Report of the seminar on the organization and conduct of censuses of population and housing Vol. II part II
Author(s)/Corporate Author (s)United Nations. Economic Commission for Africa;
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The most important information which any census or demographic survey should aim to collect is that on the distribution of the population by age and sex. This information is essential for almost every aspect of development planning for studies of employment, manpower, and the economic structure of the population, for educational planning, for the analysis of fertility, mortality and population growth and for the construction of population projection, unfortunately in Africa the accurate estimation of ages constitutes one of the most difficult problems which face the census administration, simply because of the widespread ignorance of age in the orthodox sense of the completed number of years. The first working group on censuses of population and housing recommended that the United Nations should sponsor a study of misstatements of age in African censuses and of possible methods of improving the data. This paper has been prepared in response to this recommendation. It is divided into three main parts: the first describes the patterns of age misstatement evident in the data obtained from African censuses and surveys; the second discusses methods of collecting the age data in the field; the third suggests methods of rectifying the figures after they have been collected and tabulated.