The Professorship of Demography focuses on demographic and health outcomes over the life course in the context of population ageing. Our regional focus is on Germany and the western industrialized countries as well as on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

The decline in fertility accompanied by increased non-marital fertility and delayed childbearing, the decrease in marriage rates and the increase in divorce rates have all contributed to dramatically changing family structures in Europe. In MENA countries, similar demographic and familial developments can be observed on a different level, though. Although previous research has studied these demographic changes extensively in industrialized countries, we still know little about how union and fertility dynamics evolve over the individual life courses and how life courses within and between generations are linked. In collaboration with the State Institute for Family Research at the University of Bamberg (ifb), we study the causes and consequences of fertility and family dynamics in Europe and in MENA countries from a life course perspective focusing not only on individual life courses but also on linked lives between children, parents, and grandparents.

The increase in life expectancy in western as well as in MENA countries contributes to the ageing of the populations. From a life course perspective the question arises, how the increase in life expectancy is associated with the development in individual health and health behavior. Does the increase in life expectancy increase the average years spent in good health, or does time in bad health expand? Numerous international studies report the existence of a persistent socioeconomic status (SES) health gradient in different countries, as well as a health gradient regardless of SES and health outcome measures. From several studies it is also well-known that the unequal distribution of health between SES groups increases with age. But there is little conclusive evidence about the underlying mechanisms behind health inequalities, and less is known why the SES health gradient increases with age and whether the gradient has changed over time. Contemporaneously with the increase of average life expectancy, alcohol consumption of females increased heavily. The reasons for this rising noxious health behavior are not clear, yet. At the Professorship of Demography, we focus on these and related questions concerning health and health behavior.