CNA2014 Welcomes Famed Demographer David Foot

February 18, 2014

By Romeo St-Martin
Digital Media Officer
Canadian Nuclear Association

David K. Foot is a Canadian economist and demographer, who believes demographics explain “two-thirds of everything”.

Foot can bring to life demographic statistics and make the aging of society – an issue of importance to the nuclear industry – relevant to any group.

He was born in England, raised in Australia, educated in the United States and now lives in Canada.

Foot did his graduate work in economics at Harvard University. Following his PhD, he joined the department of economics at the University of Toronto, where he turned his attention to economic demography.

Subsequently, he focused on Canada’s declining population growth and associated population aging as one of the fundamental and often neglected determinants of the challenges to economic performance and policy.

“The future growth of an economy depends on new people coming into a workforce,” he says. “But with a slower growing economy, you’re not going to collect as many taxes and you’re not going to be able to grow yourself out of deficits so easily.”

He came to prominence in 1996 with his book Boom Bust & Echo: How to Profit from the Coming Demographic Shift, co-authored with journalist Daniel Stoffman.

Boom, Bust & Echo became a national phenomenon that demonstrated the power of demographics to help us understand the past and forecast the future. The book was on Canadian best-seller lists for over three years and has sold more than 300,000 copies.

Shortly after the book was released, Foot explained to the CBC’s Evan Solomon that all he was doing was putting two disciplines together – sociology and economics.

“There shouldn’t be anything very unique about this, except most sociologists don’t know economists and most economists hardly know any sociologists or demography,” he said.

In addition to academic writings and contributions to professional journals and to the popular media, Foot’s work in the area of public policy has included research and submissions to many government commissions and numerous consulting and conference assignments for both private and public organizations.

He is a recipient of a national 3M Award for Teaching Excellence and is a two-time winner of the University of Toronto undergraduate teaching award.

David Foot will be speaking at CNA2014 this month.

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