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Social Inequality and Demographic Change

Annual Conference of the German Society for Demography (DGD) from 6-8 March 2013 in Berlin

Under the motto "Social Inequality and Demographic Change", researchers from different disciplines presented to the slightly more than 200 participants at the annual conference of the DGD a variety of demographic topics ranging from the social determinants health and life expectancy via the productivity of elderly workers and regional particularities, through to long-term care. It was attended by the President of the DGD, Prof. Tilman Mayer, who stressed in his opening speech the perception of population research topics by policy-makers as a particular concern. He greeted the State Secretary from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Cornelia Quennet-Thielen, whose contribution addressed the topic "Education in Demographic Change".

The Old President Is also the New One

The members of the DGD board were furthermore re-elected at the conference. There were no changes here, or at least not at the top. Prof. Tilman Mayer was re-elected as President in the board elections, receiving 81% of the votes cast. The previous DGD Secretary, Stefan Fuchs, also remained in office. Dr. Jürgen Dorbritz (BiB), Prof. Sonja Haug (University of Regensburg), Dr. Steffen Maretzke (BBSR), Dr. Rembrandt Scholz (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research), as well as Bettina Sommer (Federal Statistical Office), were elected to the board.

The BiB Presents Comparative Population Studies and the Demographic Portal

The picture shows Amelie Franke and Thomas Skora at the Stand of the BiB at the DGD conference giving information on CPoS and the Demographic Portal The BiB at the Annual Conference of the DGD 2013Amelie Franke and Thomas Skora presenting the BiB Source: Karla Gärtner

The BiB presented a stand at the annual conference providing information on the Institute's research "flagship", the demographic journal Comparative Population Studies (CPoS), as well as the Demographic Portal, which was established in 2012. The portal is planned, edited and regularly updated by the BiB. Amelie Franke and Thomas Skora were available to answer interested visitors' questions on the work of the BiB.

The Broad Field of Demography: Topics and Podium Discussion

The conference focussed on large numbers of sessions and meetings of the individual DGD working groups, which, as the President Prof. Mayer stated in his opening speech, covered a colourful bouquet of topics. The range here covered the connection between the social structure and demographic change, through questions of social inequality (for instance when it comes to health), to demographic policy concepts with regard to demographic change.

The BiB was involved in a session on "Migration and Mobility", which was chaired by its Director, Prof. Norbert F. Schneider. Dr. Heiko Rüger from the BiB analysed in his lecture the degree to which the willingness to be mobile, the geographical ability to move and the actual mobility conduct of workers are socially structured.

In the concluding podium discussion, chaired by Prof. Mayer, Dr. Rembrandt Scholz (MPIDR), Gabriele Sturm (BBSR), Prof. Rolf G. Heinze (University of Bochum), Wolfgang Gründinger (Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations) and Wiebke Rösler (Humboldt University Berlin) discussed the question of the degree to which demographic change and social inequality are potentially socially explosive. This revealed once more the complexity and diversity of the problems. Firstly, economic developments such as precarious employment or temporary contracts, and secondly excessive work-related strain in the rush-hour of life, equally impact the demographic situation and the social security systems, as does an unsatisfactory socialisation in families and schools. All in all, the problems were revealed in Germany with differing intensities across the regions. So far, Germany was said to only have a weak distinction in comparison to other countries, but this would increase. The unanimous opinion was that it was therefore a matter of stabilising the social security systems, for instance also by extending the working lifetime.

The Allianz Prize Goes to Five Researchers

Five young researchers received the "Allianz Prize for Young Researchers Specialising in Demography" in the sidelines of the annual conference. Dr. Martin Kohls from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees received the main prize for his doctoral thesis at the Universities of Bielefeld and Rostock on the topic of "The Demography of Migrants in Germany". He showed in his thesis that the share of persons with a migration background is likely to increase much more rapidly than had been previously presumed.
Sociologist Felix Tropf from the University of Groningen received a prize for his degree dissertation at the University of Bamberg on "Gender-Specific Differences in Care for the Elderly", as did sociologist Dr. Ina Berninger for her doctoral thesis at the University of Cologne on "Reconciliation of Family and Work". Furthermore, the engineer Philip Timpe was given a prize for his thesis written at the Technical University of Dortmund on "Interactions between Energy Consumption and Demographic Change", as was the political scientist and sociologist Dr. Christian Rademacher on his topic "How Successfully are German Municipalities Dealing with Demographic Change?", a thesis that was written at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg.
In his laudation, Allianz' demography expert, Prof. Volker Deville, who presented the awards together with the Vice-President of the DGD, Prof. Sonja Haug, stressed that the young researchers were showing with the topics that they had selected, such as migration, care of the elderly or energy consumption, that demographic change was undeniably linked to young people's future outlook. The Allianz Prize therefore continued to serve young researchers as an incentive to make a substantial contribution to the pressing questions posed by change, stressed Prof. Deville. Allianz has been the official sponsor since 2012, and cooperates with the DGD in aiming to push further forward the societal debate on the topic of demography.


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