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Multilingual Demographic Dictionary, second unified edition, English volume
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Current population statistics 1 may be distinguished from 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 change 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). Nonrenewable events 4 (e.g. deaths) may be distinguished from renewable events 5 such as pregnancies, births or migratory moves; renewable events are assigned an order 6 based on the number of previous events of the same nature for the same person. Statistics of population change are a principal source for the study of population processes 7, sometimes called population dynamics 7. Censuses (cf. 202) are the main source of information on the state of the population 8 . Vital Statistics (212-1) are the primary source of data for the study of population growth 9 (cf. 701). Occasionally they deal with natural increase 10 only, i.e. they do not take into account movement between the population studied and other populations, but logically migration statistics (812-1) are a part of the statistics of population change. The term population movement 11★ is used to refer to the geographical movement of a population.
Population censuses 1 are taken to obtain information about the state of the population (201-8) at a given time. Most commonly 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. the inhabitants of a given area, in which case the census is called a partial census 3. The term "Census", however, denotes that an attempt was made to enumerate every member of the population concerned and to achieve complete coverage 4 of the population. A micro census 5 is limited to a sample of the population, usually large in size, and belongs in the category of sample surveys 6. Censuses or surveys are sometimes preceded by pretests 7 or pilot surveys 7. To verify the accuracy and completeness of enumeration (230-2), a post-enumeration check 8★ is performed using a post-enumeration survey 9.
- 1. Census, n. - censal, adj. The intercensal period is the time elapsing between two successive censuses.
Modern censuses correspond to what used to be called head counts. Population counts include any estimation procedure, however imprecise, based for example on the counting of baptisms (214-2) registered for a number of years, or of hearths (110-3) or even parishes (214-1).
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 labor 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 mailback surveys 7 questionnaires (206-3) are sent out by post with a request to return them completed. A retrospective survey 8 focuses on past demographic events; in a multiround survey 9 those events that occurred since the previous survey are noted from the second round on. This type of survey should not be confused with a call back 10, a term used to describe the instance where the interviewer is obliged to make several attempts to reach a respondent. In censuses, information may be obtained by either direct interview 11, or by self-enumeration 12. In the first method, also called canvasser method 11 the enumerator (204-2) notes the information provided by or about the respondents; in the second method, also called householder method 12, the questionnaire is completed by the respondents (204-1) themselves. Self-enumeration may take the form of a mail census 13.
- 1. Enumeration, n. - enumerate, v.
- 2. Count, n. - count, v.
- 3. List, n. - list, v.
- 4. Survey, n. - survey, v.
Persons who answer questions in a census (202-1) or a survey (203-4) are called respondents 1 or informants 1. Persons who collect (130-4) the information are called interviewers 2, field workers 2 or enumerators 2, the last term being usually reserved for persons collecting information in a census. Enumerators usually work under the control of supervisors 3 or inspectors 3. General censuses (202-2) are usually taken by the statistical departments 4 of individual countries.
- 1. The term interviewee is sometimes used.
- 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 usually 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 (cf. 203-4), 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 frequently divided into those who refuse 6, i.e. who are unwilling to cooperate in the inquiry, and those who could not be found by the interviewer (204-2). The latter are counted as absentees 7 or no contacts 7. The replacement of an unusable sample unit with another unit is referred to as substitution 8. The proportion of refusals 9 in response to a given question is a useful index of the reactions of the respondents.
- 6. Refuse, v. - refusal, n.
- 7. Absentee, n. - absent, v. - absence, n.
The forms 1 used for the collection of information have a number of different names. The term schedule 2 is frequently 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. The questions are usually of two basic types: closed ended questions 8 in which a respondent replies by selecting one out of a limited number of responses listed on the questionnaire or open ended questions 9 to which the respondent may give a spontaneous answer.
A census schedule (206-2) 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 the household (110-3), or a collective schedule 3, nominal list 3 or enumerator’s schedule 3 on which the enumerator (204-2) 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.
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