Skip Navigation Links and Jump to Page Content  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
Business Reference Services (Science, Technology, and Business Division)
  Home >> Locating Census Data >> International Data

Locating International Census Data

Compiled by Angela S. Wilson
Business Reference Services. Science, Technology, & Business Division

The following selected entries offer suggestions for locating international census publications at the Library of Congress and other institutions. Included are web sites, guides, Library of Congress call numbers, and location information for identifying census publications in electronic, print, and microfiche formats.

Jump to: Electronic Resources | Publications in The Library of Congress | Historical International Census Data

National censuses vary from country to country in the priority given to national enumeration, in the type and level of data they contain, in geographical coverage, in the terminology and methodologies used, in how the data is presented, and in how often they are conducted, if at all. As a result, census publications are sometimes difficult to find and to use.

National censuses are collected, published and disseminated primarily by each country's census or national statistical office (NSO) or its equivalent. Census data are published in each country's vernacular, and as appropriate, many offer English as well as other language versions.

Statistical offices of international agencies (e.g. United Nations, statistical organizations for member states like the ASEAN, Eurostat, and OECD), also publish statistical data including population figures. The most consistent data in terms of format and frequency, whether online or in print are usually generated from them.

When researching international census data online, expect differences in data access, i.e., what's free, fee-based, browse only, downloadable, etc. Have patience when maneuvering through a statistical web site because it may take several links to obtain the data you want.

Current estimates and projection figures update official census year data. These data are readily available in the current statistics sections of electronic resources, in serials that update printed publications, and are usually the reference figures found in statistical compendia .

Electronic resources provide quick access to current and some historical data. Among the better sites for international census data are those maintained by the census or NSOs of each country, by international organizations, by research organizations, or by university library research centers. These sites usually contain a combination of resources, links to data sites, and actual census data.

Top of Page Back to Top

Electronic Resources

Consult the following web sites to locate the most current international demographic data.

Censuses in the World External Link

Provides information on how to locate the latest information on planning activities for national censuses.

PopNet. Population Reference Bureau External Link  

Billed as the source for global population information, try here first to locate the latest international census data available online. Maintained by the Population Reference Bureau in the District of Columbia, this online "annotated bibliography" provides links to global population information by allowing you to search comprehensive population-related web sites by topic or keyword, by organization, or through PopNet's world regions map. Each annotation provides a description of the statistical data to be found at each web site, whether the site is available in English, and hot links you directly to the site. It's newsletter summarizes national censuses.

World Population Information. International Programs Center. U.S. Bureau of the Census  

Links to the Bureau's latest world population profile, world population data from 1950 to 2050, historical estimates for years up to 1950, up to the second world population and vital events figures, and their International Database . A computerized database of statistical tables of demographic and socioeconomic data for 227 countries and areas of the world.

National Statistical Offices of Countries
Many international data web sites offer links to national statistical offices and international statistical agencies. For starters, try:

U.S. Bureau the Census
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

2010 United Nations Round of Population and Housing Censuses  External Link  

This page also includes a link External Link to a list of countries, with dates, that have conducted or are planning to conduct a population and housing census.

Infonation. United Nations. External Link

Allows you to view and compare up-to-date statistical data for member states of the UN.

UN-I-QUE (UN Info Quest) United Nations External Link

A ready reference file created by the Dag Hammarskjold Library to respond to frequently asked questions. It provides quick access to document symbols and sales numbers for UN materials from 1946 forward on the latest information on population planning, conference documents, interim reports, etc.

United Nations Population Information Network (POPIN) External Link  

A network of population institutions organized to identify, establish, strengthen, and coordinate standards for facilitating the dissemination of population information at the international, regional, and national levels. Provides a variety of data including world population trends, data at a glance via statistical tables, recent population activities, and an electronic library.

Statistical Resources on the Web: Demographics and Housing. (University of Michigan Documents Center) External Link

Provides links to international as well as US census data. Includes statistical associations, central statistical offices, research organizations, and more.

Top of Page Back to Top

Locating International Census Publications in The Library of Congress

With some exceptions, international census publications received in The Library of Congress are housed in the general collections. The most recent censuses might also be housed in the appropriate area studies reading room, i.e., African and Middle Eastern, Asian, European, or Hispanic. Reading room staff should be consulted regarding the availability of census publications in their respective custodial divisions. The Library of Congress online catalog can be used to determine international census publications received in The Library of Congress. Although there are numerous ways to search, the suggested Library of Congress subject headings listed below usually yield good results. Also consult the guides that follow to determine background information and official titles and census year dates on available censuses for a country.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Using the Library of Congress subject headings below will yield listings of Library of Congress holdings of official census publications for each country in ascending order, i.e., from the earliest census to the most recent.

For official census year publications, browse:

[name of country]. Census 
    For example: Great Britain. Census or

[name of country]. Census, [year]
    For example: Great Britain. Census, 1991

Using the Library of Congress subject headings listed below will yield Library of Congress holdings of titles of publications that contain information on population history, methodology, treatises, bibliographies, etc.

For information on population data in general including history and statistics

[name of country]--Population
    For example: Great Britain--Population or

[name of country]--Population--Statistics
    For example: Great Britain--Population--Statistics

Guides to Printed Census Sources

Handbook of National Population Censuses: Latin America & the Caribbean, North America and the Oceania.
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1983. 711 p.
LC Call Number: HA36.G67 1983
LC Catalog Record: 82009390

Handbook of National Population Censuses: Africa and Asia.
New York : Greenwood Press, 1986. 1032 p.
LC Call Number: HA37.A33 D65 1986
LC Catalog Record: 85031712

Handbook of National Population Censuses: Europe.
New York : Greenwood Press, 1992. 544 p.
LC Call Number: HA37.E93 G69 1992
LC Catalog Record: 91039111

Use the above guides to determine titles of specific official census publications in each country and for additional information on when censuses were conducted, what information was included in the census, when censuses were not conducted, etc.

Guides to Microfilm Census Sources

A guide to the microfilm edition of International population census 1945-1967 : bibliography and reel index. Woodbridge, Conn. : Research Publications, 1979. Series I. 595 p.
LC Call Number: Z7164.D3R47 1979
LC Catalog Record: 79016869

International population census publications, Series II, pre-1945. Guide to the microfilm edition edited by Diane M. Del Cervo. Woodbridge, CT : Research Publications, 1984. 454 p.
LC Call Number: Z7164.D3I59
LC Catalog Record: 85123827

International population census publications. Printed reel guide; Series III, covering post 1967.
LC Call Number: MicRR Guide #187

Use the above guides to determine titles of official census publications that are held in the Microform Reading Room Collection, LM139, Jefferson Building. The collection is based on the International population census bibliography and its supplement by the Population Research Center at the University of Texas. The collection is arranged into five geographic areas: Asia (including the Middle East); Europe; Latin America (including Mexico); North America; and Oceania.

CIS national statistical compendiums also known as Current National Statistical Compendiums. Microform. [Rockville, MD : Congressional Information Service.
LC Call Number: Microfiche (o) 92/6018
LC Catalog Record: sf 92094680

A microfiche program begun by Greenwood Press and continued by Congressional Information Service of national statistical summary data on foreign countries covering social, economic, and demographic data. A guide to this collection is also available, Microfiche #: (o) 92/6018. This microfiche collection is located in the Microform Reading Room, LM139, Jefferson Building.

International Statistical Compendia Containing Population Figures

CIA World Factbook
LC Call Number: G122.U56a 1999

Population figures give estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau based on statistics from population censuses, vital statistics registration systems, or sample surveys pertaining to recent past and assumptions for future trends.

Country Profiles. Economist Intelligence Unit (Great Britain).

Provides analysis of historical, political, infrastructural, and economic trends for approximately 200 countries. Revised and updated annually, summary population data are included. A checklist to The Library of Congress holdings of this collection is available at the reference desk in the Business Reference Section, Science, Technology and Business Division, 5th Floor, Adams Building. A search of the Library of Congress online catalog using the Library of Congress subject heading [name of country]. Economic conditions. Periodicals [For example: France--Economic conditions--Periodicals] will also yield country profile listings and related materials by the EIU as well as other publishers.

Country Reports, published quarterly in print, are companion publications to the country profiles and contain current information on countries. The Library of Congress holdings can be determined by searching The Library of Congress online catalog using a title search of "country report [name of country]" [For example: Country report. France.] Monthly updates, and subscription information for country profiles, country reports, and other publications are issued by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Demographic Yearbook. United Nations.
LC Call Number: HA17.D45 1997

Central source for demographic data for over 200 countries. Focuses on population changes throughout the world and also provides some vital statistics data.

Gale Country & World Rankings Reporter.
LC Call Number: HA154.G35 1997

"Demographics" Section contains data from the U.S. Census Bureau's International Database.

International Marketing Data & Statistics
LC Call Number: HA42.I56 1997 and
European Marketing Data & Statistics
LC Call Number: HA1107.E87 2000 Both titles give an array of population statistics taken from the latest official census year that population figures were taken for each country.

International statistical abstracts can be found in the Business Reference Section of the Science, Technology Business Division, 5th Floor, Adams Building. They are the latest editions of statistical abstracts for foreign countries arranged roughly alphabetical on open shelves in the reading room. These abstracts are published primarily by the national statistical office or its equivalent of each country. Each abstract covers a variety of subjects including population, social, economic, and political data. Using The Library of Congress subject heading "[name of country].Statistics .Periodicals" when searching The Library of Congress online catalog will yield listings that include statistical abstracts for the country. Appendix 1 of the Statistical Abstract of the U.S. contains the "Guide to Foreign Statistical Abstracts"--a bibliography of recent statistical abstracts for member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Slovakia, and Russia.

Statistical Yearbook. United Nations.
LC Call Number: HA12.5.U63 1996
Will also find some demographic data here as well. It is updated by the Monthly Bulletin of Statistics.

Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations.
LC Call Number: G63.W67 1998
The population data are the latest official census figures for each country.

Serial Publications

Monthly Bulletin of Statistics. United Nations.
LC Call Number: HC57.U66
Available on online.

Monthly update to the Statistical Yearbook. Provides monthly statistics for most current 18 months, annually for last 7 years for more than 200 countries. Each issue usually focuses on a particular topic and includes population of capital cities and cities of 100,000 or more and other selected data.
The Library of Congress Holdings: Began 1947 and bound through 1996; 1997 to present is unbound and available in the Newspaper and Current Periodicals Reading Room, LM133, Madison Building.

Population and Vital Statistics Report. United Nations.
LC Call Number: HA13.U5
Available online

Quarterly journal gives estimates of world and regional population as well as estimates for 218 countries. Information is derived from each country's latest national population census, and from nationally representative statistics on birth and mortality.
The Library of Congress Holdings: Began 1949 and bound through 1995; unbound issues: 1996 (#1 & 3); 1997 (#2,3,4); 1998 (#1-4); 1999 (#1, 4)--available in the Newspaper and Current Periodicals Reading Room, LM133, Madison Building.

Top of Page Back to Top

Historical International Census Publications

The following titles are from the Census Library Project initiated in the Library of Congress in the fall of 1940 as a cooperative project of the Bureau of the Census and the Library of Congress. Its function was to compile analytical bibliographies to facilitate the use of census and vital statistics publications for all countries that were available in The Library of Congress collections. These bibliographies are useful in locating early census publications because The Library of Congress call numbers are included along with additional information about each census.

Bibliography of recent official demographic statistics.
Bibliographie des publications officielles recentes presentant des statistiques demographiques
. UN Dept. of Economic Affairs.
LC Call Number: JX1977.A2 ST/STAT/ser.M/18 1954

General censuses and vital statistics in the Americas; an annotated bibliography of the historical censuses and current vital statistics of the 21 american republics, the American sections of the British Commonwealth of Nations, the American colonies of Denmark, France, and the Netherlands, and the American territories and possessions of the United States.
LC Call Number: Z7553.C3U45 1974

National censuses and vital statistics of Europe, 1918-1939.
LC Call Number: Z7553.C3U46 1948 (also 1967 and 1969 editions)

National censuses and vital statistics of Europe, 1940-1948.
LC Call Number: Z7553.C3U46 Supplement

1948 National censuses and vital statistics in France between two world
wars, 1921-1942; a preliminary bibliography
LC Call Number: Z7554.F7U5

National censuses and vital statistics in Germany after the first World
LC Call Number: Z7554.G3U5 1946

National censuses and vital statistics in Italy since the first
world war, 1921-1944; a preliminary bibliography
LC Call Number: Z7554.18U5

Population censuses and other official demographic statistics of Africa,
not including British Africa
LC Call Number: Z7554.A34 U5 1950

Population censuses and other official demographic statistics of
British Africa; an annotated bibliography
LC Call Number: Z7554.A35U5 1950

Recent censuses in European countries; a preliminary list.
LC Call Number: Z7553.C3U5 1942

Statistical bulletins; an annotated bibliography of the general
statistical bulletins of major political subdivisions of the world.

LC Call Number: Z7552.U64

1954 Statistical yearbooks; an annotated bibliography of the general
statistical yearbooks of major political subdivisions of the world
LC Call Number: Z7552.U65 1953

Last updated: 10/29/2015

Top of Page Top of Page
  Home >> Locating Census Data >> International Data
  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
  May 10, 2016
Legal | External Link Disclaimer

Contact Us:  
Ask a Librarian