Since antiquity a number of thinkers have expressed their views on the level of economic development and the size of population. During the time of Confucius, many Chinese and Greek writers, and following them Aristotle, Plato and Kautilya (around the year 300 B.C.) have expressed their thoughts on the subject of population. Thus, as a subject, population education is as old as human civilization.
Writers like William Peterson, Hauser and Duncan consider "Population Studies" and "Demography" to be different. According to them, 'Demography' encompasses limited spheres and it studies only the decisive factors of population growth, whereas in 'Population Studies' besides the social, economic, geographical, political and biological aspects of population, their ensuing relationships are also studied.
The term demography has been defined both in a narrow and broad sense.
The Oxford Dictionary of Economics defines demography as "The study of the characteristics of human populations." According to the UN Multilingual Demographic Dictionary, "Demography is the scientific study of human populations, primarily with respect to their size, their structure and their development." To Barckley, "The numerical portrayal of human population is known as demography. "Similarly, according to Thomson and Lewis, "The population student is interested in population's size, composition and distribution; and in changes in these aspects through time and causes of these changes."
All these definitions take a narrow view because they emphasize only the quantitative aspects of demography. Some other writers have defined demography in wide sense by taking the quantitative and qualitative aspects of population studies. In this context, according to Hauser and Duncan. "Demography is the study of size, territorial distribution and composition of population, changes there in, and the components of such changes, which may be identified as fertility, mortality, territorial movement (migration) and social mobility (change of status)." According to Frank Lorimer,"In broad sense, demography includes both demographic analysis and population studies. A broad study of demography studies both qualitative and quantitative aspects of population."
Thus, according to Donald J. Bougue, "Demography is a statistical and mathematical study of the size, composition, spatial distribution of human population, and of changes overtime in these aspects through the operation of the five processes of fertility, mortality, marriage, migration and social mobility. Although it maintains a continuous descriptive and comparative analysis of trends, in each of these processes and in its net result, its long run goal is to develop a body of theory to explain the events that it charts and compares."
These broad definitions take into view not only the size, composition and distribution of population and changes in them in the long run but also imply human migration and change in the status of population through education, employment, social status, etc.
Geographical study of population is fairly a recent development. The recognition of human elements as an important geographical force may be seen in the very roots of the division of Geography into Physical and Human, which is a very old one. But systematic study of population, which constitutes a pivotal position in geography, remained grossly neglected until G.T. Triwartha forcefully advocated the development of population...