Coverage of Young Children in the Census: An International Comparative Perspective

  • William P. O’HareEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Population Studies book series (BRIEFSPOPULAT)


Review of census results from several other countries show that a net undercount of young children is very common. Only one of the countries examined here did not have a net undercount for young children. Like the U.S., younger children experienced a higher net undercount that older children in most countries examined here. Unlike the U.S., where the net undercount rate for young children (age 0–4) is higher than any other age group, in most countries young adults are the age group with the highest net undercount rate.


International Census coverage 


  1. Abbott, O., & Compton, G. (2015). Counting and estimating hard-to-survey populations. In R. Tourangeau, B. Edwards, T. P. Johnson, K. M. Wolter, & N. Bates (Eds.), Hard-to-survey populations (pp. 58–81). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, B. A., & Silver, B. D. (1985). Estimating census undercount from school enrollment data: An application to the soviet censuses on 1959 and 1970. Demography, 22(2), 289–308.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, B. A. (2004). Undercount in China’s 2000 census in comparative perspective. PSC Research Report, no. 04-565, Population Studies Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.Google Scholar
  4. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2003). Information Paper: Census of Population and Housing Data Quality-Undercount, 2940.0, Dennis Trewin, Canberra.Google Scholar
  5. Baldwin, G., (1973). Estimates and projections of the population of the U.S.S.R. by age and sex: 1950-2000. U.S. Department of Commerce, International Population Reports, Series P-91, No. 24. Washington DC.Google Scholar
  6. Bryan, T., & Heuser, R. (2004). Collection and processing of demographic data. In J. S. Siegel & D. A. Swanson (Ed.), The methods and materials of demography (2nd ed.). Elsevier Academic Press, pp. 43–64.Google Scholar
  7. Cai, Y., & Lavely, W. (2003). China’s missing girls: numerical estimates and effects on population growth. The China Review, 3(2 Fall).Google Scholar
  8. Cruz, G. C., Cruz, J. P., & Kabamalan, M. M. (2014). Assessing and adjusting the 2000 Philippine census population count. Poster Presented at the Population Association of America Conference, Boston, MA. May 1–3.Google Scholar
  9. Desplanques, G. (2008). Strengths and uncertainties of the french annual census surveys. Population–E, pp. 415–440.Google Scholar
  10. Elkin, M., Dent, P., & Rahman, N. (2012). A review of international approaches to estimating and adjusting for under- and over-coverage. United Kingdom, London: Office of National Statistics.Google Scholar
  11. Goodkind, D. (2011). Child underreporting, fertility and sex ratio imbalance in China. Demography, 48, 291–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kerr, D. (1998). A review of procedures for estimating the net undercount of censuses in Canada, the United States, Britain, and Australia. Ottawa, Canada: Statistics Canada.Google Scholar
  13. Nyirenda, M., Hosehood, V., & Moultrie, T. A., (no date). Population modelling for a small area: a comparative analysis of census and demographic surveillance system data in South Africa. African Centre for Health and Population Studies, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.Google Scholar
  14. Simpson, L., & Middleton, E. (1997). Who is missed by a national census? A review of empirical results from Australia, Britain, Canada, and the USA. UK: The Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research, University of Manchester.Google Scholar
  15. U.S. Census Bureau. (1944). Population differential fertility: 1940 and 1910; Standardized fertility rates and reproduction rates. Appendix A, Completeness of Enumeration of Children Under 5 Years Old in the U.S. Census of 1940 and 1910, 1940 Census, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  16. U.S. Census Bureau. (1953). Infant enumeration study. 1950 Procedural studies of the 1950 Censuses, No. 1, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  17. Yurjevich, M. (1982). Underenumeration of babies in the 1976 census of population and dwellings. Demographic Bulletin, 4(2) (Department of Statistics, Wellington)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.O’Hare Data and Demographic Services LLCEllicott CityUSA

Personalised recommendations