Demographic forces drive the shape of global challenges and personal opportunities. Students and faculty at the Department of Demography at UC Berkeley study the deep structure behind these changes. Emphases include the potential for further extensions of lifespan in mathematical, evolutionary, and empirical context; economic transfers, both public and private, between age groups and generations and their links with poverty, prosperity, economic growth, and lifetime choices; culture and intentionality in fertility and family formation; affiliation and opportunity in a spatially and socially mobile world; and the emerging field of human rights demography, the measurement of victimization and need in the face of violence and complex emergencies.
Continuing a tradition begun in 1965, the Department of Demography offers training for advanced degrees in demography. The program is one of the very few in the United States granting graduate degrees in demography, rather than treating the subject as a field of specialization within another discipline, typically sociology. This training strategy permits greater concentration and depth in demography, as well as program flexibility and breadth in related subjects, helping students to attain both competence in the quantitative aspects of demography and breadth in social science theory and substance. A special characteristic of the program is its emphasis on individual interest, allowing students to pursue their own intellectual concerns while preserving the highest standards through rigorous theoretical and methodological training. Training and research explore anthropological, economic, historical, mathematical, statistical, and social aspects of demography. Computer applications, including exploratory statistical analysis and microsimulation techniques, are strongly emphasized. The Department has advanced computing facilities consisting of state-of-the-art UNIX workstations and servers, networked PCs, and access to IBM mainframe services. The Department has its own non-circulating library, the Allan Sharlin Memorial Library, hosting a wide collection of books and periodicals in the field of demography.
The Department occupies a large house built in 1909 by renowned architect Julia Morgan, an arrangement conducive to the informal atmosphere and frequent student-faculty contact characterizing the program. Daily afternoon tea in the lounge is a cherished and much enjoyed departmental tradition during which everyone partakes in discussions ranging from university life and research topics, to sports, movies, and national politics. All Demography graduate students have workspace in the building.