New app illustrates the effect of past events on population

Earth is not a place of stability, disturbances such as shocks from wars and pandemics or ongoing changes such as those caused by agricultural intensification cause fluctuations in the way our population grows. In Europe, the Second World War left millions dead, but its survivors produced a baby-boom generation. Both the war and its demographic aftermath can clearly be seen in the number of people at different ages in many European populations. So seemingly short-lived, transitionary events can leave a quantifiable imprint in the age-structure of populations.

Developed with the Wellcome Trust this new app allows you to explore the changing structure of human populations between 1780 and 2011 in over 90 countries. Press play to watch how populations have changed over time, for example see how Australia has aged in the last century due to longer lives and fewer babies being born. Check out the 'snail graph' to see the age structure in all years on one chart.

Dr Tom Ezard who created the App with Robert Cooke and CPC's Jakub Bijak comments 'We are delighted to launch this App today which brings a host of international databases to life. We hope the visualisations will be useful for a variety of applications including demographic and ecological researchers, students and school pupils as well as policy advisors. Our wider Wellcome Trust funded project is building mathematical and statistical models to find out what drives these transient changes and investigate their demographic impacts and consequences on population health'.

Find out more about the project.

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