The Nature of Geographic Information

5. International Data


The International Data Base is published on the web by the Census Bureau's International Programs Center. It combines demographic data compiled from censuses and surveys of some 227 countries and areas of the world, along with estimates produced by Census Bureau demographers. Data variables include population by age and sex; vital rates, infant mortality, and life tables; fertility and child survivorship; migration; marital status; family planning; ethnicity, religion, and language; literacy; and labor force, employment, and income. Census and survey data are available by country for selected years from 1950; projected data are available through 2050. The International Data Base allows you to download attribute data in formats appropriate for thematic mapping.

Try This!

Acquiring World Demographic Data via the World Wide Web

The purpose of this practice activity is to guide you through the process of finding and acquiring demographic data for the countries of the world from the U.S. Census Bureau data via the web. Your objective is to retrieve population change rates for a country of your choice over two or more years.

  1. Return to the U.S. Census Bureau site.
  2. Click the Topics tab, expand the Population list and click on International. That will take you to the International Programs page.
    Click on the Data tab and then click on International Data Base (IDB).
  3. Choose a data theme you are interested in from the Select Report pick list. The choices have to do with births and mortality, population change including such things as migration, population by age group, etc. (The Population Pyramid Graph choice gives you 
    a graph(s) rather than a data table.)

    Data tables are available by Country or by Region.
    From the Select one or more Countries or Areas pick list, you can specify that you want data for a single country or for a collection of countries, and from the Select up to 25 Years pick list you can specify that you want data for more than a single year. See the instructions in small text at the bottom of the window on how to select multiple entries from the selection boxes.
    From the Select Region(s) selection box, you can choose from pre-selected groupings of countries.
  4. Now, choose a single country under Country Search and select two or more years from the Select up to 25 Years pick list.
    Then click SUBMIT.
    You will see a summary table or plot of the data for your selected country and years.
  5. Click the Search button to go back and experiment with the choices in the Select Region(s) selection box and the Aggregation Options choice list.

    For your information: to download an Excel (.xls) or an comma-delimited text file (.csv) version of the data, find the respective link on the Results page: "Excel" or "CSV"
    Download links may not appear when the search has been broad.
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