Population Forecasting 1895–1945: The Transition to Modernity

Springer Science & Business Media, 31 ene. 1999 - 290 páginas
This book is about the transition to modernity of population forecasting. In many countries interest in the future course of population was kindled by debates on the population problem since the turn of the 19th century. The debates were alternately caused by fear of the economic consequences of over-population, by anxiety regarding the strategic demographic aspects of population decline, the decline of the national elite, or by the menace of imminent race suicide. Because population debates tended to be based on emotion rather than `objective' arguments, some economists and statisticians felt the need for a better understanding of population dynamics and its effect on the development of future population. Their pursuit of objectivity in population debates resulted in the development of a forecasting methodology based on the findings of life table theory and analytical demography. The innovation of forecasting methodology was greatly helped by improved public statistics: the published data of population censuses and ever-extending time series of demographic rates. At the same time the speculative nature of the resulting studies of future population provided an obstacle to the advancement of modern population forecasting by representatives of those schools of statistics, where the focus was on the reliability and trustworthiness of public statistics in the first place.
In the 1930s the innovation and propagation of knowledge of modern forecasting methodology received a new stimulus when it became clear that the new methodology could easily be applied in preliminary town planning research and urban and regional policy-making.
This book recounts the history of the origin and establishment of modern population forecasting methodology and the resistance the new methodology met with. It demonstrates - using George Herbert Mead's philosophy of time - that the emergence of modern population forecasting resulted in a drastic change of the societal position of the forecaster, the consequences of which still resound today. The book uncovers the first contributions to the description and theory of the demographic transition in the publications of the early innovators of population forecasting. It lays bare the pioneering position of inter-war population forecasting in The Netherlands and clarifies why the innovative endeavours of Dutch population forecasters of that period nevertheless remained hidden in international histories.
This book will be of interest to scientists, researchers and students in demography and applied demography, statistics, economy, social geography and urban and regional planning and science studies.

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A Dutch pioneer of demographic forecasting
The emergence of demographic forecasting in Europe
The international struggle for paradigm dominance
Competing methodologies in the Netherlands
Forecasting future housing need in the Netherlands
The search for practical applications in Dutch urban
The implications of the new paradigm
Index of names
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