Censuses are expensive data collection schemes and in rapidly changing times the data can grow stale quickly, which is why the US Census Bureau instituted the American Community Survey as a rolling survey to keep track of the US population. The Economist has reported that there is a movement afoot in the United Kingdom to replace the census with a computerized database of administrative records. However, the Economist is wrong in its statement that getting rid of censuses is "a global trend." Although censuses are often controversial, the proportion of the world's population that is counted in a census has been going up, not down. The Economist also suggests that census results are problematic because 0.7% of respondents to the religion question in the UK in 2001 reported that they were jedi knights. Less than one percent is not an alarmingly high percentage and, in all events, many countries avoid that problem by not asking about religion.
This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Wadsworth Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 11th (which came out in December 2010), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.
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