SOC 369K • Population and Society
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
Population studies or demography is an interdisciplinary field, encompassing the study of the size, distribution, and composition of human populations, and the processes of fertility, mortality, and migration through which populations' change. These processes are closely connected to many of the pressing problems facing contemporary societies. For instance, the funding of health care in developed countries is a major issue because of the aging of populations. The current US Social Security problem is a legacy of fertility trends over the past 60 years. These processes are also important drivers of many contemporary environmental problems. Finally, a grasp of population processes is important for a deeper understanding of the population explosion in urban areas and the higher transmission and impact of AIDS in the developing world.
This course provides an introduction to the field of population studies. A sociological approach will be emphasized, but economic, geographic, anthropological, and biological perspectives will also be used. Attention will be given to a) the demographic concepts and techniques needed to objectively evaluate population issues and b) the substantive content of the population issues. Emphasis will be given to evaluating the evidence regarding debates on population topics.