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.

Good health and well-being Gender equality Decent work and economic growth Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The student will be able to manage statistical and demographic tools to apply the most known techniques 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 techniques, 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


Topics studies in Demography.
Basic concepts of demographic and health studies.
Population structure
- age pyramids
- Compositional indexes age and gender,
- Employment status indexes

Lab activity: build a population pyramid in Excel, calculation of indexes

Dynamic analysis of a population.
- The population equation
- Demographic balance and crude rates
- Growth rates (arithmetic, geometric, continuous),
- Doubling time
Generic rates of mortality, birth rate, immigration and emigration.
Net mortality, fertility, immigration and emigration rates.
Standardization methods

Lab activity:calculation of indexes in Excel

Lexis diagram
- Period and cohort analysis.

Fertility measures
- Total fertility rate
- parity rates, average birth age

Lab activity:calculation of indexes in Excel

Fertility and mortality in history
- The demographic transition
- Decreasing returns and population growth, Malthusian circuits,

Sanitary and epidemiological transition
- Evolution of causes of death
- Pandemics
- Years lived in good health and earnings in life expectancy.
- Differential mortality: by cause and level of education.

- Fragility and functional decline, not self-sufficiency.
- Silver Economy

The second demographic transition: family dissolution and new family models

Generations: definitions and changes in the transition to adulthood

- The evolution of the phenomenon in Italy, link with the demographic changes of the non-migrant population.
- Characteristics of the population, regularizations.
- Italian migration abroad

Demographic forecasts, projections, scenarios.
- Demographic inertia
- Demographic policies

The mortality table and biometric functions.

Lab activity: calculation of mortality table and biometric functions in Excel

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

Lab activity: event history Analysis with STATA


Notes of the lectures will be available through the Virtuale platform.
General references, particularly useful for students not attending lessons:
- G.C. Blangiardo, Elementi di demografia, Il Mulino, Bologna

- M. Livi Bacci A Concise History of World Population. Wiley-Blackwell.

- G. Caselli, V. Egidi, C. Strozza, L'Italia longeva. Dinamiche e diseguaglianze a cavallo di due secoli, Il Mulino Bologna

- Blossfeld, H., K. Golsch, and G. Rohwer. 2007. Event History Analysis with Stata. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.


Teaching methods

The program of the course is fully presented during the hours of frontal lessons. The lessons will be accompanied by laboratory exercises once a week aimed at applying the methodologies theoretically exposed during the lectures on real data. The software used will be Excel and STATA.

As concerns the teaching methods of this course unit, all students must attend Module 1, 2 [https://www.unibo.it/en/services-and-opportunities/health-and-assistance/health-and-safety/online-course-on-health-and-safety-in-study-and-internship-areas] on Health and Safety online.

Assessment methods

The teaching will be held in the second semester.

There are no partial tests.
There will be two exam sessions during the summer session (in June), a third and a fourth exam in September and February respectively.
The exam aims to verify the achievement of the following didactic objectives:
• knowledge of the demographic methods and survival models illustrated during the lectures
• ability to use these methods to analyze and interpret the main survival measures in a given population
• knowledge and ability to use the main software used in the context of demographic analysis
The exam consists in carrying out a written test, usually in a computer lab, lasting 1h30 consisting of exercises and open questions, followed by a discussion of the results. The text consists of 6 questions, 3 of which are open questions.
The evaluation is expressed in 30ths.

Graduation grid of marks:

- 18-23: sufficient preparation and analytical skills on a limited number of topics covered in the course.

- 24-27: adequate preparation and analytical skills but with some limitations; good operational skills, even if not particularly articulated.

- 28-30: very good knowledge of many topics covered in the course; good operational and critical skills.

- 30L: excellent and exhaustive knowledge of the topics covered in the course; critical analysis and connection skills.

During the test no notes or books will be allowed. However it is possible to use a form.
Registration for exams takes place via the Almaesami platform.

Teaching tools

The teaching tools are the projector and the blackboard. Videos and teach labs will be used

Office hours

See the website of Livia Elisa Ortensi