Call for applications: Workshop on modelling and projecting sub-national population trends

3 DEC 2016

This Wittgenstein Centre/Asian Demographic Research Institute (ADRI) training workshop will focus on the analysis of recent trends in sub-national (provincial) populations stratified by age, sex, education and urban/rural place of residence, and develop alternative scenarios for the future following the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSP) narratives and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) scenarios. This workshop will be the first in a series and focus initially on the following 8 countries: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Nepal, Philippines and Thailand. Starting with the analysis of census and relevant survey data, the scenarios will be developed jointly with national experts, and calculated and published in peer reviewed outlets.

The results are expected to be of high policy relevance for national and sub-national planning in the countries concerned. After the workshop participants will be able to perform such projections independently in the future.

The first Workshop will be held at ADRI, Shanghai University on 7-11 April, 2017 and will be divided in two parts. The first part will be dedicated to a discussion of data reliability, completeness, consistency etc. Participants from each country will present their case and will prepare a list of country-specific data issues and possible solution. The second part will include an introduction to the methods of multi-dimensional demographic analysis using the R-codes developed at IIASA/ADRI. While we will use India as a case study for demonstration, depending on data readiness participants are welcome and encouraged to use their own data. By the end of the workshop, we expect that the participants can independently implement the R-codes and more importantly develop a strong network with other participants.

On a long term, we will continue to work with the country teams in developing the national, SSP and SDG narratives. Participants are encouraged to visit our team at the ADRI at IIASA and vice-versa if needed. This collaboration will help identify and solve issues related to data and methods, and will be the basis to reconvene in a Second Workshop to present and discuss first results within the next one year.

How to apply

  • Very good technical skills, particularly with R, and good knowledge and experience working on quantitative demographic computations are preconditions for participation.
  • Your application should include a letter of interest signed by the director or senior person of your current institution, and your CV.
  • Please send your application to Samir KC or Yu Zhang
  • The list of participants will be announced by 7 January 2017.
  • Funding can be provided for selected participants. Please, indicate whether funding is needed.

Event details

Hands-on Workshop on Modelling and Projecting Sub-national Population Trends

Dates: 7-11 April 2017

Location: Asian Demographic Research Institute (ADRI), Shanghai University

Application deadline: 31 December 2016

Contact: Samir KC or Yu Zhang


Understanding population dynamics and heterogeneity within a country provides important insights for explaining social and environmental changes and helps identify vulnerable sections of the population that are affected most by these changes. Population projections assist policy makers and other stakeholders in visualizing an alternative future, to assess what-if scenarios, or to simulate sensitivity tests of single or multiple variables.

The basis for population analysis and setting targets is the maintenance of data collected through censuses, surveys and other data sources, such as tables and/or microdata, that are available from the National Statistical Offices. The quality and frequency of the data collection varies largely between countries making it difficult to conduct cross-country comparisons and predict the future population development. In addition, non-governmental international organizations and institutions maintain and project national level and cross-country population dynamics data, for e.g. the estimates and projections by age and sex of the United Nations, and by age, sex, and educational attainment of the Wittgenstein Center for Demography and Global human Capital (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU). These institutes have their own methods that are largely consistent between countries and often the best option available. The downside of such extensive cross-country projections is that they employ a top-down approach that largely ignores what is happening in the country (local knowledge and expertise) and lack local ownership making them less popular among local users either for national level studies or at sub-national levels.

The incomparability of data produced by national statistical agencies due to quality issues and differing methods and the moderate use of data produced by international agencies that apply a supra-national approach motivated researchers at Wittgenstein Center (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU), and the Asian Demographic Research Institute (ADRI) to develop a consistent multi-dimensional/multi-state models for studying population dynamics across and within countries by collaborating with local partner institutions.


In recent years, a team at the Wittgenstein Center (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU) has produced global level population projections by age, sex, and educational attainment, and projections for the SSPs for climate change research. the created dataset that is freely available in Lutz, Butz, and KC 2014; KC and Lutz 2014, and the Wittgenstein Center Data Explorer. At the sub-national level, IIASA researchers have completed the projections by age, sex, and educational attainment for the rural/urban population in 35 Indian States and are currently completing the SSP narratives, which serve as a pilot project for other countries. The methods and findings were presented at international demographic conferences and are currently documented in working papers and international peer-reviewed journals. In addition, packages of the models developed in R will be shared with a broad audience.


Lutz, W., Butz, W.P. and K.C., S. (2014) World Population & Human Capital in the Twenty-first Century. Oxford University Press, UK (October 2014).

K.C., S. and Lutz, W. (2014) The human core of the shared socioeconomic pathways: Population scenarios by age, sex and level of education for all countries to 2100. Global Environmental Change. pp. 1-12. (In Press)

The Wittgenstein Centre aspires to be a world leader in the advancement of demographic methods and their application to the analysis of human capital and population dynamics. In assessing the effects of these forces on long-term human well-being, we combine scientific excellence in a multidisciplinary context with relevance to a global audience. It is a collaboration among the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW), the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the University of Vienna.