Learning outcomes of the course unit
Knowledge and understading
The course aims at providing knowledge and comprehension skills of demographic processes and their natural and migratory components. The knowledge of not only qualitative models but also quantitative methods of analysis of demographic phenomena will give students the possibility to comprehend the evolution of demographic systems, their differentiation over time and space, and likely future demographic scenarios.
Applying knowledge and understading
The skills provided within the course will give students the chance to apply and use (quantitative) demographic methods in the determination of specific demographic indicators. Such indicators will allow students to analyze and interpret demographic processes, also in the light of factors and elements of economic, political, social, and biological nature. In particular, they will be able to use their learned skills for a better comprehension of the political debate about the most relevant issues on population and socio-economic development.
The skills students will learn during the course will allow them to form an informed opinion on the possible effects and effectiveness of the possible policies, both domestic and international, concerning the most relevant demographic issues, such as low fertility and immigration.
The students will have to show ability in making reports and analyses, even including quantitative analyses, on topics of demographic nature. They will have to prove their skills of communicating others such knowledge and evaluations in a clear and pertinent way, getting interlocutors to be able to comprehend their own considerations.
The students will have to show skills of foreseeing likely future trends and patterns of demographic evolution, interpreting them in a long-time perspective and understanding the strong connections with domestic and international policies, socio-economic factors, and constraints of biological nature.
Course contents summary
Introduction. 1. Fundamentals of demography: concepts of rate and
probability; period and cohort; life tables. 2. First anmd second
demographic transition 3. Fertility between biology and personal choices. Age at reproduction. Intermediate determinants of fertility. Sex ratio at birth. Birth control and abortion. 4. Selection and survival. Infant mortality; differential mortality by gender; Old age and population aging. 5. Nuptiality and the importance of marriage in
demographic studies 6. Migrations: history and characteristics of human migrations.
The course is structured in lectures on different demographic topics. Open discussion and exchange of ideas between students and the teacher will be welcome.
Assessment methods and criteria
The assessment method adopted is a written examination based on both essays and multiple-choice questions. Such questions will be drawn up with the aim of evaluating, first of all, both the knowledge and understanding of the different topics treated within the course and its application through the calculation and interpretation of demographic indices. Independent and personal judgement will be evaluated through comments and critical analysis of data concercing specific case-studies. Evaluation of communication skills will be based on the ability to express clear concepts and considerations on demographic topics, on synthesizing skills, and on the use of appropriate terminology. Finally, learning skills will be demonstrated through the acquisition of satisfactory levels of personal interpretation, reasoning and independent elaboration of the concepts illustrated during the course.