Pre-Conference Workshop at the 8th International Conference on Social Informatics (SocInfo 2016)

Bellevue (Seattle), United States, 15-17 November 2016



Web, Social Media, and Cellphone Data for Demographic Research 

Monday, 14 November 2016



This research workshop is organized by the IUSSP Scientific Panel on Big Data and Population Processes.


For more information, please visit the workshop website:

Call for Submissions:

  • Deadline for submissions: 30 September 2016 (5pm Pacific Time)


Organizing CommitteeDennis Feehan (UC Berkeley) and Emilio Zagheni (University of Washington).



Demography has been a data-driven discipline since its birth. The global spread of the Internet, social media and cell phones opens up new opportunities for understanding traditional demographic research questions. At the same time, the use of social media and the Internet can influence people’s demographic behavior at a wide range of scales--from the planning of major life events like childbirth and migration, to daily decisions like commuting patterns and kin interactions.


There are clear benefits to 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 foster communication and exchange between the two communities, revolving around the main theme of applications and implications of Web, social media and cellphone data for demographic research.


Topics that are relevant for the workshop include, but are not limited to:


  • Population research with Web data, social media data, or cellphone 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;
  • Web experiments;
  • Using crowdsourced data for demographic research;
  • Applications of demographic methods to online populations.


Call for Submissions:


Participants who would like to present must submit an extended abstract (2-4 pages) or a full paper. The submissions will be evaluated by the Organizing Committee on the basis of quality and fit to the workshop theme. Please attach submissions to an email and send them to by 5pm Pacific Time on September 30, 2016.


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 ACM Proceedings for the abstract 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 a top demographic journal.