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World Population Day

Jul 12, 2010, 2:13 PM

This year's celebration of World Population Day highlights the importance of data for development. The focus is on the 2010 round of the population and housing census in many countries around the world, data analysis for development and UNFPA's lead role in population and development.

The Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme established World Population Day in 1989, to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues. It was an outgrowth of the interest generated by the Day of Five Billion, which was observed on 11th July 1987.

People around the world observe World Population Day in different ways. Many UNFPA country offices and other institutions mark the day with celebrations, poster or essay contests, sports events, concerts or other activities, to bring attention to population issues.

Counting everyone is an integral part of ensuring that we take everyone into account. Good demographic data is critical for planning schools, health systems and public transportation, designing policies based on future population projections, and monitoring the effectiveness of service delivery and much more.

Reliable data makes a difference, and the key is to collect, analyse and disseminate data in a way that drives good decision-making process. This year, some 60 countries are collecting data and counting people as part of the 2010 census process.  A census is the only statistical operation that covers the whole population and all areas of a country.  UNFPA – the United Nations Population Fund - and other partners are supporting this massive effort in many parts of the world. 

Access to good data is a component of good governance, transparency and accountability.  Population data helps decision-makers to make informed decisions about policies and programmes to reduce poverty and hunger, and advance education, health and gender equality. 

Solid data is also needed to effectively respond to humanitarian crises. Data that is sorted by gender and age can foster increased responsiveness by national decision-makers to the rights and needs of women and youth, and help build a more equitable and prosperous society.

On this World Population Day, we wish to reiterate the call to make each and every person count.  Only by considering the needs of all peoples can we achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

This year’s theme "Everyone Counts", highlights the compelling stories that numbers tell us about people.

This data is crucial as we strive for universal access to education, HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, and reproductive health and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

Population dynamics - including growth rates, age structure, fertility and mortality, migration, and more - influence every aspect of human, social and economic development. The results of the current round of censuses will be used in statistical systems and policies and programmes for years to come.

On this World Population Day, we emphasise the right of everyone to be counted especially women, girls, the poor and the marginalised. Censuses and population data play a critical role in development and humanitarian response and recovery.

With quality data, we can better track and make greater progress to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and promote and protect the dignity and human rights of all people.