Population projections rely on a multitude of assumptions. Researchers must decide if they expect mortality, fertility, immigration, and other factors to change at the same rate over time or grapple with complex algorithms in an attempt to capture changing population dynamics. It is impossible to know how populations will change in the future, but we aim to equip scholars with the tools they need to uncover the inherent assumptions in their calculations.

The Assumption-Relative DEMographic Information System (ARDEMIS) is designed to visualize the impact of these decisions on projections. What if the mortality rate is applied to individuals instead of the population at large? What if we calculate rates of change on a smaller population? What if we apply the fertility rate before the mortality rate? None of these questions have a right answer, necessarily, but each will change the outcome. ARDEMIS does not tell us what will be, but asks “what if?”

ARDEMIS is a product of the Modeling Religious Change project. Our partners involved in the creation of this tool are the Center for Mind and Culture, the Virginia Modeling Analysis & Simulation Center, the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, the Center for Modeling Social Systems, and New York University.

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