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COMPLEX TIME: Adaptation, Aging, & Arrow of Time

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Contact: Amy P. Chen, Program Manager,

Population and the Environment: Analytical Demography and Applied Population Ethics/Modeling complex populations - statistical inference from demographic data

From Complex Time

October 16, 2018
9:55 am - 10:40 am


Paul Hooper


Summary statistics such as the mortality rate, birth rate, or Total Fertility Rate can be useful for understanding some basic characteristics of a population. Often, however, we’re interested in having a more detailed understanding of how demographic events—fertility, mortality, or morbidity—relate to individual characteristics or environmental conditions. One may want to ask questions such as: Does education predict fertility, controlling for wealth? Does infant mortality vary with proximity to clean water, accounting for household-level differences? Does the interval between births depend on a parent’s age, economic strategy, or social network? This session will introduce a number of statistical models that are useful for answering these kinds of questions. We will discuss generalized regression models (customizable to model yes/no outcomes, count data, or continuous variables) as well as survival analysis (also called event history or duration analysis). These models allow us to estimate demographic rates as a function of multiple predictor variables, control for confounding variables, and take into account individual- or group-level heterogeneity.

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First Birth Data For Course.csv (x)

Post-meeting Reflection

Paul Hooper () Link to the source page

It's clear that an extended version of this course should include treatment of inequality (and more generally the distribution of the benefits and costs of environmental impacts within societies) and conflict between and within states. The #1 highlight is of course the group of people assembled here.

Reference Material

The optional reading Kaplan, Hooper, Stieglitz & Gurven (2015) The Causal Relationship between Fertility and Infant Mortality: Prospective analyses of a population in transition provides worked examples of analyzing fertility data (using Cox proportional hazards to model time to next birth) and infant mortality data (using logistic regression).

Access the Emory CASAS Cancer Survival Analysis Suite here:

Title Author name Source name Year Citation count From Scopus. Refreshed every 5 days. Page views Related file
Mortality experience of Tsimane Amerindians of Bolivia: Regional variation and temporal trends Michael Gurven, Hillard Kaplan, Alfredo Zelada Supa American Journal of Human Biology 2007 135 5
The Causal Relationship between Fertility and Infant Mortality: Prospective analyses of a population in transition Hillard Kaplan, Paul L. Hooper, Jonathan Stieglitz, Michael Gurven Population in the Human Sciences: Concepts, Models, Evidence 2015 6 23
Multilevel Analysis 0 4
On mixed-effect Cox models, sparse matrices, and modeling data from large pedigrees 0 4
Data analysis using regression and multilevel/hierarchical models 0 6