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The U.S. Census Bureau has produced four online courses that guide developing countries on how to plan and conduct a national census. These courses were developed by the Census Bureau's International Programs Center for Technical Assistance and sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development, with the goal of supporting democracy and development.
The four new courses — "Planning and Managing a Census," "Introduction to Census Cartography," "Census Questionnaire Content and Design" and "Census Field Operations" — are the first part of a larger series titled "Steps of a Census." In the coming months, the Census Bureau plans to release courses covering the topics of data processing, dissemination, and analysis and evaluation.
"A national census is a large project with many interdependent activities," said Mitali Sen, chief of the Census Bureau's Technical Assistance and Capacity Building Branch. "These courses will give staff in a country's national statistical office a clear understanding of how one set of tasks impacts other activities. The goal is to make these statistical offices self-sufficient and capable of producing quality data to support economic development and growth."
The courses contribute to the Census Bureau's mission of sharing its expertise globally and toward the goal of building statistical capacity in developing countries. Over the past six decades, the Census Bureau has worked in more than 100 countries, and more than 10,000 individuals from developing countries have participated in its training programs. Today, the Census Bureau's international statistical capacity building work is focused largely on countries in Africa and South Asia.
"In the United States, we know that quality statistical information helps drive policy decisions and economic growth, and it is the bedrock of our democracy," said Thomas Mesenbourg, the Census Bureau's senior adviser. "Statistics are essential to every nation. All countries need to know who they are and how to track the progress of their societies."
The availability of the e-learning packages coincides with the 2013 International Year of Statistics, a worldwide celebration and recognition of the contributions of statistical science. More information on the Census Bureau's International Programs can be found at <http://www.census.gov/population/international/>.