Demographer Ryan Robinson


Demographers are population specialists who collect and analyze vital statistics related to human population changes, such as births, marriages, and deaths. They plan and conduct research surveys to study population trends and assess the effects of population movements. Demographers work for government organizations as well as at private companies across the country.

The duties of a demographer include include, but are not limited to:

  • Calculating growth rates for populations based on birth and death rates
  • Collecting data on births, deaths, marriages, divorces, migration trends, etc. for specific geographic areas
  • Conducting surveys and interviews in order to gather information on topics related to human behavior, such as family structure, living arrangements, and health care needs
  • Making projections about population trends based on available data
  • Studying economic, cultural, political, and environmental factors that affect population growth or decline over time
  • Identifying challenges facing communities, including possible solutions
  • Analyzing demographic data using statistical software programs such as SPSS or SAS
  • Preparing reports based on research findings, which may be presented at academic conferences or to community groups
  • Teaching courses in demography or other relevant fields at colleges or universities

Working conditions

Most demographers work in offices or classrooms during a regular 40-hour week. Depending on the project and deadlines, however, overtime may be required. Those engaged in research may work with other demographers assembling related information. Most of the work revolves around analyzing population data or interpreting other data.

A demographer is also usually responsible for writing a report detailing their findings. Some travel may be required, such as to attend a conference or complete limited field research.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to demographer:

demography research analyst
demography studies researcher
demography scientist
demography studies research analyst
demography research scientist
demography scholar
demography studies research scientist
demography researcher
demography studies analyst
demography science researcher
field demographer
demography analyst
demography studies scholar
demography studies scientist

Minimum qualifications

Although a master’s degree is the minimum requirement for most demographic work, there are a few positions available for those with only a bachelor’s degree. Demographers usually have a bachelor’s degree in urban planning or sociology with coursework in statistics, psychology, sociological theory, and economics as a foundation before they do their graduate studies. A master’s degree requires about two years of graduate study. For an academic or research position in this field, a doctoral degree is required.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Demographer is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Demographer career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to demographer.

communication scientist

Long term prospects

Demographers who are able to demonstrate their skills in data analysis and interpretation, as well as their ability to communicate complex information to a non-technical audience, will have the best prospects for advancement. Those who are able to secure funding for their research projects will also be in a good position to advance their careers. Senior positions in government agencies and private research firms are typically reserved for those with several years of experience. However, experienced demographers may be able to advance to management positions sooner if they have a strong track record of publications and presentations.

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of demographer.

  • Mathematics: Mathematics is the study of topics such as quantity, structure, space, and change. It involves the identification of patterns and formulating new conjectures based on them. Mathematicians strive to prove the truth or falsity of these conjectures. There are many fields of mathematics, some of which are widely used for practical applications.
  • Statistics: The study of statistical theory, methods and practices such as collection, organisation, analysis, interpretation and presentation of data. It deals with all aspects of data including the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments in order to forecast and plan work-related activities.
  • Demography: The scientific field of study that deals with studying the size, structure, and distribution of the human population, and its geographical and temporal changes.
  • Scientific research methodology: The theoretical methodology used in scientific research involving doing background research, constructing an hypothesis, testing it, analysing data and concluding the results.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of demographer.

  • Use a computer: Utilise computer equipment or digital devices to facilitate quality control, data management, and communication. Follow instructions given by a computer programme, create computer files or documents.
  • Use data processing techniques: Gather, process and analyse relevant data and information, properly store and update data and represent figures and data using charts and statistical diagrams.
  • Forecast human population trends: Compare existing data about the human population with geographic and sociological knowledge in order to predict trends in human population.
  • Execute analytical mathematical calculations: Apply mathematical methods and make use of calculation technologies in order to perform analyses and devise solutions to specific problems.
  • Apply statistical analysis techniques: Use models (descriptive or inferential statistics) and techniques (data mining or machine learning) for statistical analysis and ICT tools to analyse data, uncover correlations and forecast trends.
  • Perform scientific research: Gain, correct or improve knowledge about phenomena by using scientific methods and techniques, based on empirical or measurable observations.
  • Apply scientific methods: Apply scientific methods and techniques to investigate phenomena, by acquiring new knowledge or correcting and integrating previous knowledge.
  • Study human population: Apply scientific methods and techniques to investigate phenomena, by acquiring new knowledge or correcting and integrating previous knowledge.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of demographer. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Urban planning: Political and technical process that seeks to design the urban environment and optimize land use by considering various aspects such as infrastructure, water, and green and social spaces.
  • Sociology: The group behaviour and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
  • Scientific modelling: Scientific activity consisting in selecting the relevant aspects of a situation and aiming to represent physical processes, empirical objects and phenomena to allow a better understanding, visualisation or quantification, and to enable simulation that shows how this particular subject would behave under given circumstances.
  • Geography: The scientific discipline that studies the land, phenomena, characteristics and inhabitants of Earth. This field seeks to understand the natural and man-made complexities of Earth.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of demographer. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Write research proposals: Synthetise and write proposals aiming to solve research problems. Draft the proposal baseline and objectives, the estimated budget, risks and impact. Document the advances and new developments on the relevant subject and field of study.
  • Advise legislators: Give advice on various government and legislative duties, such as policy creation and the inner workings of a governmental department, to government officials in legislative positions, such as members of parliament, government ministers, senators, and other legislators.
  • Manage database: Apply database design schemes and models, define data dependencies, use query languages and database management systems (DBMS) to develop and manage databases.
  • Monitor sociological trends: Identify and investigate sociological trends and movements in society.
  • Find trends in geographic data: Analyse geographic data to find relationships and trends such as population density.
  • Conduct public surveys: Conduct the procedures of a public survey from the initial formulation and compilation of the questions, identifying the target audience, managing the survey method and operations, managing the processing of acquired data, and analysing the results.
  • Interview focus groups: Interview a group of people about their perceptions, opinions, principles, beliefs, and attitudes towards a concept, system, product or idea in an interactive group setting where the participants can talk freely amongst themselves.
  • Develop scientific theories: Formulate scientific theories based on empirical observations, gathered data and theories of other scientists.
  • Apply digital mapping: Make maps by formatting compiled data into a virtual image that gives a precise representation of a specific area.
  • Teach geography: Instruct students in the theory and practice of the subject geography, and more specifically in topics such as volcanic activity, the solar system, and population.
  • Write scientific papers: Present the hypothesis, findings, and conclusions of your scientific research in your field of expertise in a professional publication.
  • Perform market research: Gather, assess and represent data about target market and customers in order to facilitate strategic development and feasibility studies. Identify market trends.

ISCO group and title

2120 – Mathematicians, actuaries and statisticians

  1. ESCO
  2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  3. Demographers – Firsthand
  4. Demographer Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More – ClimbtheLadder
Last updated on February 2, 2024