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The University of Southampton
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 of Work and Pensions and the Office of National Statistics. Around the world, we work with global aid agencies such as the World Health Organisation, UNFPA, DFID and the United Nations. 

Here are more examples of how our researchers are creating impact: 

Improving surveys and opinion polls
Our researchers are working to improve opinion polls, by identifying discrepancies between polling errors and voting outcomes. Professor Patrick Sturgis chaired the British Polling Council/Market Research Society Inquiry into the 2015 General Election Opinion Polls, which identified the primary causes of the errors. This work [PB1] is leading to changes in government policy and influencing how polling agencies operate. 

Adolescent and reproductive health
Dr Sarah Neal has been working closely with colleagues from the World Health Organisation and other UN agencies to document how progress in reducing adolescent births differs within countries by socio-economic status, geographic location and age. In particular, her work has highlighted the fact that around two million girls give birth each year before the age of 16 years.  She has identified that these very young adolescents are not only more likely to be socially disadvantaged than older teens, but their infants have much lower chances of survival.  This research has fed into a number of key reports and meetings in order to raise the profile of this very vulnerable and often neglected group of very young adolescent mothers.  

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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