RESOURCES: Demographer's Delight

Science  29 Mar 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5564, pp. 2331c
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5564.2331c

Need to know how infant mortality rates have changed in Asia over the last 2 decades, or the projected population of Zimbabwe in 2050? Try tapping these two rich veins of statistics. POPIN is a clearinghouse of population data from the United Nations. One highlight is an online database that provides current values and projections for 28 key population variables, including size, growth rate, and density. You can break down the figures by country, region, and continent and look out as far as 2050. You can also access a wealth of other stats gathered by UN agencies, such as country-by-country estimates of numbers of HIV-infected people. Another source of demographic information is the Population Reference Bureau, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit. Along with articles on topics such as the parlous state of U.S. health care for the elderly and population displacements due to strife in Colombia, the site serves up plenty of raw data. Published annually, the handy World Population Data Sheet collates midyear estimates of population size, birth and death rates, and other vital stats for every country.

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