In DepthDemography

Surveys reveal state of Afghan population

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Science  23 Jan 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6220, pp. 359-360
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6220.359

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A slew of new surveys are illuminating demographics in insecure Afghanistan, after decades in which many key population indicators were a mystery. The Socio-Demographic and Economic Survey, a province-by-province count of households carried out by the Afghan Central Statistics Organization with assistance from the United Nations Population Fund, is now under way, and plans for still more ambitious surveys are being rolled out as well. Such projects follow on more limited assessments of fertility, mortality, and other factors. Worsening security concerns are an issue; surveyors now routinely avoid Taliban-controlled parts of the rural south. But even partial results are a boon to researchers, government officials, and aid agencies once starved for data.