June 7, 2010

Census-taking in Europe

Facing similar obstacles of cost and people’s reluctance to participate in national enumerations, some European countries are trying innovative ways to count their populations, according to an article on census-taking in Europe published (in English) by the Institut national d’études démographiques (INED). Among the new methodologies are expanded use of administrative records from municipal population registers and information collection from ad hoc or existing sample surveys.

The article cites the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey as one example of a new way of gathering demographic, social and economic data about households. The Census Bureau confronts similar problems to those of European countries, in the form of growing costs and increased public reluctance to participate. The Census Bureau makes limited use of  administrative records to collect population data, and has done research into expanded uses, including an experiment during the 2000 Census. Although the results were not definitive due to the limited nature of the experiment, researchers said use of administrative records has great potential in a number of realms.