10016 - Social Demography

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 Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course aims to deepen the study of demographic phenomena with particular reference to their social determinants. The goal is to enable the student to analyze the complex system of interactions between determinants and demographic phenomena to interpret the historical and current evolution of populations and set the forecast hypotheses for their future evolution. At the end of the course, the student is able to analyze the diachronic evolution of demographic phenomena and make synthetic and analytical forecasts of the population.

Course contents

Introduction to Social Demography. The social determinants of demographic phenomena: age, gender, migratory status

- National sources
- International funds

Fertility and mortality in history
- The demographic transition
- population growth, Malthusian circuits,
- demographic pressure and development, the demographic transition

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

- Fragility and functional decline, non-self-sufficiency.
- Silver Economy
The second demographic transition: family dissolution and new types of family units
The generations definitions and changes in the transition to the adult state

- The evolution of the phenomenon in Italy, link with the demographic transformations of the non-migrant population.
- Characteristics of the population, Regularizations.
- Italian migration abroad
- Fertility of foreigners
- Sea arrivals, refugees, asylum seekers

Gender as a fundamental component of demographic analysis
The issue of intersectionality in the context of demographic reflection

The demographics of developing countries
- Demographic forecasts, projections, scenarios.
- Demographic inertia
- Demographic policies
- The contraceptive transition: the unmet need for contraception, the demand for children, demographic policies, sustainable development goals (SDGs)
- The role of female empowerment

The demographics of human rights
- gender-based violence and femicide
- early marriages
- selective abortions
- female genital mutilation
- demographic tools in war zones


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

- Billari F.C., Tomassini C. (2021). Rapporto sulla popolazione. L'Italia e le sfide della demografia, Il Mulino Bologna

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 SPSS/STATA.

Assessment methods

The teaching will be held in the first semester.
There are no partial tests.

The exam aims to verify the knowledge of the contents of the course

Students attending the lessons are given the opportunity to carry out the examination through the writing of a paper.

For students not attending the lessons the exam consists in carrying out a written test lasting 1h30 consisting of 4 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