The University of Southampton

DEMO6023 Population, Poverty & Policy

Module Overview

During the module you will develop your key skills in: 1. Critically evaluating research on population and policy issues from a wide range of sources 2. Improved analysis, debate, reading and writing The skills will be developed through writing an extended essay and through student-led seminars.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To describe and interpret the relationships between poverty and population processes (fertility, mortality and migration) – and their implications for policy.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe the debate about the impact of population growth on economic growth, both in its historical context and in the present day
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of poverty concepts and measurement, and its characteristics and trends over time in all parts of the world – in poor countries, but also within rich countries
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of inequalities and wealth and their effects on demographic processes
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key policy issues and proposed strategies related to poverty, development and population growth
  • Understand macro–level concerns about rapid population growth and its economic consequences, and the short-lived economic advantages of a youthful population structure – the ‘demographic dividend’
  • Understand micro level effects such as the adverse effect of poor health on the chances of individuals and households escaping poverty


Introduction Population growth and economic wellbeing Poverty – concepts and measurement Globalisation, poverty and inequality Poverty, global health policy and the MDGs High fertility, family planning and economic development Student-led seminar: Poverty and vulnerability of populations to climate change Poverty, pensions and ageing Concentrated poverty – causes and impact Student-led seminar: Women’s employment, fertility and development Migration and poverty in an interconnected world Poverty policies Student-led seminar: Maternal mortality, poverty and policy Deadline for handing in briefing paper 24th April 2017, 3pm

Special Features

This module requires students to identify their own relevant topic on which to write a briefing report. This will require students to identify and read published grey and white literature. Students need to interested in exploring how to synthesize scientific research and write in a way that would be helpful to readers including staff in NGOs, government agencies and practice organisations.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module is taught via a combination of lectures and seminars. The seminars are student-led, with presentations on a specific theme feeding into wider discussion.

Independent Study80
Total study time100

Resources & Reading list

Yeates, N. (eds) (2008). Understanding Global Social Policy. 

Bloom, D.E., Canning, D., & Sevilla, J. (2003). The demographic dividend. A new perspective on the economic consequences of population change, Population Matters.. 

Yeates, N. and Holden, C. (2009). The Global Social Policy Reader. 

Chen, S. and Ravallion, M (2008). The developing world is poorer than we thought, but no less successful in the fight against poverty. 

Ahlburg, D. (2002). Does population matter? A review essay. Population and Development Review. ,28 , pp. 329-350.

Text books, web sites, other sources of related information.. 

Towards a conceptual framework on population, reproductive health, gender and poverty reduction. In UNFPA (ed.), Population and Poverty: Achieving Equity, Equality and Sustainability.

Collier, P. (2007). The bottom billion: Why the poorest countries are failing and what can be done about it. 

Birdsall, N., Kelley, A., & Sinding, S. (2001). Population matters: Demographic change, economic growth and poverty in the developing world. 

Merrick, T. (2002). Population and policy: New views on an old controversy.. International Family Planning Perspectives. ,28 , pp. 41-46.


Assessment Strategy

Penalties for non-attendance at seminars: up to 25%.


MethodPercentage contribution
Briefing document  (2500 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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