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DEMO6023 Population, Poverty & Policy

Module Overview

During the module you will develop your key skills in: 1. Assessing the nature of the evidence base on population, poverty and policy issues from a variety of sources; 2. Improved analysis, debate, reading and writing The skills will be developed through writing a briefing paper 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:

  • Analyse different approaches to the conceptualisation and measurement of poverty.
  • Analyse the interrelationships between population processes and poverty: at both the micro and macro levels; and in different contexts, encompassing the Global South and North.
  • Discuss the implications of these interrelationships for policy.


The module content may vary to an extent from year to year according to the research interests of the module lecturers. However, indicative content includes: - Poverty – concepts and measurement; - Population growth and economic wellbeing; - Globalisation, poverty and inequality; - Poverty, global health policy and the MDGs; - High fertility, family planning and economic development; - Poverty, pensions and ageing; - Concentrated poverty – causes and impact; - Migration and poverty in an interconnected world.

Special Features

This module requires students to identify their own relevant topic on which to write a briefing paper. This will require students to identify and read published academic and grey literature, to summarise and assess the nature of the evidence base by synthesising and evaluating scientific research, and to write in a way that is accessible and helpful to readers including staff in NGOs, government agencies and practice organisations.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching and learning is through a mixture of a) lectures and b) student-led seminars. Reading distributed in advance of the seminars provides the basis for learning through student-led discussion.

Independent Study80
Total study time100

Resources & Reading list

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

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

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

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

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

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. 

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. 

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


Assessment Strategy

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


MethodPercentage contribution
Briefing document  ( words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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