International Census Resources

Have you ever wished that PolicyMap had data for other countries outside of the United States? We at PolicyMap also think this would be very neat! While our scope here at PolicyMap is currently limited to the United States, we have decided to dedicate a few blog posts to letting our users know about resources for gathering demographic data in other countries.

One place to start is actually within our own Census Bureau. According to the website of the U.S Census Bureau’s International Programs division, the Bureau actually does a fair amount of work abroad, including Capacity Building through Technical Assistance to more than 100 countries, Demographic and Socioeconomic Analysis, Global Population Mapping and Spatial Analysis, and maintaining an International Collection of the U.S. Census Bureau’s library.

smHaitiMapGiven the coming June 1st start of the hurricane season in the Northern Hemisphere, it seems worth also pointing out Demobase, an on-line international mapping tools meant to help with natural disaster planning. An interagency effort led by the U.S. Census Bureau, Demobase uses census data and satellite image analysis to create high-resolution gridded population maps for areas that experience a high frequency of hurricanes and other natural disasters. Demobase maps are currently available on-line for Haiti and Pakistan.

ipums-int-big2Another great resource for people interested in international census data is IPUMS International over at the Minnesota Population Center. Designed to facilitate cross-national research, IPUMS International is a project dedicated to collecting and preserving census data and harmonizing it across countries. They also strive to disseminate the data for free! In addition, IPUMS International also provides shapefiles to facilitate international data mapping, including a world file with country level boundaries and country level files with top administrative level boundaries (i.e. provinces in Argentina, regions in France, states in Brazil, etc.). For more information about the data, including how to extract it and some of its limitations, check out the project’s FAQ page.