Book Chapter

Digital and computational demography

Kashyap, R., Rinderknecht, R. G., Akbaritabar, A., Alburez-Gutierrez, D., Gil-Clavel, B. S., Grow, A., Kim, J., Leasure, D. R., Lohmann, S., Negraia, D. V., Perrotta, D., Rampazzo, F., Tsai, C.-J., Verhagen, M. D., Zagheni, E., Zhao, X.
In: Skopek, J. (Ed.): Research handbook on digital sociology, 48–86
Research handbooks in sociology -
Cheltenham, Edward Elgar Publishing (2023)


Digital and computational demography explores demography in relation to the digital revolution - the rapid technological improvements in digitized information storage, computational power and the spread of the internet and mobile technologies since the turn of the new millennium. We cover three ways in which the digital revolution touches upon demography. First, we discuss how digital technologies, through their impacts on daily lives and in shifting how individuals access information, communicate and access services, have implications for demographic outcomes linked to health and mortality, fertility and family, and migration. Second, we discuss how the digital revolution has created a wide range of new data sources such as digital trace and geospatial data that can be repurposed for demographic research, and enabled respondent recruitment across the world via the internet and social media. Third, we discuss how improvements in computational power have facilitated the use of computational methods such as microsimulation and agent-based modelling as well as machine learning techniques for demographic applications. We conclude by discussing future opportunities and challenges for digital demography.

Keywords: digital demography
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.