The causes and consequences of depopulation

Wittgenstein Centre Conference 2021

Vienna, Austria, 29.11. - 01.12.2021
Online via Zoom (CET)

Although global population is still growing, an ever larger number of regions and countries are experiencing a decline in population size, and the COVID-19 pandemic may have further accelerated the process. Undoubtedly, depopulation poses many challenges from economic, social, political, and strategic perspectives. In the public and policy discourse, negative views are often emphasised but may population decline also open up opportunities?

This conference aims to bring together researchers from around the world working on population decline and its consequences from demographic, economic, sociological, political, environmental, and geographical perspectives. Next to a debate session hosted by the UNFPA, we are happy to announce as keynote speakers:

  • David Bloom, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Josh Goldstein, University of California
  • Anne Goujon, European Commission Joint Research Centre, Knowledge Centre on Migration and Demography
  • Dubravka Šuica, Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Democracy and Demography

The conference will take place 29.11.-01.12.2021 in full distance mode via Zoom. There is no conference fee. A special issue of the Vienna Yearbook of Population Research will focus on the conference theme, Depopulation. Conference participants will be invited to submit their research to the journal.

Please find the preliminary programme here:

Conference Organisers at the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital (IIASA, OeAW, University of Vienna):

Ekaterina Zhelenkova, Conference Coordinator (University of Vienna)

Zuzanna Brzozowska (VID, Austrian Academy of Sciences)

Stuart Gietel-Basten (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

Michael Kuhn (IIASA)

Michaela Potančoková (IIASA)

Klaus Prettner (Vienna University of Economics and Business)



If you have any questions regarding the conference, please contact conference.vid(at)


The 2023 issue of the Vienna Yearbook of Population Research is dedicated to the topic of this conference.
Submissions welcome!