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Social Statistics and DemographyPart of Economic, Social & Political Science

Our Research Impact

The department of Social Statistics and Demography creates widespread impact by engaging with policy-makers, non-governmental organisations, and governments worldwide. We regularly disseminate our findings at public events and meetings, and we inform key stakeholders of important results. In the UK, we exchange knowledge with government agencies such as the Department for Work and Pensions and the Office for National Statistics. Around the world, we work with global aid agencies such as the World Health Organisation, UNFPA, DFID and the United Nations.

Recently, our research impact has been endorsed by the ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize. Centre for Population Change researchers have been recognised for their outstanding contributions to public policy which have improved estimates of the current and future population of the UK. Working with the ONS, members of our department have developed better measures of the three drivers of population change – fertility, mortality and migration – providing national and local policy-makers, planners and businesses with better evidence for policies and services.

Innovations in Official Statistics

Techniques developed at the University of Southampton have transformed the way that changes to surveys are made in official statistics. These methods have increased the availability and accuracy of estimates due to survey redesigns and procedures in major government surveys; these changes are typically made to realise savings. They were used in planning and managing the transition of the Office for National Statistics (ONS)’s International Passenger Survey from paper to tablet-based interviewing in 2017-8, were applied to the Welsh Government’s National Survey in 2016-17, and were used in a retrospective evaluation of changes in the UK’s Labour Force Survey.

Mortality life-tables
The Centre for Population Change modelling team, involving Prof. Peter W F Smith and Prof. Jakub Bijak from our Department, as well as colleagues from Maths – Dr Eren Dodd and Prof. Jon Forster – has proposed a revamped methodology for estimating decennial life tables for England and Wales. The life tables provide a crucial input into pension planning, health and social care provision, as well as a range of other applications. Hence, getting the estimates right is crucial for many groups of stakeholders, both in the public and private sectors. The key aspects of the new methodology include robust estimation of mortality for the oldest age groups, where the data are scarce, and providing coherent assessment of uncertainty of the estimates, which is crucial for prudent financial planning. The underpinning research can be found here (open access).


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