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Asia-Pacific Population Journal. 2007 Apr; 22(1):3-7.While the science of demography addresses the whole of the human population, substantive demographic research is most often focused on populations with common characteristics. For the last six decades the nation state has been the social unit that has dominated demographic research. The reasons for this focus make perfect sense. Nations define their populations in terms of citizenship and define the ways in which people will be identified in any effort to count the numbers. They have the authority, the interest and the resources to carry out collections of information about members of these defined populations. As members of the United Nations they collaborate with other nations to develop the methodological and technical tools used to analyse national population numbers in ways that are relevant to state policies and actions. In short, the nation is the foundation unit for understanding human population composition and growth. Global population numbers are estimated by compiling the information collected by nations. Interest in populations of units smaller than the nation also relies on national statistical collections and national definitions of component populations, but for most users of data the focus is on the nation, and not the units beyond or below that political entity. (excerpt)
LINKS. HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT REPORT. 1991 Fall; 8(3):11-2.The authors respond to Tony Dajer's critique of their study concerning the trend in Nicaraguan infant mortality and its possible explanations. It is pointed out that the sharp decline in Nicaragua's infant mortality in the mid-1970s is an intriguing phenomenon, since it began to occur at a time of economic slump, civil disturbance, and under a government that gave low priority to the social sector. It is contended that a number of factors (among them the Managua earthquake) prompted the government to shift its allocation of resources from hospital-based health care in the capital city to ambulatory health care throughout the country. After the revolution, the Sandinista government continued this process. Dajer's characterization of USAID-funded clinics as "notoriously ineffective" is rejected; arguing that although operating under overt political guidelines, these projects are well-advised by experts. Dajer's question as to the importance of health care within the Sandinista government is considered. It is maintained that the revolution was not fought in order to reduce infant mortality, and that health was not the primary concern of the Government of National Reconstruction. It was the international solidarity movement, not the Sandinista government, which focused so intently on infant mortality, hoping to find good news to report. The issue of health care had the added advantage of being politically noncontroversial. It is also maintained that since the mid-70s, the country's health policy has remained stable, despite the radical changes in government because the international arena helps determine national health policy.
The collection, analysis and transmission of population policy data at the United Nations Secretariat.
In: International transmission of population policy experience. Proceedings of the Expert Group Meeting on the International Transmission of Population Policy Experience, New York City, 27-30 June 1988, [compiled by] United Nations. Department of International Economic and Social Affairs. Population Division. New York, New York, United Nations, 1990. 21-39. (ST/ESA/SER.R/108)In order to illuminate the complex process of population policy research, this article describes how the UN Secretariat collects, analyzes, and transmits population policy data. The role of conducting population policy research falls under the UN's Population Commission and its substantiative secretariat, the Population Division of the Department of International Economic and Social Affairs. Providing a historical background, the article explains the gradual development of consensus as to the proper role of the UN with regards to population policy. While in 1948 the UN mandated the Population Commission to "arrange for studies and advise" on "policies designed to influence the size and structure of populations and changes therein," it was not until the late 1960s when population policy became a pressing issue. The paper goes on to detail the process of population policy research. Data collection depends on a combination of 2 factors: the number of countries or units of analysis and the specific issues under consideration. The paper explains that the Population Commission collects its data from 4 general sources: 1)government documents, intergovernmental documents, nongovernmental documents, and UN inquiries. Over the past 40 years, the Commission has developed 4 implicit principles concerning the analysis of data. The analysis should be neutral, comprehensive, global, and effective. In order to transmit population policy research, the Commission employs 3 major avenues: 1)UN published reports, documents, studies, etc.; 2: conferences, meetings, seminars, etc.; and 3)computer files. Following the description of the search process, the paper discusses key issues and concerns over this process. Examples of such concerns include the validity of results, issues of consistency and reliability, problems of definition, and the classification of government.
JOURNAL OF POPULATION STUDIES. 1986 Jun; (9):193-212.Population studies have been well developed in many countries of the world, but not so in Taiwan. Many academic people and general citizens in the Taiwan area are still not very familiar with the significance of population research within and outside of the nation. The purpose of this paper is to help readers understand the importance and development situation and trend of the field of population studies, so that they can be motivated to carry out population research and can become more knowledgeable of institutions and organizations both in Taiwan and abroad. Important concepts of the development and trend of population studies presented in this paper are developed by the author after many years of population study. Most sources used in this paper are secondary, and appear in various population references and documents of population organizations. The paper includes 3 main parts: the importance of population studies, the development of population studies in Taiwan, and international population research and sponsoring organizations and agencies. In the 1st part, the important need for population studies has been comprehensively discussed. In the 2nd part, discussions are extended to 3 subjects government's role on data collection and data analysis, teaching and research developments in acdemic institutions, and the role of private organizations in the promotion and application of population studies. In the 3rd part, more than 70 international institutions and agencies of population studies have been introduced and examined. Partticular attention has been paid to characteristics and functions of 3 organizations: UN Population Divisions, IUSSP, and CICRED. In addition, many other international public and private agencies in different countries have been listed and their locations mentioned. In this paper, discussion has not focused on the development of population in the US. It is because the development status in the US is unusually important and requires a separate, special report. The author has made such a report on population studies in the US a decade ago, and it will not be repeated here. (author's modified) (summary in ENG)