World Population Program: Research Overview & Aims

Population research at IIASA helps to address the challenges of global change by providing global population projections based on cutting-edge research with extensive global networking and science-policy dialog into the quantitative aspects of human population.

Wendell Phillips

Wendell Phillips

IIASA’s World Population Program (POP) addresses the human development dimension of global change. It comprehensively studies the changing size and composition of human populations around the world and analyzes both their impacts and vulnerabilities. Using methods of multi-dimensional population dynamics – developed at IIASA in the 1970s – POP focuses on the roles of human capital formation and global population ageing and on the interaction of these trends with the social, economic and natural environment.

As part of the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital (IIASA, OeAW, University of Vienna), POP is world leader in expanding demographic methods in order to be more relevant for the analysis of contemporary global challenges.

The IIASA component of this work is structured into the following projects:

Demographic perspectives of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic

Applying demographic concepts and methodological tools, researchers at IIASA's World Population Program (POP) in collaboration with Wittgenstein Centre researchers, international collaborators and stakeholders have been working on different projects looking at the vulnerability dimension and differential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. More

Future Migration Scenarios for Europe

The project will focus on understanding the patterns, motivations and modalities of migration at multiple geographical scales, from international through regional to the local, and on imagining possible futures. More

Human Capital and Economic Performance

By including educational attainment as demographic dimension in addition to age and sex, the message derived from the Demographic Dividend Model changes for describing the effect of demographic change on economic growth. More

IIASA-JRC Centre of Expertise on Population and Migration

The Centre of Expertise on Population and Migration is a research partnership between IIASA's World Population Program and the European Commission's Joint Research Centre that provides science-based knowledge on migration and demography to support EU policy. More

Population Dynamics and Global Human Capital 

The Population and Human Capital project aims to more fully understand the dynamics of an improving educational composition of the population and to demonstrate the long-term implications of near-term investments in education. More

Quantifying Migration Scenarios for Better Policy

The overarching aim of this project is to produce comprehensive, multi-perspective and robust quantitative migration scenarios to support various areas of European migration policy, based on the cutting-edge developments in conceptualising, explaining, estimating and forecasting migration. More

Reassessing Aging from a Population Perspective

The Reassessing Aging from a Population Perspective (Re-Aging) project will develop new approaches to the study of age and aging that are appropriate for 21st century conditions. More

The Demography of Sustainable Human Wellbeing

This project aims to develop new indicators for long-term human wellbeing that include feedbacks from environmental and other changes. It is funded through an ERC Advanced Grant awarded to Wolfgang Lutz. More

Previous Research Projects

Ageing Trajectories of Health: Longitudinal Opportunities and Synergies

This project aims to achieve a better understanding of ageing by identifying patterns of healthy ageing pathways or trajectories and their determinants, the critical points in time when changes in trajectories are produced, and to propose timely clinical and public health interventions. More

Demography and Education in Niger: A Prospective Analysis

This project aims to project the population of Niger by age, gender, education, ethnicity, and region according to different scenarios. More

Forecasting Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change

This project is testing the basic hypothesis that societies can develop the most effective long-term defense against the dangers of climate change by strengthening human capacity - primarily through education. More

Global migration and educational expansion: Scenarios and projections of population-level interactions

This project will comprehensively map out the status quo in terms of the conceptual definitions and partial data sources relating migration and education, their comparability, and existing attempts to reconcile them. More

Economic migration, capital flows, and welfare

This research project funded through the Systems Analysis Forum (SAF) aims to better understand the interaction between labour flows and capital flows in an economy. This work will help to improve the assessment of welfare dynamics and evaluate policies that can lead to higher levels of economic welfare. More

Age and Cohort Change

The central research theme of the Age and Cohort Change (ACC) project is the projection of social and economic change (skills, productivity, attitudes and beliefs) in all countries in the world over the coming decades.  More

Population and Climate Change

The Population and Climate Change (PCC) Program aims to improve integrated assessments of the climate change issue and develop new analyses within three related projects on emissions, uncertainty, and medium-term policy strategies. More

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Last edited: 17 August 2020


Wolfgang Lutz

Interim Deputy Director General for Science Directorate - DDG for Science Department

Principal Research Scholar and Senior Program Advisor Population and Just Societies Program

Principal Research Scholar and Senior Program Advisor Social Cohesion, Health, and Wellbeing Research Group - Population and Just Societies Program

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