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J Aust Popul Assoc. 1994 May;11(1):1-8.

Progress in Australian demography.



An assessment was made of the progress in the academic discipline of demography in Australia. The Australian Population Association (APA) had 411 members in 1994 and included 109 corporate members as well as other demographers and users of demographic research. Demography has been defined as the study of human populations and population groups and the determinants of changes in the size and structure of populations. Demographic analysis is relevant to an understanding of the environment, human resources, health and mortality, family structure, the role of women, and the social, cultural, and institutional context of demographic change. In 1952, the academic study of demography focused on the links between quantification and the social system. Students were directed to post-graduate studies and research. 35 doctoral graduates were trained between 1959 and 1976, of whom 11 were Australians and 24 were from other countries. Career positions were available primarily in demographic units of other departments of economics, geography, history, anthropology, and sociology. Departmental changes followed the American model. Movement was away from assessment of major themes to more directed study and training of developing country experts in their own country, except for doctoral studies for the best students. Now most developing country experts are trained in Australia. A survey in 1992 found that 100 demography courses were available from 26 Australian universities. Demography became a separate discipline in 1952 and was primarily devoted to training demographers from developing countries. The Australian National University trains about 60 students annually. In 1985 a National Center for Epidemiology and Population Health was established. Other important centers included the Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Bureau of Immigration and Population Research. Future training should be directed to Australian demography at the undergraduate and post graduate level.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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