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Demography is the study of the basic demographic processes of fertility, mortality, and migration and their consequences for population distributions of various kinds including age and sex composition and the spatial distribution of population. Social demography expands the focus of demography to additionally examine the intersection of demography with social distributions and dynamics, particularly population composition and differences in demographic distributions by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Demographic analysis draws on a specialized set of techniques, methods and models including life table analysis; survival analysis; measurement of demographic rates, ratios, and population composition; stable population theory; decomposition analysis; mathematical and simulation models; and a wide range of related methods and techniques of analysis.

Examples of topics studied include trends in population growth and how it is shaped by the components of fertility, mortality, and migration and immigration; spatial distribution of population; causes and consequences of immigration; age and sex composition of the population; residential segregation of social groups including racial and ethnic groups and socioeconomic groups; socioeconomic distributions, poverty, and inequality; and how social outcomes of different kinds are impacted by demographic distributions and processes. Regarding areas of substantive focus, the Department has particular strengths in the demography of China and East Asia; the demography of racial and ethnic groups, demography of sexual orientation, residential segregation and spatial assimilation; immigration, and demographic aspects of labor force, poverty and socioeconomic inequality.

Opportunities to conduct advanced demographic research are enhanced by the presence of the Texas Research Data Center (TXRDC) on campus.