Importance of national population censuses for measuring development progress in Africa

Hassan M. Yousif, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

Population and housing censuses are the most important source of information for planning and measuring progress of countries on the development agenda. Pinpointing their limited use in the MDGs, this paper highlights the importance of national data coverage through periodic population and housing censuses for measuring development progress. In addition to obtaining accurate national indicators, it is important to understand the details of the national picture, to identifying local areas where policies and interventions are needed. The paper emphasizes the need for comprehensive understanding of the demographic map of a country, to identify within country differences by place of residence, levels of education, and some other differential factors; and to appreciate the outcomes of these differences in terms of changes in the sex composition and age structure of populations.

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Presented in Session 198: Improving the usefulness of 2010 Population Census round. (International Statistical Institute)