The world’s population keeps on growing and challenges lie ahead. A new demographic milestone in humanity was reached when Danica May Camacho of the Philippines, born on October 31, 2011, became the world’s 7th billionth baby.
Knowing how many people lives in a certain place can be achieved by conducting a census. It is a systematic procedure of recording information about the populations and regulates the official count of members of the community.
Census comes from the Latin “censere” or “to estimate”. The Romans used it to keep track of those who are fit for military service. It was also their basis to collect people’s taxes. Census is done every 5 years which includes properties, the basis of their duties and responsibilities, and privileges.
History of census
Since Biblical times, census was already practiced by the people. In Exodus 30: 11-16 God commands a flat tax by the citizens thru census for the upkeep of the Tabernacle. In the Book of Numbers, census was also mentioned during the camping of Israelites in the plains of Moab.
The world’s oldest census took place in China. For more than 4000 years, China was the first to have a census record. The most famous ancient census in China was during the Han Dynasty. It was dated during the fall season in 2 AD which is believed by scholars as a precise estimation. The total number of the population during that time was 57.67 million (Canadian Encyclopedia).
How census is performed
Modern technology plays a vital role in acquiring the population census or survey. Census 2000 features a major automation with its data capture systems in a form of respondent-friendly questionnaires. The Census Bureau is using the National Processing Center run by some contractors in order to operate the variety of data captured by the three processing systems including optical mark recognition to check-box data items, intelligent character recognition (ICR) in capturing write-in character data items, and clerical keying operation to resolve and capture those complex ICR results. The electronic data capture systems records all the activities and images found in every questionnaire.
According to the Census Bureau officials, the main purpose of this electronic imaging and capturing data of 2000 is to reduce the administrative and high staffing facilities to handle the huge volumes of questionnaires.
Long before, U.S. census was taken in door-to-door basis. But in 1960 this kind of census is officially documented as insufficient for its nation’s fast growing population. After that, they have decided to use mail as an easy way in distributing forms for the people.
The key members of a census team who are essential for carrying out the census are the administrators, enumerators, statisticians, and demographers. They all work towards the same goal – to make sure every member of the population is counted in.
Most populated countries
According to the most recent surveys and official records, the ten most populated countries in the world and their population are as follows:
- China (1,306,313,800)
- India (1,080,264,400)
- USA (295,734,100)
- Indonesia (241,973,900)
- Brazil (186,112,800)
- Pakistan (162,419,900)
- Bangladesh (144,319,600)
- Russia (143,420,300)
- Nigeria (128,772,000)
- Japan (127,430,000)