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    World population and birth rates: agreements and disagreements.

    Kirk D

    Population and Development Review. 1979 Sep; 5(3):387-403.

    4 types of data are commonly presented in estimates of population size and trends: population size, crude birth rates, changes in crude birth rates, and measures of rates of population growth. World population sizes range from 3920 million by the Worldwatch Institute to 4147 million by the Environmental Fund. Crude birth rate estimates range from a low of 26.6/1000 (AID) to 33.7/1000 (Environmental Fund). With China the range for developing countries is from 30.8 to 40.2/1000. The world crude birth rate dropped by 12% between 1950-55 and 1970-75. Mauldin and Berelson postulate that the birth rate in the developing world declined from 41 to 35.5/1000 between 1965-75. Declines in the birth rate have exceeded those in the death rate. The United Nations (UN) data, above all others, has seniority in authority and experience in collecting and evaluating national data. The UN is less concerned with day to day changes and takes a longer, broader perspective. The Bureau of the Census is the next most reliable authority for data. Their compendium presents basic demographic data from every country in the world. The Bureau is very conservative about accepting new sources of data. The Population Reference Bureau is an intermediate source which provides as early warning system for AID in contraceptive use and fertility data.
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