Why the United States Should Fund International Demographic Research

by Narayan Sastry

Read Online Version

This research brief describes work documented in The Importance of International Demographic Research for the United States (RP-923).

Excerpt: Since the passage of the Government Performance Review Act of 1995, U.S. government agencies have faced increased pressures to justify their activities and funding decisions. Government-funded research is no exception. One area of study whose rationale has faced skepticism from some quarters is international demographic research. Demography is the study of trends and patterns in fertility, mortality, marriage, migration, retirement, and health, as well as the factors that determine and are affected by these variables. The majority of funding for international demographic research comes from government sources. Why, some ask, should U.S. taxpayers underwrite the study of problems abroad when America has so many domestic issues to tackle? How can research on foreign countries have any relevance to U.S. concerns?

Population Matters is sponsored by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research brief series. RAND research briefs present policy-oriented summaries of individual published, peer-reviewed documents or of a body of published work.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.