The future of demography

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What does the future hold for demography? At a time of renewed public interest in population issues stemming from concerns about the natural environment, population ageing in the North and the emerging might of the South, this question has never been more legitimate. Moreover, with the teaching of demography under threat from the harmonization of university degrees in Europe and the refocusing of curricula around established disciplines (economics, sociology, geography, biology), this question is doubly pertinent today.

Following a paper presented by Dominique Tabutin(Catholic University of Louvain) at the 25th International Population Conference in Tours, we invited a panel of colleagues to contribute to the debate. In response to Dominique Tabutin’s article, four viewpoints are expressed by six colleagues with a wide range of perceptions, hopes and priorities. These contributions are signed by: Graziella Caselliand Viviana Egidi; Daniel Courgeauand Robert Franck; John Hobcraft; and Jan M. Hoem.

These contributions do not cover the issue from all angles, nor do they claim to be representative. Yet we believe that the time was right to initiate a debate on a discipline founded not only on the specific nature of population questions but also on the interplay between disciplines.

The Editors

Michel Bozon,

Éva Lelièvre,

Francisco Munos-Perez