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Why Demography Matters. Population and Policy in the 21st Century

Logos für das Bundesinstitut für Bevölkerungsforschung und Population Europe

The Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB) and Population Europe, the network of Europe's leading demographic research centres, invite you to join the High-Level Experts Conference (online)


Why Demography Matters. Population and Policy in the 21st Century

Friday, 3 May 2024, 10-15 CEST

One-hour online panels (on WebEx with GDPR compliant licence)

Please register here 

We are honoured to welcome the European Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, the State Secretary of the German Ministry of the Interior and Community and other eminent speakers.

Participants: We invite a policy audience composed of decision makers, experts and analysts from politics, research, business and civil society, at the European and national levels, concerned with the socio-economic drivers and the policy implications of demographic change. 

Objectives: The aim of the conference is to discuss how population changes will affect policy frameworks in the coming decades and, conversely, how policy can influence the demographic developments that lie ahead. This includes learning more about the information needed to address policy challenges and discussing the latest cutting-edge research and hearing from the experiences of practitioners. This will pave the way for a “dedicated advisory infrastructure” on all dimensions of demography, combining the best of European and national perspectives, as recommended by the General Affairs Council of the European Council in December 2023.


10-11 CEST | Opening panel | The role of demography in evidence-informed policy making

Knowledge about population change is essential in every area of policy – but what kind of data and research is needed by different policy actors, and who can provide it? When it comes to challenges posed by recent and future population dynamics, e.g. by migration, health impacts of climate change and population shrinking, how can demography contribute by improving understanding of these processes and by providing reliable population projections for more evidence-informed policy making? What are beneficial examples of linking data sources, e.g. by combining information from registers, surveys, social media, satellite or other data?

C. Katharina Spieß | Director of the Federal Institute for Population Research, Wiesbaden | University Professor for "Population Economics", Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz | Wiesbaden, Germany

Jakub Bijak | Professor of Statistical Demography at the University of Southampton | Principal Investigator of the European Union-funded projects ‘Quantifying Migration Scenarios for Better Policy’ (2020-2023) and ‘Bayesian Agent-Based Population Studies’ (2017-2021) | Southampton, United Kingdom

Helga A. G. de Valk | Director of the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute | Professor of Migration and the Life Course at the University of Groningen | Deputy Chair of the Dutch State Committee on Demographic Development 2050 | The Hague and Groningen, The Netherlands

Wolfgang Lutz | Founding Director of the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austrian Academy of Sciences, University of Vienna) | Special Advisor of the European Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography | Vienna and Laxenburg, Austria

11-12 CEST | High-level policy panel | Demography drives your future: From the European to national level

European and national policy makers are concerned about population changes because of the socio-economic implications, for example, on pension systems, public services, healthcare, labour markets, and social and territorial cohesion. Addressing demographic change also requires well-designed policies with a focus on social investment, such as in early childhood education and care, family, migration and integration policies. While demographic change requires a cross-cutting policy approach, it is often divided horizontally between different ministries, and vertically between Europe, member states, regions, municipalities and local communities. How can a pan-European advisory mechanism be designed to help us better address these challenges and learn from each other – using a top-down or bottom-up approach?

Arnstein Aassve | Professor in Demography, Bocconi University | Coordinator of the Horizon Europe Project ‘FutuRes: Towards a Resilient Future of Europe’ | Milan, Italy

Dubravka Šuica | The European Commission Vice-President for Demography and Democracy | Brussels, Belgium

Jörn Thießen | Head of Department, German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community | Berlin, Germany

Pieter Vanhuysse | Professor of Politics and Public Policy at the Department of Political Science and Research Affiliate of the Interdisciplinary Centre on Population Dynamics, University of Southern Denmark | Odense, Denmark

13-14 CEST | High-level expert panel | Population diversity and the provision of public services: The challenge of territorial cohesion

How can we ensure that basic infrastructure can be adequately maintained, adapted and updated across member states, especially outside metropolitan, urban and suburban areas and in regions suffering from massive population shrinking, low net migration and rapid population ageing? How might supply and demand patterns for vital things, such as (green) energy supply, clean water, communication and digital infrastructure, public transport, public health facilities, affordable and acceptable housing, long-term care and other services, change in an era of increasing population diversity? And what can we gain from comparing experiences and approaches across Europe, considering the specificities of each region?

Agnieszka Chłoń-Domińczak | Vice-Rector for Science and Director of the Institute of Statistics and Demography at SGH Warsaw School of Economics | Member of the European Commission’s High-Level Group on the Future of Social Protection and of the Welfare State in the EU | Warsaw, Poland

Róbert Iván Gál | Senior Research Fellow, Hungarian Demographic Research Institute | Head of Research Centre at the Corvinus Institute of Advanced Studies, Corvinus University | Budapest, Hungary

Hill Kulu | Professor of Human Geography and Demography at the University of St Andrews | Co-Director of the ESRC Centre for Population Change & Connecting Generations | President of the European Association for Population Studies | St Andrews, United Kingdom

Christine Schnor | Professor of Demography at the Centre for Demographic Research, Institute for the Analysis of Change in Contemporary and Historical Societies, Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain) | Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

14-15 CEST | High-level expert panel | Population diversity and cohesion policy: The life course perspective

Societies in European Member States are rapidly changing in terms of their populations’ socio-demographic characteristics, including age, health, education, access to the labour market, family structure, gender and ethnicity. Inclusive policies and programmes that target people throughout their life course are needed, as the chances of leading active, healthy and productive lives is unequally distributed across the population characteristics and across generations. For example, groups who are vulnerable to loneliness and isolation, who may be unhealthy and frail, as well as those who have lower education levels and fewer opportunities in the labour market, need the longer-term attention of welfare state policies. What policy strategies can be developed to improve the well-being of those and all citizens? How can social investment policies be designed to avoid social exclusion and to maintain social cohesion?

Michaela Kreyenfeld | Professor of Sociology at Hertie School | Member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities | Spokesperson of the Consortium of the Einstein Center Population Diversity | Berlin, Germany

Diego Ramiro-Fariñas | Director of the Institute of Economics, Geography and Demography and Full Professor of Demography at the Spanish National Research Council | Madrid, Spain

Zsolt Spéder | Professor at the University of Pécs, Department of Sociology | Chief Scientific Advisor at the Hungarian Demographic Research Institute (former Director from 1999-2023 | Honorary President of the European Association for Population Studies | Budapest, Hungary

Laurent Toulemon | Directeur de recherche, Institut National d'Études Démographiques | Paris, France