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What does a Demographer do?

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  • Written By: Sara Schmidt
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  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
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Population studies can cover a wide range of topics and trends. A demographer is a person who analyzes and interprets these elements. He or she studies population makeup, distribution, changes, and other factors concerning human communities.

Immigration, emigration, birth rates, and death rates are all demographics a demographer is likely to study. They often specialize in the causes and effects of these statistics. To do this, they collect data on population demographics, then analyze what the numbers might signify. Once they complete these tasks, demographers can predict future trends that may occur. This is how population estimates are given.

In addition to these basic concepts, many demographers specialize in narrower scopes. Some might study the numbers of women or minorities in a certain industry, educational field, or area. Others might focus on the effects of a high school or college education on a particular field, or how many children people in certain regions might have. There are nearly infinite types of data that a demographer may study in this light.

Demographers are helpful in a variety of fields. Social service agencies and government programs often rely on them for future planning. Government agencies often hire demographers to work in their research departments. Private businesses and market research companies also utilize demography in preparing for advertising, product development, and other endeavors. Demographers may also work for news agencies, mapmakers, electric companies, and nonprofit organizations.

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To become a demographer, one typically needs a master's or doctoral degree. Sometimes positions are available for those with a bachelor's diploma. A demographer may also be a sociologist. In this case, he or she may be known as a population sociologist. People in this field often encompass a wider range of studies, from population growth to social groups, in their work.

Some courses that demographers may take in college include sociology, urban planning, psychology, and economics. Statistics classes are also usually included in a demographer's coursework. A typical demography master's program includes two years of study at the graduate level. Demography students working on their doctoral studies often find employment as market research interviewers or college instructors.

Job outlook for demographers is considered good. Salary averages are moderate to high. Entry-level demography work may include interviewing people, testing questionnaires and studies such as the census, or conducting different types of field work. During the analysis of data, a demographer can usually expect to work in a modern office, often with computers or other technologically advanced equipment, though some amount of field work remains a common part of the job.

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Mmll
Post 3

I studied for a Bachelor of Science in Statistics and Operations Research at the University of South Africa, then went on to Study for a Master of Philosophy at the University of Cape Town, and I have to admit that demography is very hectic in its treatment of the dynamics of the human populations.

The master's degree covers the estimation and measurement of mortality, fertility and migration. These are the primary focus points for demographers. One then gets introduced to population projections and modelling methodologies.

My research interests lie in the estimation and projection of inter-regional migration using curve-fitting techniques and population projection software packages.

As a newly qualified demographer myself, I am confident that I will find a secure job soon. Demographic modelling is indeed a lot of work, guys!

roxytalks
Post 2

It sounds like a lot of what a demographer does involves predicting the future, whether it be for a government agency, or simply for a companies advertising and marketing department.

I would be very interested to know how accurate they are. Are there statistics available that measures this kind of information?

They must be pretty accurate if they are paid so well and if the job market is pretty secure for demographers. It sounds like a lot of work to me!

upnorth31
Post 1

I didn't know that you probably have to have a master's or a doctoral degree to become a demographer. I've always thought that this sounded like an interesting field to go into. I love studying people and am very interested in what they do and why. I thought this would be the perfect career and that studying demographic data would be a sort of professional people-watching!

I was not prepared to go to school for quite so many years though. I may have to find another career in which I can use my interest in the workings of people.

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