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

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, the student acquires the fundamental knowledge of scientific theories, analytical methods, and current research topics in biodemography. More specifically, the student is able: to analyze life tables; to model human mortality and aging; to forecast the future of longevity; to investigate gender differences in life expectancy; to measure the human fertility and fecundity; to explore the intergenerational transmission of demographic behaviors.

Course contents

Historical perspective on biodemography.

Basic principles of demographic analysis. Cohort analysis and period analysis (recapitulation).

Gender differences in mortality from the foetal period to the old ages.

Continous mortality and mortality surfaces. Mortality models with frailty. Demographic heterogeneity and selection.

Multiple decrement life tables. Life table by causes of death. Decomposition of life expectancy variations by age and cause of death.

Human life history and longevity.

Stochastic mortality models. Lee-Carter model. Maximum likelihood estimation of the Lee-Carter model. Extension of the Lee-Carter model by inclusion of cohort effects.

Human reproduction. Birth interval, parity progression and fertility models.

Stationary and stable populations.

The Human Mortality Database and Human Fertility Database.

Using big data in demography. The IPUMS data collection.

Computer laboratory in R.


Notes of the lectures will be given during the course. It is possible to download them from the web site https://virtuale.unibo.it/

Suggested readings:

J. R. Carey and D. Roach (2020). Biodemography: An Introduction to Concepts and Methods. Princeton University Press

Teaching methods

The contents of the program will be stated within the lessons. In addition, practical work on statistical data will be proposed to the students (software: excel, Stata, R), and will be verified by the teacher.

Assessment methods

The examination aims to test the knowledge acquired on biodemographic topics and methods.

The exam is divided into two parts:

1) PRACTICAL PART: the student will carry out a project using real demographic data and the statistical software R;

2) ORAL PART: all the theoretical topics and demographic methods.

The final vote is an average of the marks obtained in the two parts.

Teaching tools

Overhead projector, computer lab.

Downlodable Power point files and other documents used during the lessons will be at the student disposal at the web site https://virtuale.unibo.it/.

Practical examples on demographic data and models will be performed in computer laboratories.

Office hours

See the website of Francesco Scalone