Thursday, November 5, 2009
The value of the study of demography is clear from the scope of this important field of study. Since the scope is constantly increasing, therefore, it shows the growing recognition of its importance. Demography helps in the understanding of population problems particularly of the less developed regions of the world. It also helps in planning the population of developed and undeveloped countries. International agencies are publishing data in this connection from time to time. The importance of demographical studies is clarified by the observation of the implications of rapid population growth. The chief problem concerning population in a country is to control population growth in correlation with the growth of health amenities, food supplies employment, education and housing. Demographical studies point out the conditions and requirements in these areas so that future development and growth may be planned accordingly. In brief, the following points may be noted about the importance of demography:
1. Health Planning:
Persistent high fertility causes significant health problems, both for the mother and the child. In most of the developing counties married women’s are characterised by continuous nutritional drain from repeated pregnancies. Premature curtailment of breast feeding is an important cause of high infant mortality. High fertility is connected with underdevelopment of children. Since demography studies fertility and connected problems therefore its study is a must for health planning of the country.
2. Planning of Food Supply:
Planning of food supply means availability of adequate food for total population, both in quality as well as in quantity. Inadequate food supply results in growth retardation high mortality rates, poor health, low physical activity and consequently low productivity. Therefore food supply must grow in correlation with population growth. Thus planning of food supply requires and presupposes population studies. In a particular nation it may not be possible to meet demands of food supply within the country. Different nations today very much depend upon other nations for food supply. Besides, undeveloped and underdeveloped countries cannot meet the demands of food supply without the help of international agencies. Therefore, Population Council and Population Division of UNO study population growth and food supply on an international basis so that help may be advanced to undeveloped and underdeveloped countries.
3. Employment Planning:
Employment is an international problem these days. Unemployment and under development is fast growing not only in the economically backward countries but also in more developed nations. A demographic factor of considerable importance is the high dependency ratio in less developed countries such as
4. Educational Planning:
Every nation today is concerned with providing proper education to the children. The number of children however, is constantly increasing. Therefore, educational planning for children requires demographical planning. This is also required in the case of uneducated adults. For example in
5. Housing Planning:
Demand for housing increases with the increase in the size of population. Therefore data for mortality, fertility, migration and family formation provide basis for estimates of housing required. For example, according to the estimates prepared by the Economic and Social Commission for
The term demography has been derived from two Greek words meaning Demos or the people to draw or write. Thus literally speaking, demography is concerned about writings concerning the people. The following definitions of demography will help in the understanding of its meaning:
“Demography is the scientific study of the size, territorial distribution and composition of population, changes therein, and the components of such changes, which may be defined as natality, mortality, territorial movement (migration) and social mobility (change of status).”
This definition of demography is not sufficiently wide. In fact the field of demography changes according to time, place circumstances. This point has been particularly raised by Warren S. Thompson and David T. Lewis in their book Population Problems (1965).
Nature of Demography
Explaining the scientific nature of demography, Irene Taeuber has pointed out, “With improved data, new techniques and the precise measurement of the demographic transition that is occurring, demography has become science rather than literature”. This was also emphasized by John V. Grauman when he said, “Demography is both an abstract science and applied technology.” Demography today uses scientific methods, the most important of which is analysis. As S.N, Agarwala said, “Demography deals with population dynamics and composition, which covers a wider area……We are shifting from demography to population studies.”
Scope of Demography
The scope of demography has been classified into two sections: Macro-demography and micro-demography. While the former includes studies of systems, cultures and societies on a large scale, the later study the individual and the family as a unit of society. Thus the later study has smaller units and it is conducted intensively. In the words of Donald J. Bogue, “It is the study of the growth, distribution and redistribution of the population within a community, state, economic area or other local area. This includes both numerical and compositional aspects and is performed by using meaningful subdivisions of community or local areas.”