Kuczynski, R. R.

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Robert René Kuczynski was a German statistician and demographer who left Nazi Germany in 1933 and settled in London, becoming a British subject in 1946. Kuczynski had joined the Berlin Statistical Office under Richard Boeckh in 1898 and became the director of the Statistical Office of Elberfeld (1904–1905) and subsequently the director of that office in Berlin-Schoeneberg (1906–1921). Between 1900 and 1902 he worked at the Census Office in Washington, D.C., and in the late 1920s he worked at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

In England, Kuczynski worked at the London School of Economics, initially as a research fellow, and in 1938 he became a reader in demography, the first academic appointment in demography at a British university. He retired from that post in 1941 and became a demographic adviser to the Colonial Office in 1944. He was a founding member of the Population Investigation Committee in 1936, as he had been (through its German section) of the International Union for the Scientific Investigation of Population Problems in 1928, and a member of the statistics committee of the Royal Commission on Population from its inception in 1944 through 1947.

An important strand in Kuczynski's work was technical and methodological. Although Kuczynski did not devise the net reproduction rate (the demo-graphic measure indicating the number of daughters who will replace each woman, given the prevailing patterns of childbearing and mortality by age)–he attributed this measure to Boeckh, 1886–he was its major explicator and popularizer. Moreover, he was the originator of the concept of the total fertility rate (1907), which indicates the number of children per woman implied by current age-specific birth rates, assuming no mortality, and the related gross reproduction rate, which is confined to daughters only. All these measures are still widely used.

Kuczynski also conceived of what might be termed birth-order-specific total fertility rates, indicating the births of a particular order per woman implied by current age-and order-specific birth rates, assuming no mortality. Kuczynski's thinking, and calculations, stimulated discussion of the likelihood and implications of below-replacement birth rates in the Western world during the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.

Kuczynski was interested in application, not just technique. His published work included reviews of past population movements as well as the contemporary situation. He also wrote about the historical development of thinking about population.

See also: Projections and Forecasts, Population.


selected works by r. r. kuczynski.

Kuczynski, Robert R. 1928. The Balance of Births and Deaths, Vol. 1. New York: Macmillan.

——. 1935. The Measurement of Population Growth: Methods and Results. London: Sidgwick & Jackson.

——. 1937. Colonial Population. London: Oxford University Press.

——. 1939. Living-Space and Population Problems. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

——. 1948–1953. Demographic Survey of the British Colonial Empire. London: Oxford University Press.

selected works about r. r. kuczynski.

Anonymous. 1948. "Memoir: R. R. Kuczynski, 1876–1947." Population Studies 1: 471–472.

Anonymous. 1948. "A Bibliography of the Demo-graphic Studies of Dr R. R. Kuczynski." Population Studies 2: 125–126.

Hogben, Lancelot, ed. 1938. Political Arithmetic. London: George Allen and Unwin.

C. M. Langford