Interactions of Population Trends with the Social, Economic and Natural Environment

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 11:30
Location: Elise Richter Saal (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Wolfgang LUTZ, Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU), Austria, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria
Methods of multi-dimensional demographic analysis have been used to reconstruct and project populations by age, sex and level of educational attainment for most countries of the world for 1970-2060. These new data with age-specific education detail allow new statistical assessments of the social and economic consequences of changing age and education structures. The studies show that for a range of different outcomes - including economic growth - changes in age structure matter but improvements in educational attainment are even more important. Broad based education also turns out to be one of the key determinants of improved health and survival, to help reduce vulnerability to natural disasters and, thus, enhance adaptive capacities to already unavoidable climate change and even to strengthen the quality of institutions and a move towards democracy. The components of demographic changes (fertility, mortality, migration and education) are also influenced by social, economic and environmental factors. But there is a distinct time lag through which e.g. improvements in education take decades to improve the human capital of the adult population. These time lags can be used to study the causalities in these complex interactions between population trends and the environment. These insights have recently been operationalized through a set of broadly agreed global level scenarios that are being used by Integrated Assessment and climate modeling groups around the world. These so-called SSPs (Shared Socioeconomic Pathways) quantify different possible trends in future mitigative and adaptive capacities of societies with respect to climate change. These SSPs have been calculated for all countries in the world up to 2100 with the multi-dimensional population projections by age, sex and level of education forming the “human core” of the scenarios which also include economic growth, technology, and quality of institutions. The lecture will illustrate the results for the world and selected countries.