Demography is a field which focuses on the dynamics and structures of human populations, and their correlates. Necessarily it draws on theories and methods coming from the mathematical disciplines, synthesising them with theories and empirical analyses coming from the social, historical and medical sciences. It is also highly applied in areas of public policy, and thus in 17th century Royal Society discourses it was known as ‘political arithmetick’. In a small country such as New Zealand it is difficult for the practitioner to specialise, while one also gets drawn into many aspects of public debate on policy issues.
Professor Pool’s international focus, and some of his New Zealand work, is on the passage of birth cohorts through life-cycle stages, particularly when these cohort flows are disordered, as they are for New Zealand as a function of fluctuations in fertility and migration. His research within New Zealand relates to the long-term historical analysis of our different populations, covering their growth and structures, including age, geographical and labour force patterns. This is most reflected in his earlier book Te Iwi Maori (Auck Univ Press), and the research he is currently doing under a James Cook Fellowship. This is on a demographic history of New Zealand, covering all its major population groups. Professor Pool’s most applied New Zealand work is in several areas: family demography, population health, regional change and aspects of human capital, most notably scientific.