World Population Program

Human population trends are a key factor in sustainable development. We study and project how the changing composition of population matters for social, economic and the environmental change and how human health and well-being are being affected. 

 © iStock_000006973808Small.jpg

Human population matters for sustainable development in two important ways.

First, it is an agent of change, bringing about many of the  environmental, economic, and social changes that continually challenge the sustainability of our current development paths.

Second, the human population and its living conditions are the ultimate objects of development, with long-term human survival, health and well-being serving as criteria for judging whether or not development is sustainable.

Since the early days of IIASA, the World Population Program (POP) has conducted research into both the determinants and consequences of population trends at the global, regional, national and sub-national levels.

While POP has a firm foundation in formal demography, its research has greatly benefited from the interdisciplinary setting at IIASA, which  been a constant stimulus to look beyond demographic boundaries at "the whole picture" relating to human population. 

Interdisciplinary working allows researchers not only to look at the effect of a number of alternative future population trends but also how changes in society, economy, and the natural environment influence the health and mortality, migratory patterns, and reproductive behavior of human society.

Featured Publications

Butz WP, Lutz W, Sendzimir J (Eds) (2014)

Special Feature, "Education and Differential Vulnerability to Natural Disasters"
Ecology and Society Change, (March 2014) More 

Schneeweis N, Skirbekk V, Winter-Ebmer R (2014)

Does education improve cognitive performance four decades after school completion?
Demography, 51(2):619-643 (April 2014) (Published online 28 February 2014) More 

Scherbov S, Sanderson WC, Mamolo M (2014)

Quantifying policy tradeoffs to support aging populations
Demographic Research, 30(20):579-608 (4 March 2014) More

Crespo Cuaresma J, Lutz W, Sanderson WC (2014)

Is the demographic dividend an education dividend?
Demography, 51(1):299-315 (February 2014) (Published online 4 December 2013) More

Lutz W (2014)

The truth about aging populations
Harvard Business Review, 1(Jan-Feb):F1401E (1 January 2014) More

Sanderson WC, Scherbov S (2013)

The characteristics approach to the measurement of population aging
Population and Development Review, 39(4):673-685 (December 2013) More

Print this page

Last edited: 03 April 2014


Wolfgang Lutz

Program Director World Population

T +43(0) 2236 807 294


Katja Scherbov

Administrative Assistant: Research Group World Population

T +43(0) 2236 807 280

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313