Demography

Demography

Demography

Demography

Excerpt

This book has been written mainly to provide a connected account of the principles and methods employed in the study of population for actuarial students and for all who are concerned with population statistics. The quality which is, perhaps, the most needed for success in demography is a proper understanding of the difficulties involved in the interpretation of the statistical data and the dangers inherent in their use to provide estimates applicable to future years. A general appreciation of such problems and pitfalls, of the technical processes and of other aspects of demography is obtained by the actuary elsewhere in his studies, but it is fitting that closer attention should be paid specifically to this subject in view of its importance today.

Difficulties and dangers will frequently be mentioned in the succeeding pages, because in demography it is easy to read too much into the facts and to assume without justification that apparent observed 'trends' will continue in the future. There are many traps into which the uninitiated may fall unless he is cautious and not over-anxious to obtain impressive results. To make available a proper and unbiased interpretation and to prevent wrong conclusions being drawn by others should be the chief aims of all demographers.

A number of other books are under preparation for the benefit of actuarial students, and to avoid needless repetition the relevant ground covered by them is not surveyed here in spite of the fact that it is germane to demography. Thus the meaning and uses of life and other contingency tables are explained in Life and Other Contingencies by Messrs Hooker and Longley-Cook, and the derivation and construction of such tables from the crude data is the subject of Mortality and Other Investigations by Messrs Bone and Haycocks; a knowledge of these subjects is therefore assumed here. The same is true of the existing textbooks which these new publications are to replace in due course. Fuller details . . .

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