|Disclaimer : The sponsors of Demopaedia do not necessarily agree with all the definitions contained in this version of the Dictionary.|
Please consult the discussion area of this page for further comments.
The treatment and processing of population statistics
Current population statistics 1 may be distinguished from statistics of population movement 2 or statistics of population change 2, They deal with the static aspects of the subject and give an instantaneous picture of the population at a given moment of time: the statistical units (110-1) used are generally households (110-3), individuals (110-2), etc. Statistics of population movement are concerned with the continuous processes of change which affect a population, and deal largely with vital events 3, such as births, marriages, deaths, and with migration (801-1). They deal with population development 4, sometimes also called population dynamics 4. Censuses (202-1) are the main source of information on the state of the population 5. Vital statistics (211-6) are the principal sources used for the study of population movement 6 or population change 6, sometimes called general population movement 6. Occasionally they deal with natural movement 7 only, i. e., they do not take into account movement between the population studied and other populations, hut logically migration statistics (cf. 804-1) are part of the statistics of population movement.
- 6. The term population movement was originally applied to the geographical movement of the population and is still often used in that sense, but its meaning has been extended in some recent writings to include movement of population in time.
Population censuses 1 are taken to obtain information about the state of the population (201-5) at a given time. Most frequently all inhabitants of a particular country are counted simultaneously: the census is then called a general census 2. Occasionally, however, only a section of the population is counted, e. g. persons of European descent, or inhabitants of a given area; in which case the census is called a partial census 3. The term "census", however, denotes that there is complete coverage 4 of the population, i. e., that every member of the population concerned is counted. In this sense partial censuses differ from sample surveys 5 (cf. para. 160). Censuses or surveys are sometimes preceded by pre-tests 6 or pilot surveys 6.
- 1. census n. — censal adj. The inter-censal period is the time elapsing between two censuses.
- 4. complete adj. — completeness n.
- 5. The term sample census has occasionally been used for a sample survey in which the sample was very large, but this usage is not recommended.
An enumeration 1 is any operation which is designed to yield a population total. It differs from a simple count 2 in that a list 3 is generally prepared. An inquiry 4 or survey 4 on the other hand, is generally an operation which is designed to furnish information on a special subject (e. g. the labour force) and which has limited aims. A field inquiry 5 or field survey 5 is an inquiry in which information is obtained by personal interview 6. In postal inquiries 7 or mail surveys 7 questionnaires (206-3) are sent out by post with a request to return them completed. In, censuses, information may be obtained by personal interview or by the householder method 8 (cf. 111-2*) or self-enumeration 8, where the questionnaire is completed by the respondents (204-1) themselves.
- 1. enumeration n. — enumerate v.
- 2. count n, — count v.
- 3. list n. — list v.
Persons who answer questions in a census or survey are called respondents 1 or informants 1. Persons who collect the information are called interviewers 2, field workers 2 or enumerators 2, the last term being occasionally reserved for persons collecting information in a census. Enumerators generally work under the control of supervisors 3 (cf, 355. 3) or inspectors 3. General censuses are usually taken by the statistical departments 4 of the individual countries.
- 4. In the United States of America the office responsible for the census is called the Bureau of the Census; in England and Wales it is the General Register Office, in Scotland the General Registry Office; both are headed by a Registrar General.
Censuses are generally compulsory 1, i. e., respondents (204-1) are under a legal obligation to provide the required information; in this respect they are different from voluntary inquiries 2, where the problem of non-response 3 may become important. This is particularly the case in postal inquiries (203-7), where it is often necessary to follow-up 4 the first questionnaire by a second, or sometimes by a visit. Non-respondents 5 are often divided into those who refuse 6, i. e., who are unwilling to co-operate in the inquiry, and those who could not be found by the interviewer (204-2). The latter are counted as no contacts 7.
- 6. refuse v. — refusal n.
The forms 1 (cf. 345-5) used for the collection of information have a number of different names. The term schedule 2 is often used, especially the term census schedule 2. Most of the forms are questionnaires 3,particularly when they are designed for completion 4 by the respondents themselves. At other times officials obtain statements 5, or particulars 6 which they extract 7 from documents primarily used for non-statistical purposes.
A census schedule may be an individual schedule 1 containing information relating only to a single individual, a household schedule 2 containing information relating to each of the members of a household (110-3), or a collective schedule 3 or enumerator’s schedule 3 on which the enumerator enters successively data for all the persons he enumerates. There may be special schedules for the institutional population (310-7), which are called institutional schedules 4.
* * *