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Data InsightsIn the last 200 years, many countries have built institutions to collect statistics on their populations
May 20, 2024Bastian Herre

In the last 200 years, many countries have built institutions to collect statistics on their populations

Line chart showing that many countries have established censuses, civil registers, population registers, and statistical agencies that collect basic statistics about their people over the last centuries.

Governments need accurate information about their populations to implement effective policies.

But historically, few countries collected basic statistics on their people, so they knew little about them.

The chart here shows that, over time, many countries have built such institutions.

Starting in the 19th century, they began conducting population censuses, creating civil registers, and establishing statistical agencies. In the later 20th century, they started setting up population registers and using register-based censuses.

Thanks to these efforts, these countries better understand where people live, what jobs they have, who was born, and who has died.

However, many countries still lack these institutions, which makes it challenging for them to direct projects and policies where they are most helpful.

Explore this data