24 March 2003

New United Nations Demographic Yearbook 2000 Issued; Provides Vital Statistics for More Than 233 Countries, Areas

NEW YORK, 21 March (UN Headquarters) -- The United Nations Demographic Yearbook is a unique source of national population and vital statistics, published annually, for over 233 countries or areas in the world. It provides statistics on population size and composition, fertility, mortality, infant and foetal mortality, marriages and divorces. The Yearbook also includes a detailed set of technical notes and footnotes explaining the sources, availability, timeliness, quality, reliability and coverage of the data presented.

The primary sources of the data reported in the Yearbook are national population and housing censuses, population-related statistics from national administrative recording systems, and population and household surveys reported by national statistical authorities. In cases where estimates of total population, and fertility and mortality rates have not been provided by national statistical offices, estimates produced by the United Nations Population Division are presented. The current Yearbook and all the other previous issues contain data on a wide range of topics that make it possible to conduct various in-depth analyses and international comparisons.

The current issue of the Yearbook is the fifty-second. Although a total of 233 countries or areas are covered in the presentation, the coverage varies greatly from one table to another. The coverage ranges from 54 countries or areas that provided statistics on legally induced abortions by age and number of previous births of woman in Table 13, to 233 that provided data on population by sex, rate of population increase, surface area and density in Table 3. With respect to the coverage for specific statistics and indicators, mid-year national population estimates are presented for 227 countries or areas; divorce, marriage, live birth and death data are available for 106, 130, 144 and 149 countries or areas, respectively. The coverage also varies according to the degree of complexity of the table or the level of disaggregation reflected in the data provided. For example, data on deaths by age and sex for the latest available year are presented for 133 countries or areas; while data on deaths by age, sex and urban/rural residence cover 63 countries or areas.


Timeliness of the data: The Yearbook 2000 presents the most recent national data on population counts from the countries or areas. The years for which data are available vary by table, as well as by country. Data are presented for 64 of the 96 countries or areas that conducted censuses between 1995 and 2000. For countries that have not recently conducted a population census, the data go as far back as 1960. Data from sources other than population census (i.e., registration systems and surveys), for example, live births, are presented for 60 countries or areas.

Elderly support ratios: The elderly support ratio is the number of working-age persons (15-64 years) per elderly person (65 years and over). It is expressed as a ratio of the working-age population to the elderly population in a country or area. The value of the ratio indicates the potential support that an elderly person could have from the population in the working ages. The ratio is generally low for countries with an aging population and high for those with a younger population. The 15 lowest elderly support ratios for countries or areas with population of 100,000 or more, range from 3.8 to 12 (Figure 1, below). The age structure of the population is presented in Table 7 of the Yearbook 2000.

Trends in elderly support ratios: Figure 2 presents the trend of elderly support ratios for 4 countries from 1960 to 2000. These four countries are selected based on the availability of the data in this time period. All of these four countries show a substantial decrease in elderly support ratios from around 8 to almost 12 in 1960 to between 3 and 5 in 2000.

Note: Demographic Yearbook 2000 (Sales No. E/F.02.XIII.1) may be ordered from the Sales Section, United Nations, New York or Geneva, or through major booksellers throughout the world. The price is $100 (and may vary other currencies). Accredited correspondents may consult a reference copy, which is available at the Press Documents Counter at the United Nations Headquarters.

The United Nations Statistics Division home page is

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