Author(s): Quick S, Quick S
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Abstract PIP: The concept of the International Data Base (IDB) grew from recognition of the need for timely, high quality information on the demographic, social and economic characteristics of foreign countries. During the past 2 decades, the Bureau of the Census, US Department of Commerce, has been compiling, analyzing and evaluating international demographic data and, to a lesser extent, socioeconomic data with particular emphasis on developing countries. In 1979, at the request of the Office of Women in Development at the Agency for International Development, a computerized data base of demographic and socioeconomic statistics that could be used to assess the status of women in developing countries was established. The major categories of data now being included in IDB are as follows: population by age and sex; vital rates, infant mortality and life tables; health and nutrition; fertility and child survivorship; migration; provinces and cities; family planning; ethnic, religious and language groups; literacy and education; labor force, employment, income and gross national product; and household size and housing indicators. The Bureau, through its Center for International Reserch (CIR), developed a computerized central depository of demographic, social and economic data for all countries of the world to serve the needs of the public and private sectors. The initial emphasis was on demographic and social data, since these subject areas are those for which a vast amount of data has already been compiled, analyzed and evaluated by CIR staff. However, meetings are being planned with users to determine the additional types of data that are desired, particularly in the economic and health-related areas. IDB includes data for all countries of the world, by urban and rural residence. The time coverage is from 1950 to the present. Data sources include: population and industrial censuses and surveys, administrative records, population registers, statistical publications, research papers, and personal communication with foreign officials and researchers. Quality and quantity of data varies from country to country, depending on the quality of field work, the sample design, the accuracy of information given by respondents, the adequacy of tabulations or publications, and specification or knowledge of data needs. Data for each country are presented according to the definitions prescribed by that country; no attempt has been made by the Bureau to standardize definitions of concepts. Model 204, a data base management system developed by the Computer Corporation of America, was adopted for the IDB project. Technical details of this system are provided in the annex, as well as lists of tables included in the IDB.
This article was published in POPIN Bull
and referenced in Journal of Psychiatry