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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

William R. Lavely
JSIS A 431
Seattle Campus

Demographic Issues in Asia

Contemporary Asian countries face a number of issues with demographic components, including environmental and resource issues, ethnic rivalries, international migration, and public health. Addresses a set of these issues by focusing on the demography of one or more countries in Asia. Offered: jointly with SOC 434.

Class description

In the latter half of the twentieth century East Asia experienced a rapid demographic transition to low mortality and fertility. This transition has had profound implications for family structure and marriage and for economy and society. This course will inquire into the causes of demographic change, including China’s unique policy of state managed reproduction, but will put greater emphasis on the consequences, including rapid population aging and the rising deficit of females, particularly in China. For example, it will examine the institutional origins of gender preference in East Asian societies, and the implications of female deficits for marriage markets, public health, and social order.

Student learning goals

Understand the concept of demographic transition, and how East Asian transitions differ from European transitions.

Understand the interrelations between family and marriage change and fertility, and the role of government in promoting lower fertility in East Asia.

Understand the process of population aging, and the consequences of aging for social welfare and economy in the East Asian context.

Understand the origins of son preference in some Asian populations, the demographic factors that are causing sex ratios to rise, and the broader societal implications of this trend.

Understand potential linkages between population change in East Asia and emerging trends in social structure, public health, and international relations.

General method of instruction

The class will consist mainly of lectures and structured discussions.

Recommended preparation

There are no prerequisites. Prior classes on East Asian societies, population studies, or public health would be helpful.

Class assignments and grading

Assignments will include a midterm, a final, and two short papers.

The course grade will be determined by performance on exams and papers.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by William R. Lavely
Date: 06/11/2013