Examples of Demographic Data: A Simple Analysis

Examples of demographic data are available in many national statistical offices. They provide many kinds and characteristics for free. You can use it for research or your personal purpose by no charge.

Of course, we are so lucky. Demography data is available in various indicators and we can use it for many purposes, especially research.

But, as the one who has an interest in demography, you also need to know what is the examples of many demographic data and where it comes from. It helps you to identify and understand how to read them correctly.

Demographic Data Sources

As you know, there are several demographic data sources. Each of these sources has advantages and disadvantages.

1. Census

According to the definition, the census is a complete data collection to a population unit. It could be people, animals, plants, etc.

There are 4 basic features of the census which standardized by United nations

  1. Individual: each unit of the population should be recorded separated along with his or her traits.
  2. Universal: every unit of the population should be described and counted, where ever and whatever their condition.
  3. Simultaneous: census data must be comparable periodically and follow a standardized methodology.
  4. Periodic: census should be held in the periodic interval, perhaps about every five or ten years.

This is the main reason why the census is the most reliable method to provide any kind of demographic data.

  • High accuracy data

The most favorable thing of a census is it provides comprehensive data. A census can produce super-accurate data until the lowest region.

This is why the census is the most complete source of demographic data.

In theory, a census is a non-human error data. There is no single mistake in processing or analyzing the data. The output could describe the real condition of your population without a doubt.

Why? Because census produces parameter, not statistic. There is no margin of error, or confidence interval to explain the produced data. There is no need for a hypothesis test to prove the data quality.

  • Producing the newest data

The census can provide the latest and newest data from the population that we examine. By using the latest data, you can find out the current condition of the population.

  • Allows various types of data

By complete data collection, we can figure so many things that we don’t have before. You can put many question and indicator to the questionnaire and you will get the data accurately.

Usually, the government use census to explore many demographic characteristics and information even the privacy one such as biometric data, expenditure, income, health record, etc.


2. Registration Data

The world is changing. Data collection techniques continue to grow in line with the development of the world. Many countries have applied for registration as the complement of the census system.

The most frequently used registration data to date are birth, death, and migration. Then, the types of data used are increasingly developing such as marital status; married and divorced.

This registration data can be a valid source in collecting demographic data.

Registration data collection becomes easier by using civil documentation by the local government. Using technology and the internet, the data could be updated systematically.


3. Survey

A demographic survey has already become a part of the national data system. It is a scientific way to substitute, complement, or improve the quality of demographic data.

By this method, here are a lot of interesting demographic questions you can use here.

As we know, the registration system is difficult to maintain especially for developing countries. A survey is a substitute for registration and estimating national fertility and mortality,

Yes, I know, a survey is not an accurate data provider. Sometimes, it can not estimate to the lowest level. But, it is helpful to support national data needs.

Usually, there is a ten-year gap between censuses.

To fulfill the data need in the period, usually, the government held a survey to make a better population projection and improve several demographic equations such as total fertility rate, crude death rate, etc.

One of the most favorite surveys that government conduct between censuses is the inter-population census survey. It helps the government to estimate vital indicators such as crude death rate, total fertility rate, crude birth rate, and others and can be used to make population projection.


What does demographic data tell us?

1. Total

The most frequently used demographic data is the population, both men and women. This is data that is most often the subject of discussion in formulating policies.

To make it more powerful, you may combine this data with another demographic characteristic such as housing, economic, educational, etc.

Examples of demographic data are total of the population by gender, total of woman who married under 20, total of poverty, the number of school dropouts, and others.

2. Distribution

Demography is not only about the total, but also about distribution. When you are analyzing something, talking about demographic distribution is very crucial.

It could be a comparative analysis which shows you the differences among your object of population. You can also add other characteristics and variables to make your data richer.

Examples of demographic distribution are total population in world countries.


3. Density

After knowing the total and distribution, density is another interesting point that you have to pay attention to.

As the world grows, density becomes an important thing to watch out for. This is because population growth is not proportional to the availability of existing natural resources.

For example, the density of population in some country.


Examples of Demographic Data

Of course, the most complete source of demographic data provided primarily by the government is the census.

Methodologically, the United Nations recommends that the census be carried out routinely every 10 years to maintain the quality of available demographic data.

Now, take a look at examples of demographic data below. I am using 2010 by the United States.

Growth-of population-trend-data

I am using five states in the United States as an example of demographic data. As you can see, in the last 100 years, there is increasing about 600% of the population in the states.

In 1910, Alabama and California almost have the same population. But, in 100 years, California’s population grow significantly

Source: US Census Bureau

If you are using a line chart, you’ll find another interesting fact. As you see, California’s people are growing rapidly since 1910. It left another city when they grow slower.

As a researcher, you can add another aspect such as economic, health, educational, and others to explain the chart. I believe there is so much you can do just by looking at the chart.

Now, let’s take a look at the population density data.


Another surprising fact is here. You can see that Arizona had a low population density. But, for the last 100 years, it grew 32 times bigger. Such great progress.

California is a crowded city. It’s already has a lot of people. It grows 15 times larger for the last 100 years.

If we talk about the number, California is the answer. But, if we talk about density progress, Arizona is the city that you have to pay attention to.


Tips to Make a Tidy Demographic Data

Demography has unique data characteristics. Usually, demographic data has a long number of variables and series. This is because demography is indeed one of the data that is always maintained, especially by the government.

Therefore, as data users, of course, we must be careful and careful in using this relatively large data. Don’t let it happen because our carelessness makes the results of the analysis less satisfying.

There are some things we need to pay attention to when using demographic data:

  • Ensure consistency of data units

If you use age data, determine the standard unit whether it is year or month. In some cases, age uses units of months or years.

In some analyzes, especially toddlers, often age units are converted into months, not years. This is to facilitate analysis and produce a more detailed output.

  • Pay attention to the series of years

Ideally, demographic data is always available every year. This is to facilitate various parties in need of various studies.

Unfortunately, demographic data is sometimes not routinely available. This is most likely due to the limited budget for the implementation of various data collection such as surveys or censuses.

You can just find a series of hollow data in some time so that it will certainly affect the analysis method you use.



The example of demographic data that show above is a simple description. It shows how we use demographics to analyze world progress and make a proper estimation.

The most common demographic data sources:

  1. Census
  2. Survey
  3. Registration Data

The demographic data tell us:

  1. Total
  2. Distribution
  3. Density

Remember, you have to be careful when using the demography data. Make sure that the data is having the appropriate condition so you won’t produce a misinterpretation.

However, demographic characteristics and data always show us many interesting facts!


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