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Undercount in China's 2000 Census in Comparative Perspective

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionAnderson, Barbara A. 2004. "Undercount in China's 2000 Census in Comparative Perspective." PSC Research Report No. 04-565. September 2004.

There was concern after the 1995 Mid-Censal Survey of China about an undercount, especially of young men. This concern also was raised about the 2000 Census of China. With a history of high-quality demographic data and a reputation for accurate age reporting some have wondered what happened since 1990 to data quality in China.

Undercount in China increased between 1990 and 1995 and decreased between 1995 and 2000. The pattern of undercount by age and sex resembles that found in many other countries. Increased geographic mobility in China in the 1990s is probably the main reason for the increase in the undercount between 1990 and 1995, and steps taken after 1995 likely led to the decrease in the undercount between 1995 and 2000, although the undercount in 2000 was greater than that in 1990. Even if sources of the undercount in China are understood better than in the past, there are substantial challenges in deciding what to do to further decrease or compensate for this undercount.

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