2019 Quetelet Seminar


Demographic Change along the Urban-Rural Gradient

7-8 November 2019, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium


*** Registration form ***

*** Provisional Programme ***


Urban and rural living is decidedly distinct, with for example different primary economic activities, varying access to services including healthcare and education, and varying household arrangements. Demographic behaviour along the rural-urban gradient vary by the stage of the demographic and urban transitions reached. How different are rural and urban populations over the demographic transition? What is the role of internal migration in the diffusion of behaviour? Beyond the urban-rural dichotomy, differences in demographic behaviour over a range of urbanicity needs to be addressed.


Gradient of urbanicity in demographic research

The terms “rural” and “urban” are crude measures of settlement types, and there is actually no universal definition of what is considered urban. Going beyond the urban-rural dichotomy is an important step in addressing this. Indeed, much of the population in the world live in semi-urban, or peripheral settlements, suggesting that a continuum of urbanicity is much more relevant. Lumping towns with 5,000 people together with mega-cities hides the diversity of characteristics of settlements that people live in. Papers addressing these issues are welcome, particularly related to:

  • New technologies in defining urbanicity and how they help with population estimates (including satellite, cellphone or social media georeferenced data)
  • Numerous categories of urbanicity – contributions and constraints to demographic research
  • Demography of these “in-between” settlements
  • The role of the urban/rural gradient in demographic theories and in population policies


Diffusion of behaviours across rural & urban sectors

The urban sector is often considered to lead the first demographic transition. Mortality would decline first in the urban sector when infectious diseases begin to recede. Fertility decline would also begin in the urban sector. Is this pattern really universal? How does the decline in vital rates shift between sectors? Is it the availability of sanitation infrastructure in the urban sector that drives the urban mortality decline? Is the idea of limiting childbearing diffused to the rural sector? Or do both sectors want to limit childbearing but unmet need for contraception impede the fertility transition?

In addition, while the second demographic transition follows spatial patterns, there is no univocal evidence of urban and rural variance in features of the second transition such as non-marital cohabitation or single parent households. Papers relating to the diffusion of behaviour across the rural-urban gradient are encouraged, with special attention to the following:

  • Contemporary and historic fertility decline
  • Contemporary and historic mortality decline
  • Changes in gender, family composition and living arrangements 


Migration and circulation within countries

Internal migration is more common than international migration, yet intra-country movements of populations is often left out of the limelight. People may move between regions within countries, between rural and urban sectors or within rural areas and within urban areas. The moves may be long term, temporary, or seasonal. Some may opt to live in one area and to work in another. Push and pull factors have different relevance across an individual's life course and events such as the start of education or marriage are important triggers for residential mobility. Little research addresses these mobility patterns, and especially how they determine rural and urban populations’ characteristics and behaviours. How are these internal movements measured? How would mobility and circulation affect demographic estimations? What is the extent of intra-urban migration – the supposedly final stage of the mobility transition? Contributions focusing on the following themes are encouraged:

  • Cyclic and seasonal migration
  • Satellite towns
  • Circulation decisions over the life course
  • Rural-rural and urban-urban migration


Urbanisation, economic inequalities and ecology

Urbanisation is often associated with economic progress, accompanied by industrialisation and complex economies, as well as mass education and democratisation. Yet this relationship has also been challenged, taking into account the worsening inequalities and risks to the environment. Does urbanisation necessarily go hand-in-hand with economic growth? Does it lead to poverty? What are the advantages of urbanisation for sustainable development? On the one hand, dense settlements provide and distribute food and water more efficiently and leave green areas in-between them. On the other hand, local biodiversity is affected and rural land use is designated to provide food for the cities. What are the effects of different types of urbanisation on the environment? Papers addressing these questions are welcome.

  • The environment along the rural-urban gradient
  • The rural-urban gradient in relation to poverty and inequalities: spatial and historical approach



Instructions to submit an abstract

  • Sign up
  • Click on “New Submission”
  • Add authors in the right order: add yourself as an author and (un-)tick the corresponding author
  • Fill in the Title and Abstract form (short abstract up to 250 words, English or French). The short abstract should be formatted as follows:
    • Background
    • Objective
    • Methods
    • (Anticipated) Results
    • (Anticipated) Conclusion or Contribution

IMPORTANT : Abstract that do not follow this format will not be accepted

  • Fill in the Keywords form (2 to 5 keywords)
  • Not compulsory at this stage: Upload a paper or an extended abstract (PDF only, minimum 4 pages)


Short abstract submission deadline: 31st March 2019
Authors’ notification of acceptance: 14th June 2019
Registration opening for authors: 14th June 2019
Registration deadline for authors: 13th September 2019
Extended abstract submission deadline: 13th September 2019
Conference date: 7-8 November 2019


*** Registration form ***


Registration fee: 150 €
NGOs/association fee: 50 €
PhD/student/retired registration fee: 20 €
Limited support will be available for authors from low-income countries.


The conference languages are English and French. However, all slides are requested to be in English even if the oral presentation is in French.


Conference venue: LouvainHouse, Traverse Comte Yves du Monceau, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve


Submission website : https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=cq2019


Scientific committee
Philippe Bocquier (UCLouvain, Belgium)
Jean-Michel Decroly (ULB, Belgium)
Yoann Doignon (UCLouvain, Belgium)
Thierry Eggerickx (UCLouvain, Belgium)
France Guérin-Pace (INED, France)
Mathias Lerch (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany)
Catherine Linard (Université de Namur, Belgium)
Ashira Menashe-Oren (UCLouvain, Belgium)
Michel Oris (Université de Genève, Switzerland)

Organizing committee
Philippe Bocquier (UCLouvain, Belgium)
Mélanie Bourguignon (UCLouvain, Belgium)
Yoann Doignon (UCLouvain, Belgium)
Thierry Eggerickx (UCLouvain, Belgium)
Marguerite-Marie Hanon (UCLouvain, Belgium)
Mireille Le Guen (UCLouvain, Belgium)
Gaëlle Marion (UCLouvain, Belgium)
Ashira Menashe-Oren (UCLouvain, Belgium)
Jocelyn Nappa (Université de Kinshasa)
Audrey Plavsic (UCLouvain, Belgium)
David Sanchez Paez (UCLouvain, Belgium)
Jean-Paul Sanderson (UCLouvain, Belgium)
Koyel Sarkar (UCLouvain, Belgium)
Benjamin-Samuel Schlüter (UCLouvain, Belgium)
Isabelle Theys (UCLouvain, Belgium)
Océane Van Cleemput (UCLouvain, Belgium)
Christophe Vandeschrick (UCLouvain, Belgium)



Further enquiries:
2019 Quetelet Seminar
Centre de recherche en démographie
Université catholique de Louvain
1 Place Montesquieu bte L2.08.03
1348-Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgique
Tel. +32 10 472951, Fax. +32 10 472952