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The University of Southampton

DEMO6020 Demographic Methods I

Module Overview

This Module provides an introduction to the technical basis of demography. It focuses on concepts and methods underpinning demographic analysis and provides a practical introduction for those professionally engaged with demographic work (in government departments, for example) as well as for MSc and doctoral students in a wide range of cognate disciplines. The module is numerical but not highly mathematical so that some prior familiarity with quantitative methods is an advantage but not required. Extensive use is made of Excel worksheets. Pre-requisite for DEMO6016 One of the pre-requisites for DEMO6022

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Define and interpret key concepts used in demographic methods.
  • Identify principal sources of demographic data and assess their strengths and weaknesses.
  • On successful completion of this module, you will be able to discuss the demographic significance of age structures and the implications of variations in age structure.
  • Identify the components of population change, including the effects of changing birth, death and migration rates, and demonstrate their influences on age structures.
  • Specify and calculate the principal demographic measures, and standardise these measures for comparison and interpretation.
  • Describe the rationale for the use of demographic models and to be able to use such models for practical purposes.
  • Construct and interpret single-decrement life tables.
  • Apply the cohort-component method to compute your own population projection.


Sources of demographic data, population size and growth, age-sex structures, principles of demographic measurement, key demographic rates and measures, direct and indirect standardisation, life tables, current methods for making population estimates, period and cohort perspectives.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The course is offered over 5 working days and attendance is required for all sessions. There are worked examples throughout as well as take-home exercises, which can be used for revision at the end of the course. Key materials including textbooks and papers are all provided electronically so that all can be accessed remotely after the end of the course.

Independent Study80
Total study time100

Resources & Reading list

Siegel, J.S. (2002). Applied Demography: applications to business, government, law and public policy. 

S Preston, S.H., Heuveline, P. and Guillot, M. (2001). Demography: Measuring and Modelling Population Processes. 

Rowland, D. (2003). Demographic Methods and Concepts. 


Assessment Strategy

The module is examined through a written 2-hour examination requiring some simple data manipulations, an analysis section on standardisation and life tables, and a third section on definitions and concepts.


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Approved Calculators

Candidates may use calculators in the examination room only as specified by the University and as permitted by the rubric of individual examination papers. The University approved model is Casio FX-570. This may be purchased from any source and no longer needs to carry the University logo.


You will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc.


Where a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However, due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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