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Call for papers
Quetelet Seminar 2015 – Local Demography. Relations between population, place of residence and public policy
November 18-20, 2015, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

Deadline for submission of proposals : 15 June 2015

The 2015 Quetelet Seminar – co-organized by the Centre for Demographic Research (DEMO) of the Université catholique de Louvain and the Institut wallon de l’évaluation, de la prospective et de la statistique (IWEPS) of the Walloon Region – will be held in Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium) 18–20 November 2015. It will focus on local demographics and on the interactions between place of residence, local policies and demographic characteristics or behaviour, in both developed and developing countries.

While there is a certain homogenization of behaviour (especially of fertility and mortality) and of demographic characteristics (age, gender and family structures) between neighbouring countries, significant differences appear when the analysis deals with smaller spatial units. Generally, the narrower the spatial division, the higher the demographic heterogeneity. It is thus at the local scale – neighbourhoods, communities, villages, towns and cities – that socio-demographic disparities and singularities, often hidden behind regional and national averages, come into view. This is the case as much now as in the past. Moreover, place of residence has arisen in recent times as a social marker, a site where new dividing lines in society are revealed. Historical demography has made extensive use of local parish and civil registers. It has also used local data for the study of excess death rates in urban areas, the identification and analysis of old demographic regimes and the exploration of fertility control mechanisms in the 18th and 19th centuries. Also, studies that focus on socio-demographic diversity most often rely on a very narrow spatial division. Finally, internal migration is, in all places and times, a key demographic component at the local level. Internal migration is the main factor in the evolution of local population numbers and may alter demographic and socioeconomic structures, as well as the mentalities and particularities, of an area.

The overall objective of this Quetelet Seminar is to highlight the relationship between demographics and place of residence. This may extend to methodological questions and political dimensions. Place or area of residence will refer to a narrow spatial division, such as neighbourhood, municipality or township.

The Seminar will explore, by means of comparative methods, the diversity of demographic landscapes at a local scale. It will analyze the factors behind these differences and examine how demographic parameters may structure national and regional territories. It will also examine to what extent place of residence and its socio-economic, cultural and environmental characteristics may influence certain demographic parameters. It will also consider the interactions between local policies and specific demographic situations, characteristics or behavior. Finally, it will focus on methodological problems inherent to small populations. These include small numbers, the availability and quality of the data, and the use of demographic surveillance sites to create local databases and follow up on populations.

Submissions, which may concern the demographic past, present or future, will refer to any of the following topics:

Methods and techniques for observing local populations
Examining the use of direct and indirect data sources for the study of local populations and outlining their benefits and limitations.
Papers shall cover analytical methods specific to small populations (spatial analyses, creation of typologies, effects of small numbers...) or projections of local populations. What are the available observational tools (interactive databases, synthetic populations...) and for what purposes are they used? What about demographic surveillance systems?

The diversity of demographic structures and behaviour, at a local and regional scale: from description to explanation
Highlighting spatial differences and inequalities in terms of demographic characteristics and behaviour (higher or lower mortality areas, increased or reduced ageing...) and revealing the mechanisms that generate them.
What factors explain population dynamics at a local scale? What is the role of internal and international migration and the selectivity of migration patterns? What are the implications of local demographic diversity for public policy (health, assistance to the disadvantaged or the elderly, housing...)? Identifying demographic continuities and changes and specifying the relationship between demographic spatial disparities and social inequalities.

To what extent do characteristics (economic, social, cultural, environmental...) of place of residence determine demographic behaviour?
Do housing characteristics, in a given place, influence fertility patterns? How does the social and ecological environment of place of residence affect health and mortality? What are the effects of local or regional policies, in terms of welfare, land use and housing, on demographic characteristics and behaviour?

Call for papers deadline, organisation :
Deadline for submission of proposals : 15 June 2015
Organisation : Centre for Demographic Research, Catholic University of Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium ( and IWEPS (
To submit a proposal :