Voss, Paul R. (2013). Foreward.. Smith, Stanley K.; Tayman, Jeff; & Swanson, David A. (Eds.) (pp. v-i). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer Science+Business Media.
A large part of our daily lives is governed by numbers. How many hours of sleep did I get last night? How many unread messages are queued up in my inbox? How many “friends” do I have on Facebook? What’s the upcoming Powerball payoff? How’s my cholesterol count doing? Can I recall my daughter’s phone number, my granddaughter’s birthday? Numbers such as these encompass portions of our personal and shared social reality. They roll around in our head, and they are part of what determine our mood, our behavior, well-being, worries, and activity constraints. Population projections also present us with numbers. But these are numbers of a very different nature. Rather than simply reflecting a social reality (and associated beliefs and behaviors), they serve to create a reality based on anticipation—a reality unwitnessed, unobserved, and largely unknown. Yet, on the basis of such numbers, schools are built (or closed), roads are widened, airport terminals expanded, municipal services extended, and marketing strategies altered. So this book is about the second kind of number, the sort leading to anticipatory behaviors and, occasionally, preemptive actions. It is the applied demographer’s difficult role to creatively deploy the data, tools, and perspectives of the population sciences to carry out these tasks not only ethically and transparently but with an experienced and disciplined hand. This book provides a marvelously clear, well-organized, and comprehensive blueprint for understanding and competently performing this role.
The Springer Series on Demographic Methods and Population Analysis
Voss, Paul R.