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The Laboratory of Demographic Data is a world-leading team in the area of demographic data. Our flagship projects such as the Human Mortality Database (HMD) and the Human Fertility Database (HFD) are more than just highly cited data projects that have thousands of users around the globe. They define new standards for scientific databases in demography and stimulate advanced research in many areas beyond demography, including social epidemiology, actuarial science, family sociology, and social policy. Maintaining data quality and standards is an even more important task today than it was back in 2000 when our Laboratory started its activities. In the conditions of the massive growth of online repositories, researchers should be very careful in obtaining and using data for their research. Fancy and attractive interfaces of some repositories and remarkable visualization tools may mask data that are very problematic and internationally incomparable. Our Laboratory aims at providing data of the highest possible quality that are comparable across countries, well-documented, transparent, and easy-to-use. These principles, first formulated in the HMD project, are used as guidelines in all our projects.
The Laboratory currently maintains and develops five international databases. All of them follow the principles of Open Data and can be freely used by the Institute’s researchers and international scholars, students, policy-makers, and journalists worldwide.
Besides data-related work, the Laboratory is directly involved in the research process. Its members are engaged in scientific projects on the analysis of demographic trends and patterns around the world, with a special focus on Europe. Researchers of the Laboratory of Demographic Data have been actively working on the development of methods for calculating aggregated demographic measures and reconstructing data series.
The Laboratory performs five principal tasks:
- Developing and updating demographic databases on human mortality and fertility, and producing new data resources in cooperation with researchers from other labs.
- Conducting research projects and data analyses.
- Consulting and providing methodological support on data collection for internal and collaborative projects at the MPIDR.
- Collecting and processing additional specific data from external sources.
- Engaging in teaching and supervising activities.
The Laboratory of Demographic Data is involved in many cooperative activities with other researchers and research groups within the MIPDR and has a large network of international collaborators.