

Standardization of population numbers[edit]

For there to be a significant comparison, numbers must be altered for the size of the population that is under study. For example, the fertility rate is calculated as the ratio of the number of births to women of childbearing age to the total number of women in this age range. If these adjustments were not made, we would not know if a nation with a higher rate of births or deaths has a population with more women of childbearing age or more births per eligible woman.

Within the category of standardization, there are two major approaches: direct standardization and indirect standardization.

Direct standardization[edit]

Direct standardization is able to be used when the population being studied is large enough for age-specific rate is stable.

Indirect standardization[edit]

Indirect standardization is used when a population is small enough that the number of events (births, deaths, etc.) are also small. In this case, methods must be used to produce a standardized mortality rate (SMR) or standardized incidence rate (SIR).[6][7]

Demographic bookkeeping (or balancing) equation[edit]

Demographic bookkeeping is used in the identification of four main components of population growth during any given time interval.

The demographic bookkeeping equation is as follows:

The four components being studied by this equation are population growth (P1, P2), Births (B), Deaths (D), and in- (Mi) and out- (Mo) migration.

Meaning, the population at any time is equal to the earlier population plus the excess of births over deaths in the time, plus the amount of in-migration minus the amount of out-migration.

Population composition[edit]

Population composition is the description of population defined by characteristics such as age, race, sex or marital status. These descriptions can be necessary for understanding the social dynamics from historical and comparative research. This data is often compared using a population pyramid.

Population composition is also a very important part of historical research. Information ranging back hundreds of years is not always worthwhile, because the numbers of people for which data are available may not provide the information that is important (such as population size). Lack of information on the original data-collection procedures may prevent accurate evaluation of data quality.

Demographic analysis in institutions and organizations[edit]

Labor market[edit]

The demographic analysis of labor markets can be used to show slow population growth, population aging, and the increased importance of immigration. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that in the next 100 years, the United States will face some dramatic demographic changes.[citation needed] The population is expected to grow more slowly and age more rapidly than ever before and the nation will become a nation of immigrants. This influx is projected to rise over the next century as new immigrants and their children will account for over half the U.S. population. These demographic shifts could ignite major adjustments in the economy, more specifically, in labor markets.[citation needed]

Turnover and in internal labor markets[edit]

People decide to exit organizations for many reasons, such as, better jobs, dissatisfaction, and concerns within the family. The causes of turnover can be split into two separate factors, one linked with the culture of the organization, and the other relating to all other factors. People who do not fully accept a culture might leave voluntarily. Or, some individuals might leave because they fail to fit in and fail to change within a particular organization.

Population ecology of organizations[edit]

A basic definition of population ecology is a study of the distribution and abundance of organisms. As it relates to organizations and demography, organizations go through various liabilities to their continued survival. Hospitals, like all other large and complex organizations are impacted in the environment they work. For example, a study was done on the closure of acute care hospitals in Florida between a particular time. The study examined effect size, age, and niche density of these particular hospitals. A population theory says that organizational outcomes are mostly determined by environmental factors. Among several factors of the theory, there are four that apply to the hospital closure example: size, age, density of niches in which organizations operate, and density of niches in which organizations are established.

Business organizations[edit]

Problems in which demographers may be called upon to assist business organizations are when determining the best prospective location in an area of a branch store or service outlet, predicting the demand for a new product, and to analyze certain dynamics of a company's workforce. Choosing a new location for a branch of a bank, choosing the area in which to start a new supermarket, consulting a bank loan officer that a particular location would be a beneficial site to start a car wash, and determining what shopping area would be best to buy and be redeveloped in metropolis area are types of problems in which demographers can be called upon.

Standardization is a useful demographic technique used in the analysis of a business. It can be used as an interpretive and analytic tool for the comparison of different markets.

Nonprofit organizations[edit]

These organizations have interests about the number and characteristics of their clients so they can maximize the sale of their products, their outlook on their influence, or the ends of their power, services, and beneficial works.


  1. ^[bare URL PDF]
  2. ^ Jean Murray. "How to Use Demographics for Business Advertising". Money. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  3. ^ a b c US Census Bureau Webdesign: SSD, Laura K Yax, Content: DSSD, Phil Gbur, POP, Jason Devine. "Coverage Measurement". Retrieved 26 March 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^
  5. ^[bare URL PDF]
  6. ^ "Direct and Indirect Standardization of Mortality Rates". Archived from the original on 3 April 2016. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  7. ^ examples of standardization

Further reading[edit]