Digital and Computational Demography

Detailed description

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The global spread of Internet, social media, and digital technologies has radically transformed the way we live, has created new opportunities to address longstanding research questions, and has enabled social scientists to ask new questions.

The main goals of the Lab of Digital and Computational Demography are:
1) to leverage the increasing quantity of available digital trace data as well as innovative forms of data collection, in order to address fundamental questions in demography; 2) to evaluate the impact of the digital revolution on demographic behavior; 3) to gain new insights into population processes with the aid of computationally-intensive approaches.

By developing new methods that use formal demography, statistics and data science tools to extract information from noisy and messy data, the lab aims at combining traditional and new data sources within a solid framework in order to shed light on important questions for our societies that cannot be addressed solely with traditional data.

Migration is the lab’s main thematic area of research. One of the most important challenges that our societies face is how to manage migration flows and the integration of migrants in the context of both slow population aging and sudden crises or shocks. Even though migration is one of the major sources of demographic and social change in our societies, data that are necessary to measure and model migration flows are often inexistent. When they do exist, they are typically inconsistent across countries or outdated. Evaluating more complex concepts such as cultural assimilation or flows of skills is even more elusive.

Beyond the focus on migration, the lab’s aims include (i) leveraging digital data and computational tools to shed light on broader demographic behavior and population processes, as well as (ii) evaluating the full demographic implications of the digital revolution.


Featured News

"One of the most important questions that demographers need to address now is how to manage migration flows and the integration of migrants" - Read more about the research priorities of Emilio Zagheni, MPIDR Director and Head of the Laboratory of Digital and Computational Demography in this news. (February 5, 2018)


Workshop: Symposium on Digital Demography

The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) is organizing and hosting the first Symposium on Digital Demography (Rostock, October 17-18, 2018). This event brings together prominent scholars in Demography, Sociology, and Computational Social Sciences.

It serves as a forum for discussion of the direction and latest advances in the field, as well as an opportunity to develop collaborative initiatives in research and training.

More details can be found here.



Phone +49 (0)381 2081-104
Phone +49 (0)381 2081-102