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Introduction to the Special Issue

Population Research Laboratory, University of Alberta
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  • Economics
  • Education
  • Engineering


Canadian Studies in Population, Vol. 36.1–2, Spring/Summer, 2009, pp. xi–xvi xi Introduction to the Special Issue Demographers are in a unique position of being able to offer an evidence- based perspective on demographic change and population-related issues. The need for evidence-based knowledge is paramount for developing ef- fective strategies of action (policies) to manage population change. In this regard, the goal is not “social engineering” or even controlling population per se, but focuses on implementing national and regional policies that help promote population well-being. For example, these policies include: setting immigration targets based on actual population needs, not rhetoric or polit- ical ideologies; eliminating barriers to the successful social and economic integration of immigrants; developing family planning programs that con- tribute to healthy pregnancies and postnatal care; introducing public daycare programs and early childhood education to help parents better balance the demands of earning and caring; and creating public pension plans to pro- vide for the income needs of retirees. Hence, understanding the changing needs of populations is the domain of demographers, whose purpose is to inform strategies for the well-being, and indeed survival, of populations. This special issue of Canadian Studies in Population is sponsored by the Population Change and Lifecourse Strategic Knowledge Cluster (PCLC). The objective of the PCLC is knowledge mobilization of demographic issues and building a strong link between evidence-based demographic re- search and social policies. This special issue on social policies and demo- graphic change is aimed at helping fulfill these objectives. As editor of this special issue, I am pleased to present an exceptional collection of six articles authored by distinguished demographers, including Roderic Beaujot, Mon- ica Boyd, Xingshan Cao, Barry Edmonston, Eric Fong, Jacques Henripin, Susan McDaniel, and Zenaida Ravanera.

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