; Demography
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The Study of Populations
What is Demography?
 Gatheringand analysis of
 information about human populations

 Eg.birth rates, death rates, literacy
 rates, population growth

 Demographer-   the type of
 geographer who collects and
 analyzes this information
Demographers want answers to…
 How many? Where can this info be
 How is this population changing and
  how quickly?
 What are the characteristics and
  composition of the population?
 How is the population distributed?
 What implications do these factors have
  for the future?
Collecting Information on Population
 Census- a questionnaire style form
  which are sent to households to fill out
  and return to the government
 Ask about family members living in
  household, race, income level, ages,
 Demographers use this information to
  make statistics for communities,
  provinces or the country
How is the information used?
 Track shifts in society that warrant
  changes in immigration policies,
 Track internal migration
 Determine the number of elected
 Identify a good location for a new
 Plan a marketing strategy
 Set up social services that meet a
  populations needs
Early Census
 Census have been conducted since
  Roman times
 These census collected info on the
  number of people, the property they
  owned and their agricultural harvest in
  a year
 This information was collected to find
  out how much a citizen could pay in
Mid 1700’s
 1stnational census were performed
  in Sweden and US

 Hired enumerators- people who
  travel door to door to ask questions/
  count the numbers of people
How is data collected?
 Home visits by enumerators
 Completed online
 Send in by mail

   Depends on the country you are collecting
    the information on
       Sending in by mail works in MDC where high
        literacy rates and reliable mail system
       Enumerator visits work best in LDC where
        lower literacy rates
Types of Questions
 Questions will vary depending on what the
  country wants to find out
 A census which covers everything will
  include questions on the following:
       Education
       Religion
       Language spoken
       Nationality
       Home ownership
       Occupation
       Possessions
Question to think about…

 Some people think a census is
 an invasion of personal
 information. What do you think?
 What would you tell these
Problems with Inaccuracy
   Results can never be 100% because:
       Homelessness- no permanent address
        therefore hard to receive a census form to
        fill out
       Fear of entering slums or crime ridden
        areas- enumerators might not want to
        enter these areas to collect info
       Isolation- enumerators/ mail does not
        reach them
       Confusion- people not living at their
        permanent address not counted (eg.
        university students)
Inaccuracies cont’d
   Privacy issues- not wanting to disclose
    personal info even though kept

   Reputation- info used to be used for
    taxation purposes, or how many men
    could serve in war. Some people are still
Problems that result from inaccuracies
   Unfair political representation
     #’s of people = political boundaries

   Unfair levels of funding
     #’s of people = $ money receive

   Lack of funding for homeless people
      #’s of homeless people recorded =
       more or less funding
Problems cont’d
 Product failure
    How a company will market a new
     product based on demographics of
 Faulty economic policies
    Economic growth related to population
     growth. Higher pop. growth = higher
     economic growth. Inaccurate measures
     of pop. growth may = inaccurate
     predictions of economic growth
Problems with interpretation
 Countries can interpret definitions of
  statistics differently (eg. what is urban
 United Nations (UN) has written standard
  definitions, but not every country uses
 Eg. Canada’s definition of urban = min.
  size of community 1000 people. Sweden’s
  definition = 200 people
Canadian Census
 Statistics Canada- federal
  government agency that collects,
  analyzes and publishes data
 First started in 1871 and continued
  every 10 years until 1986 when it
  moved to every 5 years
 Every person must be included in the
Canadian Census cont’d
 Two types of forms- short (7 questions)
  and long (55 questions)
 80% of Canadians receive short forms
 20% receive the long form which
  requires more information given
 Long forms allow the demographers to
  determine trends for the entire country
  without everyone having to fill one out
 Failure to complete the census form
  can lead to a $500 fine or 3 months in
Canadian census cont’d
 Data  is entered into databases over
  the next 4 months
 Statisticians analyze the data over
  the next 4 years
 Stats Canada is recognized as one of
  the most accurate statistical
  information collection agency in the

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