29 November 2021 - 01 December 2021
Online via Zoom

The causes and consequences of depopulation

The IIASA Population and Just Societies Program, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and the University of Vienna are co-organizing the Wittgenstein Centre Conference 2021, which will focus on population decline and its consequences.

Mountain village© Pratik Panda | Dreamstime.com

Mountain village© Pratik Panda | Dreamstime.com

Although global population is still growing, an ever-larger number of regions and countries are experiencing a decline in population size, and the COVID-19 pandemic may have further accelerated the process. Undoubtedly, depopulation poses many challenges from economic, social, political, and strategic perspectives. In public and policy discourse, negative views are often emphasized but can population decline also open up opportunities?

The Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and the University of Vienna) are holding a conference that will bring together researchers from around the world working on population decline and its consequences from demographic, economic, sociological, political, environmental, and geographical perspectives. 

The conference will focus on the following topics:

  • What are differential drivers of population decline?
  • What are the long-term consequences of population decline for economic growth and investment, the sustainability of social security systems and governments’ budgets, and the maintenance of public infrastructure and services?
  • Are there differences in the economic consequences of population decline when the decline is driven by low fertility or by outward migration?
  • Are declining populations less innovative?
  • What is the impact of population decline on inequality and equal life chances?
  • How might (the fear of) depopulation be linked to perceived threats to culture and identity?
  • How to include potential demographic, social, economic, and environmental feedback effects into models of depopulation?
  • Which policies could mitigate the challenges associated with population decline?
  • Might population decline be something desirable, e.g., from an environmental perspective?

This conference will be virtual and take place on Zoom. Please register to attend.


If you have any questions regarding the conference, please contact

The Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital (IIASA, OeAW, University of Vienna)

The Wittgenstein Centre is a collaboration between the Department of Demography at the University of Vienna, the IIASA Population and Just Societies Program, and the Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW). 

The Centre combines the partners’ strengths in the fields of demography, human capital formation and analysis of the returns to education. It builds on a highly successful collaboration that has already generated significant scientific advances. “Human capital” refers to the human resource base in terms of the number of people and their changing structure by age, gender, location, education, health status, cognitive skills and other relevant characteristics. Its intent is to provide a sound scientific foundation for decision-making at various levels.


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Last edited: 23 December 2021

CONTACT DETAILS

Raya Muttarak

Principal Research Scholar Migration and Sustainable Development Research Group - Population and Just Societies Program

Michaela Potancokova

Research Scholar Multidimensional Demographic Modeling Research Group - Population and Just Societies Program

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