Demographer Job Description & Career Outlook
A demographer, or demographic analyst, is a social scientist who uses statistical methods to study the size, distribution and structure of human populations. The name demographer comes from the Greek word for the population of a state; a career in this area involves examining a multitude of different factors concerning how people can be grouped and which factors and behaviors are associated with those groups. This job requires a background in mathematics, statistics and in the social sciences.
Demographer Requirements and Common Tasks
People who want to become a demographer usually start by studying for a social science or urban planning degree. To lay the foundation of a career in demography they usually take courses in statistics, economics and psychology, in addition to sociology. While there are jobs available for those with only an undergraduate degree, usually a graduate degree in a related field is required.
The typical sort of work a demographer does involves collecting and statistically analyzing data about human populations including births, deaths, economic situation, employment and population migration. Based on their analyses they are asked to make forecasts in areas like changes in the demand for public services caused by population changes. These forecasts may then be presented in the form of graphs and reports so that organizations can make empirically informed decisions about allocating resources. Demography is largely an office-based profession, but may involve fieldwork to collect data.
Demographer Salary and Career Outlook
A career in demography will usually involve working either for a government agency or in the academic sphere as a researcher. Because a major purpose of government is to provide services to its citizens, they need accurate data about the people that make up populations in order to determine needs, the likely outcome of policies and the most efficient allocation of resources. For example, The Environmental Protection Agency and Census Bureau employ large numbers of demographers. Private organizations like corporations and news agencies also hire demographers. There are opportunities for advancement to senior administrative positions for demographers, and those who choose to follow an academic career course can expect to proceed from post-doctoral studies, to assistant professorship, and full professorship. Some demographers, after having gained experience, set up their own businesses and work as freelance consultants. The average annual income of a demographer is approximately $53,160.
How to Become a Demographer
The main requirements for being a demographer are a knowledge of mathematics (especially statistics) and social science. Choosing a degree which focuses on those skills, and then studying for a master’s degree in demography, is the best way to begin a career in this field. After that, many demographers choose to continue to study, in order to increase their levels of experience and qualifications in the field, and make them more attractive to prospective employers. A larger number go on to seek employment with the government or corporations and NGOs.
Related Programs and Schools
- Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Preparation Program, Mathematics (5-9 or 5-12)
- M.A. Teaching - Mathematics (5-9 or 5-12)
- M.A. Mathematics Education (K-6, 5-9, or 5-12)
- B.A. Mathematics (5-9 or 5-12)
- M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Mathematics
- B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies
- B.S. in Human Services - Psychology
- B.S. in Psychology Applied in the Workplace
- B.S. in Psychology Preparation for Graduate Schools
- And more...
- Master of Social Work
- BS in Interdisciplinary Studies
- M.Ed. - Program Specialist in Math Specialist
- BS in Psychology
- AA in Psychology
- And more...