30 November 2012

IIASA demographer presents new findings in Australia

IIASA’s Wolfgang Lutz gave a public lecture yesterday in Australia, co-sponsored by IIASA’s newest National Member Organization, CSIRO.

Children at school, © Dmitry Berkut | Dreamstime.com © Dmitry Berkut | Dreamstime.com

Children at school, © Dmitry Berkut | Dreamstime.com

In his talk on 29 November, Lutz announced new results from IIASA’s World Population Program. A new project led by Lutz provides population projections for 195 countries in the world until the end of the century. The projections include not just a count of how many people there will be, but also projects people’s gender balance and education levels– key factors for understanding how societies will evolve. As Lutz says, “We are concerned not just with counting the number of heads, but with what is in those heads.”

By taking a broader view of demography, Lutz and colleagues have made some surprising new findings. For example, the new scenarios suggest that education can help people adapt and respond more effectively to the challenges posed by climate change. Recent work has also shown that more highly educated people tend to have longer lifespans.

The new population scenarios form the human core of new pathways called Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) that will tie into future climate projections and other modeling exercises in coming years. They were developed based on input from over 500 international population experts.

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Last edited: 12 November 2013

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