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International Data Base

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. What is the International Data Base?
  2. What types of data are available?
  3. How can I download the entire data set?
  4. What demographic resources are unique to the IDB?
  5. How do I find information on fertility, mortality, or migration?
  6. How do I find information about a country's age-sex structure?
  7. How do I find population information on a specific country?
  8. How do I find population information for a region?
  9. How are the IDB's estimates and projections calculated?
  10. Who uses the IDB?
  11. Where can I find international information not available from the IDB, such as historical censuses, or the HIV/AIDS pandemic?
  12. If I have additional questions/comments/suggestions, how do I contact the Census Bureau?
  13. Is there a list of Release Notes available?

1. What is the International Data Base?

The International Data Base (IDB) offers a variety of demographic indicators for countries and areas of the world with a population of 5,000 or more. The IDB has provided access to demographic data for over 25 years to governments, academics, other organizations, and the public. It is funded by organizations that sponsor the research of the Census Bureau's International Programs Center for Demographic and Economic Studies.


2. What types of data are available?

The IDB provides many types of demographic data, including:

· Estimates and projections of:
   o Birth, death, and growth rates, migration rates, infant mortality, and life expectancy
   o Fertility rates
   o Total population and population by age and sex


3. How can I download the entire data set?

The following ZIP file contains the complete data set which has currently been released and is used by the International Data Base tool.
IDB_DataSet.zip (5 MB).


4. What demographic resources are unique to the IDB?

The demographic estimates and projections found in the International Data Base are the result of over 30 years of analysis of census, survey, vital statistics, and other data by Census Bureau demographers. The IDB differs from some other online resources in several ways. First, the estimates and projections of vital rates, vital events, and midyear population presented are based on careful evaluation of census and survey results and, in part because of this evaluation process and associated estimation processes, represent a set of consistent estimates and projections of population, fertility, mortality, and international migration. The IDB is not simply a compilation of estimates taken from other sources. Second, estimates from original sources are accurately dated, and derived estimates of fertility and mortality available from the IDB reflect that dating. Third, the projections are generated using the Census Bureau's Rural/Urban Projection (RUP) program, which projects population, by single years of age, for each calendar year beyond a base year. This means IDB fertility and mortality estimates pertain to specific years rather than being average values for 5-year periods. It also means that the impact of natural disasters, civil conflicts, and changes in the health climate in a country can be reflected in year-specific estimates of fertility, mortality, and migration found in the IDB. Finally, the data are accessible in multiple ways to meet different user needs.


5. How do I find information on fertility, mortality, or migration?

The Data Access page allows you to get information on these topics by country or region. First, select whether you want data for countries or by regions. For country tables, select the "Country" tab, then the country and year(s) and press the "Submit" button. On the resulting page, select the "Tables" tab, select the table you're interested in, then click the "Submit" button to retrieve the data.

If you want data by region, on the Data Access page go to the "Region" tab. Select one or more countries or regions, the year(s) and how you would like the data aggregated then press the "Submit" button. Then select the table you want and press the "Submit" button.

Additional help can be found on our IDB Help page. However, for additional guidance, please call the Census Call Center at 1-800-923-8282 (toll free) or visit ask.census.gov.


6. How do I find information about a country's age-sex structure?

The Data Access page allows you to get information on these topics by country or region. First, select whether you want data for countries or by regions. For country tables, select the country and year(s). On the resulting page, select the "Tables" tab, then the table "Midyear Population by Age and Sex," then click the "Submit" button to retrieve the data.

If you want data by region, on the Data Access page go to the "Region" tab. Select one or more countries or regions, the year(s) and how you would like the data aggregated then press the "Submit" button. On the resulting page, select the "Table" tab, then the table "Midyear Population, by Age and Sex," then click the "Submit" button to retrieve the data.

Additional help can be found on our IDB Help page. However, for additional guidance, please call the Census Call Center at 1-800-923-8282 (toll free) or visit ask.census.gov.

Population Pyramids
From the Data Access page select the "Country" tab, then the country and year(s) of interest and press the "Submit" button. Go to the "Population Pyramids" tab and you will see the dynamic pyramid followed by the pyramid(s) for the years you selected. You can select a different country and/or year(s) and click the "Submit" button to see the resulting pyramids.

For guidance, please visit ask.census.gov or call the Census Call Center at 1-800-923-8282 (toll free).


7. How do I find population information on a specific country?

From the Data Access page you can select the "Country" tab to to access summary demographic data, tables, population pyramids and source information.


8. How do I find population information for a region?

The IDB provides population information on a variety of topics for different regions of the world and allows the user to create his or her own country groupings.

If you want data by region, on the Data Access page go to the "Region" tab. Select one or more countries or regions, the year(s) and how you would like the data aggregated then press the "Submit" button. You can then select the desired table and press "Submit" to get the results.

Additional help can be found on our IDB Help page. However, for additional guidance, please call the Census Call Center at 1-800-923-8282 (toll free) or visit ask.census.gov.


9. How are the IDB's estimates and projections calculated?

The IDB's estimates and projections are prepared by Census Bureau demographers, who review a wide range of data, including censuses, surveys, and vital statistics provided by National Statistics Offices, and data on international migration and refugee movements. We also consider other information, such as public health efforts, socio-political circumstances, and historical events such as natural disasters and conflict.

For additional information, please see our Population Estimates and Projections Methodology page.


10. Who uses the IDB?

Students and researchers, international organizations and governments, planners and businesses, and the public use the data to make informed decisions. The IDB is often cited in journal articles, reports, and other studies and is routinely used as a teaching resource. The IDB is a very popular demographic resource, receiving hundreds of thousands of data queries each month.


11. Where can I find international information not available from the IDB, such as historical censuses, or the HIV/AIDS pandemic?

The Census Bureau library has an extensive collection of international statistical publications that may address your specific questions. The library is located in Suitland, MD and is open to the public. If you are interested in visiting our library, please contact (301) 763-1351. The Census Call Center 1-800-923-8282 (toll free) may be able to suggest additional resources.

Information about additional products and services - including publications on the HIV/AIDS pandemic, global population change, and aging, as well as our technical assistance and training services relating to census and survey data collection and processing, and our software products - is available from the International Programs page.


12. If I have additional questions/comments/suggestions, how do I contact the Census Bureau?

Please visit ask.census.gov or call the Census Call Center at 1-800-923-8282 (toll free)..


13. Is there a list of Release Notes available?

The Release Notes are available for each Data Release by following this link.



Source: U.S. Census Bureau | International Programs | International Data Base   Revised:December 19, 2013   Version: Data:12.0625 Code:12.0321