What tomorrow's demographers will be called upon to do

by Peter A. Morrison

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For demographers who get involved in nonacademic pursuits, the requisite skills and capabilities may extend beyond what an academic training program typically provides. The most important such proficiencies are (1) explaining and interpreting demographic realities to audiences not necessarily conversant with demographers' perspectives and techniques; (2) locating the important effects demographic shifts will have and discerning issues they may pose for the public and private sector; (3) constructing demographic assumptions about the future that serve policymakers' needs; and (4) being conversant with various disciplinary frameworks and theories without becoming wedded to any particular one. The author recommends workshops or summer projects that apply demographic knowledge in nonacademic settings. Trainees will be able to confront a practical question or problem that demographic analysis can resolve, find a surrogate client who values the analysis enough to provide feedback, and acquire a body of data for conducting the analysis.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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