Demographic research is founded to a high degree on solid statistical methodology. The members of the Laboratory of Statistical Demography contribute their expertise to projects conducted in other Laboratories of the Institute and they perform their own research projects devoted to developing new approaches and techniques for research questions that cannot be tackled by standard procedures.
The methodology developed in the Laboratory often deals with problems where essential information can either not be observed or only be observed indirectly. Such problems are prominent in historical demography and paleodemography, where in the latter case information on the lives of individuals can only be recovered from skeletal and archeological remains. The modelling of heterogeneous populations and the estimation of individual heterogeneity from aggregate data also has to be mentioned in this context. Such methodology is crucial in the study of the rate-of-aging and ontogenescence, the latter which is concerned with mortality and mortality selection at the very beginning of life. Both research areas are addressed by the Laboratory of Survival and Longevity. The estimation of transition intensities in time-inhomogeneous multi-state models from incomplete data is another field of research in the Laboratory.
Furthermore, members of the Laboratory contribute to projects in the Laboratory of Evolutionary Biodemography, where age-specific trajectories of vital rates have to be estimated under quite complicated sampling and observation schemes, the consequence of practical limitations in studies of animal populations in the wild. The Laboratory also provides sampling plans for projects conducted in the Laboratory of Historical Demography.
Researchers of the Laboratory also contribute to the educational programs the Institute is involved in (the European Doctoral School for Demography, the MaxNetAging Research School, and the International Max Planck Research School for Demography), thus promoting the use of up-to-date statistical methods in demographic research.