"Exploring the demographic transition in the 21st Century" by Prof Sarah Harper

29 March 2012

Portrait of Professor Sarah Harper

with Professor Sarah Harper
Director, Oxford Institute of Population Ageing

Sarah is Clore Professor of Gerontology at the University of Oxford, a Fellow at University College, and the Founding Director of the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing. Sarah served on the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology, whi...

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Many countries around the world are experiencing a demographic transition that is occurring due to increased longevity combined with low fertility rates. However, demographic momentum means that the global population is expected to continue to increase until at least the middle of the century, likely peaking near 10 billion.

Despite debates that put population growth at the centre of many global environmental challenges, the demographic transition is less about an increase in population size than about the impacts of population distribution, density and composition. A more sophisticated analysis of demographic change is therefore required in order to understand the complex interactions between people and the environment.