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Members' published software



The rise of computational science and the growing interest in transparent algorithms and reproducible research call for reliable open source software products. This page advertises members’ new software packages, provided they enhance the study of population and are published in established repositories after a rigorous peer testing (technical peer review, such as CRAN). Subjects include, but are not limited to modelling and parameter estimation, forecasting, visualisation, simulation, access online databases, and web scraping. ​


⇨ Conditions: To be included on the IUSSP website, the software must have been formally peer reviewed before publication. 

  Procedure: Members should send an email to with a short description of their software and complete references.


Members’ published software:


Frans Willekens (Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute, NIDI) published 2 packages on the R Archive Network (CRAN). 

VirtualPop - The package uses a demographic model, microsimulation techniques and data on mortality and fertility to generate a virtual population of several generations. Death rates are from the Human Mortality Database and parity-specific fertility rates from the Human Fertility Database. The virtual population is fully consistent with the empirical rates used. The package comes with 4 papers (vignettes). Two describe the simulation method, which is rooted in survival and life history analysis. One paper discusses the validity of the simulation by comparing family structures and kinship networks in the virtual population with empirical data. Simulations are compared with data from the U.S. Current Population Survey are used. The fourth paper is a tutorial. The vignettes are R markdown documents, which integrate text, R code and results. The publication of descriptions of method and analysis with data and computer code makes research fully reproducible.  


Families has several easy-to-use functions to explore family structures and kinship networks in the virtual population. The functions are described in the user’s manual and the vignette included in the package. The vignette also describes kin structures in the virtual population and addresses two relatively new subjects in demography: the demography of grandparenthood and the double burden for young children and ageing parents. Virtual populations that mimic real populations offer unique opportunities to resolve issues of limited data and to study complex networks in real populations.


The two packages made the top 40 R packages published in a month in all disciplines in the natural, life and social sciences (VirtualPop in June and Families in July).