78991 - Demography and Survival Analysis

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Decent work and economic growth Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

The student will be able to manage statistical and demographic tools to apply the most known tecniques in survival analysis. More specifically, the student will be able to calculate and read the cohort and period survival tables, to estimate survival curves using non parametric estimation tecniques, to evaluate the consequences of medium and short term components of demographic evolutions and regimes, to analyse individual and biographical data with a cohort approach.

Course contents

Basic concepts of demographic and health studies. Principal components of the population dynamic. Relations between dynamic and structures.

Mortality analysis: gross and specific mortality rates, standardization methods.

Age, period and cohort; Lexis diagram, managing data and processes on the diagram. period and cohort analysis.

Mortality analysis: the survival table, methods and uses. The stationary population of the survival table.

Years spent in healthy conditionsand variations in life expectancies. Differential mortality by causes of Death and levels of education.

Reproduction measures

Population prospects: tecniques and evolutions

Introduction to the analysis of survival data: censoring and truncation. Estimation of the survivorship functions with non parametric methods: Kaplan-Meier product-limit and life table methods.

Hazard function: definition and estimate. Relationship between hazard, survivorship and density functions in survival data analysis.

Comparison of survivorship functions: log-rank and Wilcoxon rank sum test.

Semiparametric Cox regression model: definition, assumptions, estimation and hypothesis tests; interpretation of estimated coefficients.


Notes of the lectures will be given during the course. It is possible to download them from the web site of AMS Campus - AlmaDL - Università di Bologna

General references:

G.C. Blangiardo, Elementi di demografia, Il Mulino, Bologna, 1997 (I,II,III capp.)

D. W. Hosmer, S. Lemeshow. Applied Survival Analysis: Regression Modeling of Time to Event Data, Wiley, New York, 1999.

Teaching methods

All topics are illustrated with demographic data using some demographic software packages

Assessment methods

The exam test aims to verify the achievement of the following learning objectives:
• knowledge of demographic methods and survival models dealt during the lectures
• ability to use these methods to analyze and understand the main survival measures in a population
• knowledge and ability to use the main demographic software packages

The exam consists in a written test of the duration of two hours. If possible it occurs in a tech lab. The test is composed of exercises and open questions and is followed by an oral discussion. Question scores are indicated for each point.

Teaching tools

Videos and teach labs

Office hours

See the website of Rosella Rettaroli