1. Sources and methods - Isabelle Blöss-Widmer, Laurence Reboul, Sebastien Oliveau

  • Platforms
  • Workshops

Despite the democratisation of access to increasingly abundant data, the proper use of statistical data in the humanities and social sciences paradoxically requires greater knowledge and skills. Most users do not know how to obtain quality data, the conditions it was produced under or the precautions to be taken when using it. One of the ambitions of the Mediterranean demographic observatory is to centralise and facilitate the sharing of reliable and documented Mediterranean demographic data for an audience beyond the university setting. To do this, it offers access to an original database that can be consulted using innovative download or interactive visualisation tools (graphics, maps). This service constitutes an opportunity to explore a large mass of quality data, for both researchers and members of civil society.

The database was created thanks to the expertise accumulated by DemoMed's team of researchers. Its research objective – to understand and model the organisation of social phenomena in the Mediterranean – requires demographic data that is rich and reliable enough to let them conduct comparative studies in time and space and grasp the dynamics of populations at different levels of aggregation. The problem of definitions and the comparability of indicators on the different territorial units puts the focus on issues of harmonisation, quality and transparency of sources and data. The data used in this programme is thus selected after careful appraisal of statistical information from various sources (censuses, civil registries, surveys, monographs, registers, administrative files), themselves drawn from different data producers and/or distributors.

The analysis methods used must also make it possible to grasp the spatio-temporal dimension of demographic dynamics as precisely as possible and compare them with the different levels of aggregation considered. To achieve this, DemoMed relies on the skills of quantitative researchers from complementary disciplines (statistics, demography, geography, IT). In particular, the team is studying

-     Exploratory statistics and data visualisation tools: dependence indicators (spatial  association and temporal dependence measures), factor analyses and classification methods, automatic discretisation algorithms for interactive statistical mapping, etc.

-   Modelling and forecasting methods: multi-level generalised linear models, models for panel data, spatio-temporal regressions, duration models, simulation models, random fields, Markov processes, etc.

-       Methods relating to sampling (representativeness, rectification techniques, imputation of missing data, selection models, spatial sampling, etc.)


A workshop concentrating on sources and methods has been operating since 2019.

DemoMed is naturally closely linked to the University Data Platform of Aix-Marseille University (located at the MMSH, the Mediterranean House of Human Sciences), whose expertise relates specifically to data from the Mediterranean area. This platform's mission is to provide customised support and advice at the various stages of research using quantitative data (finding existing data, obtaining and processing data, interpreting the results obtained).

2. Demographic dynamics of Population - Sébastien Oliveau, Yoann Doignon, Dienaba Ndour

  • Growth and its components
  • The process of population

This theme brings together work focusing on the demographic dynamics of Mediterranean areas.

This first involves a reflection on growth and its components, i.e. the four elements of the demographic equation: birth, mortality, immigration and emigration. Emphasis is placed on the interaction between these elements and their impact on population growth. As such, work has been able to focus on fertility as a factor of growth inequality, present and future, around the Mediterranean, but also on the depopulation experienced by certain regions on the north shore and its different factors (declining birth rate, ageing, negative migration balance, etc.).

Alongside this, the question of growth is considered in its territorial dimension. The population process is thus envisaged both from a descriptive angle (logic of inequalities in the distribution of populations over space) and from a prospective angle (the development of territories). The work therefore concerns both the study of densities around the Mediterranean and the past or future dynamics of certain regions.

3. Population structure - Yoann Doignon, Isabelle Blöss-Widmer, Sébastien Oliveau, Dienaba Ndour


This research topic focuses on the age and sex structure (age pyramid) of Mediterranean populations, as well as a number of developments and changes in the latter.

Young people

Demographic ageing

Gender imbalances

The demographic window of opportunity 

4. Mobility and migration - Elena Ambrosetti, Frédéric Audard, Lionel Kieffer

  • Residential migration, international mobility
  • Daily leisure mobility

The term "mobility" in the social sciences is deeply polysemous. It can designate the movement of individuals within a social space, or refer to their movements in a physical space. While the study of these different mobilities finds a certain interest in understanding the societies and territories they occupy, we will focus specifically on analysing spatial mobilities. These mobilities are divided into four categories differentiated according to two dimensions, one temporal, the other spatial:





Within the living zone

Daily mobility

Residential mobility

Going outside the living zone




These categories constitute the entry points for analysis conducted on a Mediterranean scale. However, this segmentation does not obscure certain interactions, which we will focus on: the analysis of lifestyles and the study of structural changes (social and territorial) linked to all types of mobility constitute a common objective for the various work done within this research topic.

We will also study international migration, with particular attention to integration of migrants, integration of refugees, migration policies and their effectiveness, migration and the environment, the sexual and reproductive health of migrant women, and unaccompanied minors.

5.Family demographics - Yoann Doignon, Elise Lévêque

  • Second demographic transition 

Through the decline in fertility, the demographic transition led to an initial transformation of family forms, with the gradual transition from a traditional extended model to a restricted family model. In the 1970s, families in north-western Europe experienced new changes, with a reconfiguration of family structures and models. Fewer individuals are getting married, and they are doing so at a later age, leading to a decrease in the marriage rate. In fact, marriage no longer constitutes the exclusive framework for a union and having children. Couples cohabit more frequently without being married, whether this cohabitation is final or represents a stage prior to marriage. The end of the association between marriage and procreation has led to a sharp rise in births outside wedlock. Moreover, the breakdown of unions is becoming more frequent, especially with the rise in divorces. We are witnessing the significant emergence of single-parent families.

Research in this area seeks to study these new family transformations. In this regard, several orientations have been set:


Draw up an inventory of the current situation of family structures and models in the Mediterranean, while retracing its development. The populations of the north shore are the first affected by these new changes: France from the 1960s onwards and Southern Europe 30 years later. The southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean are beginning to undergo similar transformations, namely a significant postponement of the age people marry, the emergence of permanent celibacy and female households.

Explain the course of these family mutations using the different existing theories: Second Demographic Transition, diffusion, gender revolution, disadvantage model, globalisation.

Study family behaviour using an individual approach to fertility and conjugality choices. The determinants of intentions and the obstacles to achieving them are placed in a more general context: standards, public policies, labour market, etc. 

6. Demographic forecast - Isabelle Blöss-Widmer, Sébastien Oliveau, Yoann Doignon, Elena Ambros


The demographic reality imposes itself on everyone who seeks to understand and study economic or social phenomena. Demography also serves as a support for producing forecasts, perspectives and projections. Reflecting on the future therefore leads to questioning the methods, hypotheses, laws, regularities, terminologies and implications which accompany and allow conjecture. DemoMed researchers attached to this topic can contribute to requests for public expertise in demographic projections.

This research theme contributes to:

a reflection on predictions for the future by demographers (research scenarios, specific projection techniques)

expertise on the techniques and methods of demographic analysis needed to achieve demographic perspectives (lexis, rates, quotients, components of increases, etc.)