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Definition, Nature, Scope and Importance of Demography

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Definition, Nature, Scope and Importance of Demography

Definition, Nature, Scope and Importance of Demography

The term �demography’ is derived from two Greek Words, �Demas’ the people and �Grapho’, to draw or write. Thus its meaning is to draw or Write about people.

The credit for fusing together the two Greek words and coining the term demography goes to Achilles Guillard in 1855 wrote his book. �Elements de statistique humaine en demographic camparee’. In fact John Graunt is the real founder of demography, who in 1762 wrote the book “Natural. and poliica1 observation made

upon the bills of Mortality”.


Definition of Demography

As regard definition of this term, the economists, geographers, social scientists and others have defined it in their own way that suits their convenience and view point. Obviously some definitions have adopted a narrow outlook on the subject while some have made its scope very wide. Some of the important definitions which have been given in this regard are discussed below.

The Multilingual Demographic Dictionary defines demography as the “Scientific study . of human populations, primarily with respect to their size, their structure and their development.”. (U.N. 1958: 3)

The Multilingual Demographic Dictionary, however, differentiates between various aspects of demography by defining separately demographic statistics, economic demography and social demography; the latter two imply the “study of relations between demographic phenomena on the one hand and economic and :social phenomena on

the other”.

Another limited view Of demography is taken by Wrong who defines it as the statistical description and analysis of human populations.

According to Peter R.Cox“Demography is the study of statistical methods of human population involving primarily the measurements

of the size, growth and diminution of the numbers of the people ,the proportions of living being born or dying within the same area or region and the related functions of fertility, mortality and marriage”

Thompson and Lewis: “The population student is interested in a population’s size, composition and distributions; and in changes in these aspects through time and the causes of These changes. Ultimately he is interested in these changes because they are related to, human welfare.”

The emphasis was on the study of(1) the, size of population, (2) the composition of population, and (3) the distribution of population.

According to Von Mayor: “Demography is the numerical analysis of the state and movement of human population inclusive of census enumerations and registration of vital processes and of whatever qualitative analysis can be made of the state and movement of population on the basis of fundamental census and registration data.”

This definition traces historical origin of demography’s a subject and shows its close link with statistics. -Although Von Mayor himself did not mention about any demographic theory, yet he has explicitly stated the importance of such theories in the subjects Demography can thus be regarded as a kind of biological book keeping, a continuous inventory and analysis of human population and its vital processes. .

Some other writers have taken a more’ comprehensive view in defining the discipline of demography which covers more clearly its nature and score For example, Hauser and Duncan define it in the following manner: �Demography is the study of size, territorial distribution, and composition of population changes therein, and the components of such changes, which may be identified as natality, mortality, territorial movement (migration), and social mobility (change of status).”

In this definition, composition of population implies (1) such traits as age, sex, race, and ethnic origin (the biological or fixed traits), (2) such life cycle attributes as educational level and marital and household status; and (3) such variable characteristics as occupation, socio-economic status, income, etc.

Other Definitions

1.�Frank Lorlner: “In broad sense demography includes both demographic analysis and population studies. A broad study of .demography studies both qualitative and quantitative aspects of population.”

2.Donald.J. Bague: “Demography is the mathematical and statistical study of the size, composition, and spatial distribution of human population and of changes over time in these aspects through the operations of the five processes of fertility, mortality,

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