Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock investigates the structure and dynamics of populations. The Institute’s researchers explore issues of political relevance, such as demographic change, aging, fertility, and the redistribution of work over the life course, as well as digitization and the use of new data sources for the estimation of migration flows. The MPIDR is one of the largest demographic research bodies in Europe and is a worldwide leader in the study of populations.


Konrad-Zuse-Straße 1
18057 Rostock
Phone: +49 381 2081-0
Fax: +49 381 2081-280

PhD opportunities

This institute has an International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS):

IMPRS for Population, Health and Data Science

In addition, there is the possibility of individual doctoral research. Please contact the directors or research group leaders at the Institute.

Department Population Health, Fertility and Well-Being


Department Digital and Computational Demography

Table set with Brazilian Food.

Researchers use Facebook data to prove that migration movements and culinary preferences are linked

Father sitting at a table with his daughter. They are doing homework together. In front of them is a laptop and some paper. The girl looks a bit frustrated. She is writing something with a pen.

Parents support their children differently depending on their social status

EMTs saving a person with an defillibrator and tajing it to the ambulance

Core problem of urban-rural divide is not a lack of emergency care for heart attacks, but poorer disease prevention in rural areas

a big family sitting together and enjoying an afternoon

Recent study shows evolution of kinship structures through 2100

comic of two elderly climbing a stair case of coins

Inequalities in lifespans are the main driver of inequality in lifetime pensions

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More than one-third of the world’s population uses Facebook at least once a month. In the process, Facebook collects a lot of data from its users, which represents a valuable but barely tapped source for scientific research. Emilio Zagheni and his team at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock are using social media data in an attempt to track and predict international migration.

It’s easy to overlook the marginalized. Social exclusion can have very different causes and consequences – also in the context of migration. Six Max Planck Institutes have now joined forces for a cross-institute project focusing on the topic. The project examines, among other things, the question of why immigrants often lose their good health. It explores what prompts Somalis to move from Europe to Kenya, and what consequences the deal between the EU and Turkey might have for the rights of asylum seekers in Greece. Their common aim is to uncover exclusion and develop fair rules to regulate migration.

Eternal life lasts a very long time. Nevertheless, Ralf Schaible from the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock can already affirm that the freshwater polyp Hydra comes quite close to this ideal. In a long-term experiment initiated by the institute’s Director James W. Vaupel, he and his colleagues investigate why, under certain circumstances, Hydra doesn’t age.

Demographers are astounded at the way human mortality continues to drop. This trend started well over a hundred years ago. What used to be a statistical investigation of death rates has now developed into the science of longevity. This is what Jutta Gampe focuses on at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock.

Post-Doctoral Researcher (m/f/d) | Migration and Health Inequalities

Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock February 22, 2024

What data from online genealogies reveal about historical life expectancy

2022 Alburez-Gutierrez, Diego; Stelter, Robert

Social and Behavioural Sciences

Online genealogy data are beset by a number of biases that affect their representativity. Diego Alburez-Gutierrez from the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research and his colleague Robert Stelter show this with the example of a user-generated dataset from the FamiLinx project. They calculate the remaining life expectancy of men aged 30 who lived in the German Empire between 1500 and 1910 and the Netherlands between 1600 and 1909. Their work highlights the need to develop bias-correction methods to analyze historical population trends derived from crowdsourced digital data.


Covid-19: Life expectancy decreased in most high-income countries

2021 Jdanov, Dmitri A.

Social and Behavioural Sciences

A team including researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research is collecting mortality data in a new database. These data allow to follow the course of the Covid-19 pandemic only a few weeks later. An analysis for 37 high-income countries based on the data has shown that life expectancy decreased in 31 of the countries in 2020. A total of about 28 million more years of life were lost than expected. And the years of life lost associated with the Covid-19 pandemic were more than five times higher than those associated with the seasonal influenza epidemic in 2015. 


Life expectancy: Why is the US doing so poorly?

2020 Myrskylä, Mikko

Social and Behavioural Sciences

Life expectancy in the United States is lagging behind other industrialized nations. Recently, US life expectancy has even decreased. A new study by the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research now shows: Mortality from cardiovascular diseases was a more decisive factor for this development than the often-mentioned opioid crisis.


Tracing relocations from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria with Facebook data

2019 Zagheni, Emilio

Social and Behavioural Sciences

It is impossible to provide timely estimates of human migration flows after natural disasters by only using traditional data from statistical authorities. Facebook offers new opportunities as a complementary source of information. Emilio Zagheni and his collaborators traced relocation after Hurricane Maria 2017 from Puerto Rico to the US mainland and found return migration, too.


Beyond the average: why we need to start measuring variation in ages at death

2018 van Raalte, Alyson A.

Social and Behavioural Sciences

Lifespan variation is a metric of mortality difference in age at death between individuals. With empirical examples from Germany, the USA, and Finland, we show how this variation is overlooked by monitoring metrics of average mortality levels, such as life expectancy. The latter captures the magnitude of survival gains; lifespan variation captures the equality in survival improvement. To gain a full picture of population health, we need to monitor both.

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