GDEST 2008 Conference Sessions
Theme 1 - Observing Africa
Development of an International Pop@Risk Database
Joshua Comenetz, Census Bureau, USA
The U.S. Census Bureau has a long history of producing annual population estimates by age and sex for every country in the world at the first (province/state) and in some cases second or lower administrative levels. Through the populations at risk (Pop@Risk) effort, the Census Bureau plans to improve access to current international geo-demographic data with the goal of contributing to response to natural disasters and human-induced crises, in Africa and worldwide.
Over the past decade, digital demographic data, boundary maps in GIS formats, and satellite images have become increasingly available. Advances in data accuracy and spatial precision can be achieved by incorporating census data and digital base maps at lower administrative levels, application of improved subnational demographic projection methods, and through use of satellite images to map populated places. Image data can also assist in developing demographic estimates for countries that have no recent census data or limit access to demographic data. This would be of particular value in much of Africa, where population changes and redistribution mean that census results become outdated rapidly. Provided via an internet portal, the Pop@Risk database could be used to improve the efficiency of response to climatic disasters, famines, and other natural or human-induced crises through provision of demographic estimates that are more geographically and temporally accurate than has previously been possible.