Yolanda Siebenga, from Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI), began her talk with a discussion of the comparability of European Population Statistics. She noted that each national statistical bureau has different methods of collecting data and different definitions of basic statistical information (i.e. residence, marital status, household type). Also, though many of the countries try to standardize their census taking procedures in accordance with the recommendations of international organizations, difficulties can be encountered when individual countries question the complexity, costs, and intrusion on privacy. For example, in the Netherlands, there was a widespread refusal to complete the 1971 census, and no census has been taken since. Many countries, including the Netherlands, rely on population registers and sample surveys instead. There is hope, though. EUROSTAT, the statistical bureau of the European Communities, is playing a leading role in improving international comparison of European population statistics.
Ms. Siebenga then moved on to actual sources of statistical information, discussing:
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