Workshop on


Social Media and Demographic Research:

Applications and Implications


Cologne, Germany, 17 May 2016



This Research Workshop is co-organized by the IUSSP Scientific Panel on Big Data and Population Processes as a side event at the 10th International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM-16), taking place in Cologne, Germany, 17-20 May 2016.






Deadline for submissions: 18 March 2016


Direct access to the workshop website.



The IUSSP Panel on Big Data and Population Processes invites contributions from colleagues interested in Computational Demography. The Panel encourages submissions from researchers who wish to present their work, as well as the attendance of scholars interested in broadening their exposure to the topic.


Demography has been a data-driven discipline since its birth. Data collection and the development of formal methods have sustained most of the major advances in our understanding of population processes. The global spread of Social Media has generated new opportunities for demographic research, as individuals leave an increasing quantity of traces online that can be aggregated and mined for population research. At the same time, the use of Social Media and Internet are affecting people’s daily activities as well as life planning, with implications for demographic behavior.


There are clear benefits inherent in connecting demography and data science. As ever more complex population-level data become available, demography can offer rigorously-developed concepts, measures and methods to those involved in the ‘big social data’ revolution. As social media services become a major source of social scientific data, the interaction with data science holds great potential to advance demographic research as well. Despite the great potential involved in these interactions, there is unfortunately very limited communication between population researchers and data scientists. This workshop is intended to favor communication and exchange between the two communities and would revolve around the main theme of applications and implications of social media for demographic research. Topics that are relevant for the workshop include, but are not limited to:


  • Population research with social media data
  • Demographic features of online communities or services
  • Sentiment analysis associated to demographic events like immigration
  • Implications of social media and Internet for demographic behavior
  • Nowcasting fertility, mortality or migration with online data
  • Understanding population health with social media data
  • Methods for extracting information from non-representative samples
  • Applications of demographic methods to online populations  

Participants who wish to present their research must send an extended abstract (2-4 pages) or a full paper by e-mail to by 18 March 2016 (see important dates).

Submissions will be evaluated by the Organizing Committee on the basis of quality and fit to the workshop theme. Accepted abstracts and papers will be presented as short presentations, lightning talks or posters. Participants who are interested in attending but do not submit a research paper or a position paper should submit a paragraph explaining why they are interested in participating, what they would gain from participation, and how they can contribute to the workshop.


There will be no formal proceedings for the abstracts and papers submitted. However, if we receive enough high quality submissions, and if there is enough interest from participants to the workshop, we will propose a special issue of the open access journal Demographic Research - one of the top journals in the field.  The issue would include a selection of papers presented at the workshop, after going through the peer-review process. We have already contacted the Editor of Demographic Research, who agreed in principle to the possibility of hosting a special issue in the journal.