IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Population inertia and its sensitivity to changes in vital rates or initial conditions


  • David N. Koons

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

  • Randall Holmes
  • James B. Grand


Many studies have examined Keyfitz’s population momentum, a special case of inertia in long-term population size resulting from demographic transition to the stationary population growth rate. Yet, population inertia can be produced by any demographic perturbation (i.e., not just perturbations that produce stationary growth). Insight into applied population dynamics, population ecology, and life history evolution has been gained using perturbation analysis of the population growth rate. However, a similar, generalized framework for perturbation analysis of population inertia has not been developed. We derive general formulas for the sensitivity of population inertia to change in any vital rate or initial population structure. These formulas are readily computable, and we provide examples of their potential use in life history and applied studies of populations.

Suggested Citation

  • David N. Koons & Randall Holmes & James B. Grand, 2006. "Population inertia and its sensitivity to changes in vital rates or initial conditions," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2006-040, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2006-040

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Joshua Goldstein, 2002. "Population momentum for gradual demographic transitions: an alternative approach," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 39(1), pages 65-73, February.
    2. A Rogers & F Willekens, 1978. "The Spatial Reproductive Value and the Spatial Momentum of Zero Population Growth," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 10(5), pages 503-518, May.
    3. A Rogers & F Willekens, 1978. "The spatial reproductive value and the spatial momentum of zero population growth," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 10(5), pages 503-518, May.
    4. Robert Schoen & Young Kim, 1991. "Movement toward stability as a fundamental principle of population dynamics," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 28(3), pages 455-466, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    age distribution; life histories; mathematical demography; migration flow; pest control; stable population;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2006-040. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Wilhelm). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.