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Demography and Population Studies

Africa needs to address its numerous 21st century challenges. These include stemming the tide of HIV/AIDS, ensuring safe reproductive health, improving infant and child survival, managing migration and urbanization and expediting economic development while safeguarding the environment.

The interconnected nature of all these issues has necessitated the adoption of an interdisciplinary approach to tackling population problems. For example, one cannot investigate the impact of HIV/AIDS on family structure without thinking about gender, unemployment and migration.

The Wits Programme in Demography and Population Studies offers an interdisciplinary graduate teaching and research in demography and population studies. Demography as an academic discipline seeks to explore the dynamics of human populations in relation to the changes in their sizes, structures and distributions. Population changes have implications for the environment, employment, work, family relations, health, ageing and urbanization to mention just a few. 

At Wits this discipline had been taught on a limited basis in the past. Realization of paucity in skills in this area in South Africa has brought about the need for a well-focused programme in demography and population studies at Wits. The programme intends to (i) provide the much needed demographic capacity and skill-base in South Africa (ii) produce students that are well-qualified in the analysis and interpretation of demographic data and events (iii) make leading contributions to strengthening South African and African capacity and capability in demographic and population health research.

Situated in Johannesburg, Wits offers a unique opportunity to access a wide range of academic and non-academic institutions and organizations. In this sense, Wits has a distinctive capacity to contribute to the reconstruction and development of South Africa and more generally, the continent, through its cutting edge research and the production of skilled and critically thinking graduates. 

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