Project Goals

Population and environment are two central resources, and their mutual sustainability is highly debated nowadays. Serbia is a country with extremely unfavorable demographic trends (several decades of depopulation, population aging, low fertility, emigration) and at the same time faced with numerous environmental challenges. Climate change and air pollution consciously or unconsciously affect our lives, health, quality of life and well-being, etc.

In Serbia, there is a scarcity of scientific studies on the impacts of environmental challenges on population dynamics. Lack of such studies impedes the advancement of knowledge on future population projections and consequently hampers policy efforts to anticipate demographic challenges under environmental changes.

Research within the POPENVIROS project addresses the following main objectives which are fundamental in understanding the environmental feedback on population dynamics in Serbia:

  • To examine how and to what extent do environmental challenges influence the three components of population dynamics – fertility, mortality and migration in Serbia
  • To examine what the mechanisms through which environmental challenges influence fertility, mortality and migration in Serbia are
  • To identify the environmentally most sensitive area and demographic groups in Serbia
  • To produce a more realistic forecast of population dynamics under environmental challenges in Serbia.

The main expected result of the POPENVIROS project is establishing Query tool on POPENVIROS web platform as tool for connect, extract, and load POPENVIROS results and data that will be open and free for all interested users (decision makers and policy makers, independent researchers, analysts) during and after project lifetime.

Innovative methodology

POPENVIROS project analyses three components of population dynamics (fertility, mortality, migration) in Serbia, using a variety of methodologies and datasets.

The innovativeness of the methodological approach lies in the use and combination of demographic, socioeconomic and environmental data from different sources at the individual, regional and national level. Structural equation models (SEM) are employed to identify the causal pathways.

Our methodological approach is that environmental challenges have different implications for the population dynamics of Serbia as a whole and locally (in areas of high risk to drought, floods or fires), but also that individual perceptions of environmental challenges vary and affect certain demographic outcomes. In this sense, our idea to observe the environmental prediction of fertility, mortality and migration multidimensionally (directly/indirectly) and from multiple levels (national-regional-individual) is also innovative.

Research within the POPENVIROS project is based on official data obtained by official institutions in Serbia (Republican Institute of Statistics, Republic Hydrometeorological Institute, Environmental Protection Agency).

Expected impact

By providing scientific insights into how climate change and air pollution affects fertility, mortality and migration, demography has made a significant contribution towards a better understanding of current and future processes of population dynamics, as well as building more realistic population scenarios in Serbia.

The knowledge about current and future population dynamics under environmental challenges is crucial for policy planning in the long run. If environmental challenges do influence fertility, mortality and migration, decision-makers at all levels must take this factor into account when formulating population policy measures.

Establishing an open data environment through Query tool on POPENVIROS web platform will facilitate and stimulate interdisciplinary and multi-domain use of project’s results and data during and beyond project lifetime.

Project title: Population Dynamics under Environmental Challenges in Serbia
Program: PRISMA,
Science Fund of the Republic of Serbia
Subprogram: Social and humanities sciences

Project ID: 7358
Starting date: 01.12.2023.
Project duration: 3 years

Principal investigator:
Natalija Mirić
Professor Assistant
University of Belgrade
Faculty of Geography
The POPENVIROS website was developed with the financial support of the Science Fund of the Republic of Serbia.
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