Demographic Transitions and spatial-temporal approaches (EN)

Demographic Transitions and spatial-temporal approaches: Historical and contemporary perspectives

Since the 18th century, a series of socio-demographic upheavals has affected populations: mortality and fertility have fallen sharply, traditional patterns of union have diversified with the emergence of divorce and (re-)cohabitation outside marriage, procreation no longer necessarily takes place within the framework of marriage, and migration has intensified everywhere. These transformations have been theorised in the context of the first and second demographic transitions.

The open access Quetelet Journal is launching a new call of contributions on demographic transitions on the following themes (see below). Contributions may deal with either the first or the second demographic transition, although contributions comparing the pattern of the two transitions are encouraged. Similarly, each of the components of the transition (mortality, fertility, nuptiality, migration) may be treated separately.


Disparities in processes of socio-demographic transitions

Although the transitions are gradually leading to a standardization of demographic behaviours, there are still significant differences between regions, especially at a local level. Not all regions begin their demographic transitions at the same time. Furthermore, duration and intensity of transitions may vary between them. These disparities can be explained in particular by economic, political, social and environmental characteristics of each region. Contributions will approach socio-demographic transitions with a spatial perspective, at an aggregated or disaggregated spatial scale, and with a temporal dimension. Contributions discussing the early or late arrival of certain regions in the transition process(es) are particularly welcome.


Adaptation and diffusion of behaviours

Theoretical frameworks such as the first or second demographic transition replace these socio-demographic changes of the 19th and beginning 20th centuries within a complex process during which populations move from an old demographic regime to a new one. These transformations are mainly explained by adaptation and diffusion mechanisms, in which the temporal and territorial dimensions play a considerable role. Do these two mechanisms act in competition with each other or do they complement each other? Although the urban environment is generally considered to be a precursor, is this a universal pattern? Is the rural world still 'lagging behind' in the adoption of new behaviours? And if so, why? Is the pattern of spatial diffusion accompanied by a pattern of social diffusion or are they separate processes? What are the individual social mechanisms behind the diffusion process (social learning, social influence...)? Contributions referring to the concepts of adaptation and/or diffusion related to fertility decline, changes in marital behaviours.… are therefore welcome.


Standardisation or heterogeneity of demographic behaviours?

Both demographic transitions are accompanied by changes in behaviour of the population. More often than not, innovative behaviours are initially adopted on the margins of the population and then become generalized to the whole population. This process sometimes leads to a harmonization of behaviours, a standardization towards an average behaviour. Articles that focus on the dispersion of behaviours, and in particular on populations whose behaviours become the 'norm', are strongly encouraged. Conversely, articles that take the opposite view, i.e. that analyse those who are resistant to change, those whose behaviours 'deviate' from the norm, are also welcome. What drives some individuals to adopt/conserve 'marginal' behaviours? Are they individuals with particular profiles?


The impact of migration

In demographic transitions, migration, although generally not given much attention, plays an important role, as much as other demographic behaviours. It has a major influence on the host and source populations. In certain cases, it can also constitute a lever for action that can be mobilised by the populations in case of a breakdown in the balance between populations and resources. The dimension of the impact of migration will also be welcomed in contributions, including its evolution over time.


The Quetelet Journal

The Quetelet Journal is a bilingual (English and French) thematic journal of the Centre for Demographic Research (Université catholique de Louvain in Belgium). It accepts original contributions that follow the usual format of empirical articles but also articles of other formats: reviews of theoretical literature, methodological articles, advocacy of heterodox or controversial ideas, negative results, replication of already published results, descriptive results on new data, unusual data sets, mixed methods, etc. In the review process, the emphasis will be on scientific rigour and not on the direction of the results found by the authors, in the spirit of a "review without results".

The Quetelet Journal is an open access journal that does not charge article processing fees (APC) or submission fees.


Articles are due by 27 September at the latest. They will be submitted on the OJS platform which hosts the Quetelet Journal ( Authors must register with the journal before submission or, if already registered, can simply log in and begin the five-step process. We recommend that you visit the 'About the Journal' page for the journal policies, as well as the 'Author Guidelines'.

Articles are expected to be published from the second half of 2022.


Mélanie Bourguignon ( and Yoann Doignon (