Workshop “The Formal Demography of Kinship: Theory and Application”

Organisers: Hal Caswell (University of Amsterdam) & Diego Alburez-Gutierrez (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research)

When: Wednesday 16 November, 11.45-13.00. During the first round of parallel sessions at the Dutch Demography Day in the Academy Building of Utrecht University

The workshop will present the theory underlying the matrix approach to the formal demography of kinship networks (see references below). It will include a practical introduction to these models using the DemoKin R package, currently under development by Diego Alburez-Gutierrez (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research) and Ivan Williams (University of Buenos Aires).

The formal models describe the development of the network of kin surrounding a focal individual, as she ages from birth onward. It treats kin of any specific type (daughters, sisters, aunts, cousins, grandparents, etc.) as a population and projects that population using well known matrix operations. Types of kin are linked by reproduction (e.g., reproduction of sisters produces nieces). The model has been presented in time-invariant, multistate, time-varying, and two-sex versions. 

To make the implementation of the model framework more generally available, an R package, DemoKin, is being developed developed ( It takes as inputs mortality schedules, fertility schedules, and distributions of age at reproduction. It returns the complete age distributions of each type of kin, at each age of Focal.
The workshop will include a hands-on demonstration of how the package can be used by researchers interested in addressing substantive questions in kinship demography.

Caswell, H. 2019. The formal demography of kinship: A matrix formulation. Demographic Research 41:679-712.
Caswell, H. 2020. The formal demography of kinship II: Multistate models, parity, and sibship. Demographic Research 42: 1097-1144
Caswell, H. and X. Song. 2021. The formal demography of kinship III. Kinship dynamics with time-varying demographic rates. Demographic Research 45:517-546.
Caswell, H. 2022. The formal demography of kinship IV: Two-sex models. bioRxiv preprint


If you want to participate in this workshop, please register here. Registration opens on 5 September and closes on 31 October. There is a maximum of 15 participants, first-come first-serve.

Only registered participants of the Dutch Demography Day are allowed to join this workshop. Besides the conference registration fee, no separate fee is charged for the workshop.

Be advised that participants with basic knowledge of the R language will benefit more from the practical exercises. You will need to bring your laptop to the workshop. Further details, including advised readings, will be sent to you in due time.

English Nederlands