Appel à contributions

Uses of census data in Europe in a comparative perspective

A seminar in Barcelona (9-11 June 2011)

Jointly organized by:

- Centre d’Estudis Demogràfics (CED), Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (Spain)

- Institut d’Etudes Démographiques de l’Université de Bordeaux (IEDUB, France)

- Institut National d’Etudes Démographiques (INED, France)

- Observatoire démographique Européen (ODE, France)


Census data are known to provide a reliable statistical profile of population at national, regional and local levels. They are used in a large array of fields and social sciences, demography, economy, geography, history, etc. They also offer a sound basis for many public policies, based on the quantitative knowledge of the population to be served and equipped. Census is insuperable if subgroups are to be targeted, because of their vulnerability.

For long, use of this heavy material was limited to tables produced by statistical institutes. With the development of microdata, considerable flexibility has been added to the capacity of classical censuses. The complementary nature with specific surveys becomes more evident: huge samples and simple questions on one side, deeper observation on small numbers on the other one.

It is time for an evaluation of potentialities opened by census microdata in Europe, the more so as access has become easy through IECM (Integrated European Census Microdata,, while census is more and more put in question as a too costly operation of data collection. Will censuses remain only for historians in not so far a future?

The seminar will be opened to a variety of themes

1. Coverage, quality and international comparability of census data
Are census data reliable in each country and comparable from a country to the other? Do they perform better on these points than other data sources, like surveys or administrative data? Does ready-made harmonization in IECM increase the comparability of the material?
2. Comparability through time, follow ups, cohorts and quasi cohorts
Are census data in each country equally reliable and comparable through time? Can it be used to draw time trends? Is it possible to follow individuals through time? Is cohort analysis possible?
3. Microdata, macrodata and multilevel approaches
Is census microdata just convenient material to build tables à la carte or does it open to more sophisticated analysis, despite the paucity and rusticity of variables included? Is it a good material to combine micro and macro levels in an integrated approach?
4. The future of census data in Europe
Procedures of data collection are rapidly changing in Europe towards more use of registers or more radical innovation. How will the traditional forces (and possible weaknesses) of census data resist to this trend? How will international comparability perform in this evolving context?
5. Any relevant topic exemplified by case studies
Keywords should be reliability, comparability, statistical analysis, provided census material is at the basis of empirical research.
One page proposals are welcome till 30 April 2011 at .