Skip Navigation
UT wordmark
College of Liberal Arts wordmark
sociology masthead
Robert Crosnoe, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300

Spring 2009


Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

The purpose of this course is to provide an overview of the field of social demography. We will cover the basic population processesfertility, mortality, and migration/distributionalong with brief introductions to theory, data, and methods. The two main goals of this course are to: 1) introduce students to both classic and current literature in the field of social demography; 2) teach students to critically assess the major literature in the area. Our focus on "social demography" reflects the orientation of understanding population processes through a sociological lens. This does not eliminate other population perspectives (e.g., geographic, biological, economic, etc&) from consideration in this course, but the focus here tends to be on the social. There is no fully satisfactory textbook for this course. The comprehensive reference work of Hauser and Duncan (1959), entitled The Study of Population: An Inventory and Appraisal (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), served as such for awhile and is well worth taking a look at. More recently (2006), Poston and Micklin edited the Handbook of Population, which covers the key topical areas of population in as comprehensive a fashion as possible in one volume. It is an important contemporary resource for population students and we will, in fact, be reading a number of chapters from that volume; thus, you may want to consider buying the paperback version of this book as an excellent reference. On a more basic (introductory) level, the Population Reference Bureau (www. publishes their Population Bulletin on a quarterly basis, as well as monthly newsletter updates, annual data sheets for the world and the United States, and more. I urge you to become aware of the PRB publications and website because of the high value of their information for students of population. And on the technical side, we will draw a bit from the Siegel and Swanson (2004) demographic methods books in this course (full citation is below); this is a valuable source for students of demography at every level and is well worth purchasing at some point. Overall, the course will mainly focus on selected readings pulled from journals and books. Note, though, that a survey course of this kind, no matter how intensive, can only cover a small fraction of important readings in the field. Further, we will concentrate most of our effort on the core subjects of theory, data/methods, fertility, mortality, and migration/distribution with relatively little attention given to many emerging areas of demography (e.g., population aging, family demography, biodemography, etc..). Thus, I urge you to pay attention to articles published in the five leading outlets in the fieldDemography, Population and Development Review, Population Studies, Population Research and Policy Review, and Demographic Researchalong with other well-respected journals in the field (e.g., International Migration Review, Social Biology) and related fields (e.g., sociology, family studies, economics, geography, epidemiology, biology) on a regular basis as you progress throughout your graduate program and career.


bottom border