12 October 2018

Global health and the changing contours of human life

Wolfgang Lutz is one of the leading authors in a new Report of the International Panel on Social Progress.

School in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China © Plej92 | Dreamstime.com

School in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China © Plej92 | Dreamstime.com

The International Panel on Social Progress (IPSP) is an independent association of top research scholars with the goal of assessing methods for improving the main institutions of modern societies. The IPSP has produced a report consisting of twenty-two chapters in three volumes that distills the research of these scholars and
outlines what the best social science has to say about positive social change. Written in accessible language by scholars across the social sciences and humanities, these volumes assess the achievements of world societies in past centuries, the current trends, the dangers that we are now facing, and the possible futures in the twenty-first century. It covers the main socio-economic, political, and cultural dimensions of social progress, global as well as regional issues, and the diversity of challenges and their interplay around the world. The authors offer a cautiously optimistic conclusion: multiple ideas for social progress and better policies are available and deserve to be tested and implemented.

The International Panel on Social Progress is uniting the world’s leading researchers from social sciences and the humanities in a single effort: Developing research-based, multi-disciplinary, non-partisan, action-driven solutions to the most pressing challenges of our time.

World Population Program Director Wolfgang Lutz is on of the leading authors of chapter 18 "Global Health and The Changing Contours of Human Life".

Lutz is also one of 15 independent scientists to draft a report on sustainable development ahead of a global review set for 2019. He was appointed by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. During his long career, Lutz has worked on family demography, fertility analysis, population projection, and the interaction between population and environment. He has conducted a series of in-depth studies on population-development-environment interactions in Mexico, several African countries, and Asia, has authored a series of world population projections produced at IIASA and has developed approaches for projecting education and human capital.

Lutz is author and editor of 28 books and more than 200 refereed articles, including seven in "Science" and "Nature". In 2008 he received an ERC Advanced Grant, in 2009 the Mattei Dogan Award of the IUSSP, and in 2010 the Wittgenstein Prize. With the latter he founded the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital, a collaboration between IIASA, the Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU).


Global health and the changing contours of human life. Chapter 18, pages 713-752 in Aikins, A., Wikler, D., Allotey, P., Beisel, U., Cooper, M., Eyal, N., Hausman, D., Lutz, W., Norheim, O., Roberts, E., Vagero, D., and Jebari, K., in Rethinking Society for the 21st Century: Report of the International Panel on Social Progress. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781108399661.005

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Last edited: 23 October 2018


Wolfgang Lutz

Senior Program Advisor:Acting Research Group Leader

Population and Just Societies Program|Social Cohesion


and Wellbeing Research Group

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Research at IIASA's World Population Program


Lutz, W., Reiter, C. , Özdemir, C., Yildiz, D. , Guimaraes, R. , & Goujon, A. (2021). Skills-adjusted human capital shows rising global gap. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 118 (7), e2015826118. 10.1073/pnas.2015826118.

Lutz, W. & Gailey, N. (2020). Depopulation As A Policy Challenge In The Context Of Global Demographic Trends. UNDP Serbia

Reiter, C. , Özdemir, C., Yildiz, D. , Goujon, A. , Guimaraes, R. , & Lutz, W. (2020). The Demography of Skills-Adjusted Human Capital. IIASA Working Paper. Laxenburg, Austria: WP-20-006

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