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The quality and qualities of population statistics, and the place of the census

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Population counts are a key anchor for much of the official statistical system and the benchmark for many commercial and research surveys and analysis. Statistical offices around the world face a wide range of challenges in counting their population, most particularly in the years between censuses, as population flows become much freer and family structures continue to evolve. This paper considers these issues, reviewing how population counts have evolved over time in the UK and other countries. The paper also looks to the future, considering ways in which population count methodology might develop.

Keywords: census; future; migration; population; registers; statistics

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Office for National Statistics, 1 Drummond Gate, London SW1V 2QQ, Email:

Publication date: June 1, 2004


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