Technical Notes

This issue of The State of World Population report continues the revised format for its statistical tables. The International Conference on Population and Development adopted a variety of quantitative and qualitative goals for population and development efforts during the next 20 years. The primary quantitative goals in the areas of mortality reduction, access to education and access to reproductive health services (including family planning) are, therefore, given special attention in our presentations. Relevant indicators are reported to help track the processes which generate these vital outcomes. As the follow-up to the ICPD stimulates the development of improved monitoring systems and better process measures, different measures will be included periodically in The State of World Population report for various concerns. (Improved monitoring of the resources being made available by governments, non-governmental organizations and through the private sector for implementation of the Programme of Action should also allow better periodic reporting of expenditures and resource mobilization efforts in the future.) The State of World Population report will serve as a reference source for evaluating on-going progress towards the attainment of ICPD goals. The sources for the indicators and their rationale for selection follow, by category.

Monitoring ICPD Goals

Indicators of mortality

Infant mortality, Male and Female Life Expectancy at Birth: Source: United Nations Population Division, World Population Prospects: the 1994 Revision (United Nations publication). These indicators are measures of mortality levels, respectively, in the first year of life (which is most sensitive to development levels) and over the entire life span.

Maternal Mortality Ratio: Source: UNICEF/World Health Organization working group analysis (1996). This indicator is a measure of the level of women's mortality related to pregnancy and delivery. It presents the number of deaths to women per 100,000 live births which result from conditions related to pregnancy, delivery and related complications. Previous editions of The State of World Population report and reports of UNICEF and WHO used estimates of this quantity based on a combination of national, small area and clinical data which were subject to considerable uncertainty. New estimates have been produced based on analyses which take account of the quality and availability of data which use a statistical model (which takes into account regional variation, data types and the proportions of births with a trained attendant) in many countries where civil registration systems do not provide adequate coverage. Precision is difficult, though relative magnitudes are informative. Estimates below 50 are not rounded; those 50–100 are rounded to the nearest 5; 100–1000, to the nearest 10; and, above 1000, to the nearest 100. Most estimates are for around the year 1990.

Indicators of education

Male and female gross primary enrolment ratios, per cent reaching final grade of primary education, male and female gross secondary enrolment ratios, male and female adult illiteracy: Source: UNESCO, Trends and Projections of Enrolment by Level of Education and by Age, 1960–2025 (as assessed in 1993), 1993; World Education Report 1993, 1993. Gross enrolment ratios indicate the number of students enrolled in a level in the education system per 100 individuals in the population who are in the age group appropriate to that level. It does not correct for individuals who are older than the level-appropriate age due to late starts, interrupted schooling or grade repetition. Illiteracy definitions are subject to variation in different countries; three widely accepted definitions are in use. Insofar as possible, data refer to the proportion who cannot, with understanding, both read and write a short simple statement on everyday life. Adult illiteracy (illiteracy rates for persons above 15 years of age) reflects both recent levels of educational enrolment and the history of past education attainment.

Indicators of reproductive health

Contraceptive access/knowledge: Source: United Nations Population Division. These indicators are derived from sample survey reports and estimate the proportion of women having knowledge of a method of family planning and knowing a source from which contraceptives can be obtained. All contraceptive methods (medical, barrier, natural and traditional) are included in the first indicator; source information is more relevant to medical and barrier contraceptives and to modern periodic abstinence methods. These numbers are generally but not completely comparable across countries due to variation in populations surveyed by age (15–49 year old women being most common) and marital status (e.g., currently or ever married women; or, all women) and in the timing of the surveys. Most of the data were collected during 1987–1994.

Births per 1,000 women aged 15-19: Source: United Nations Population Division, World Population Prospects: The 1994 Revision, (United Nations publication). This is an indicator of the number of births in a single year per 1,000 women aged 15–19. It is an indicator of the burden of fertility on young women. Since it is an annual level summed over all women in the age cohort, it does not reflect fully the level of fertility for women during their youth. Since it indicates the annual average number of births per woman per year, it could be multiplied by five to approximate the number of births to 1,000 young women during their late teen years. The measure does not indicate the full dimensions of teen pregnancy as only live births are included in the numerator. Pregnancy wastage due to stillbirths and spontaneous or induced abortion are not reflected in the indicator.

Other health indicators

Access to basic care: Source: The World Bank, 1995,The World Tables 1995, derived from World Health Organization sources. This indicator measures the proportion of the population who can reach local health services by the usual means of transportation within one hour. It is sensitive to the distribution of services in relation to population (including urban concentration).

Births with trained attendants: Source: UNICEF/WHO working group adjustment of estimates originally published in Coverage of Maternity Care: A Tabulation of Available Information, Third Edition, World Health Organization, 1993. Some estimates differ from prior publications. This indicator presents estimates, based on national reports, of the proportion of births attended by a doctor, a registered nurse or midwife or a trained midwife or traditional birth attendant. Data are from the period 1985–1993.

Demographic, social and economic indicators

Total population 1995, Projected population 2025, Average annual population growth rate for 1995–2000: Source: United Nations Population Division, World Population Prospects: The 1994 Revision (United Nations publication). These indicators present the size, projected future size and current period annual growth of national populations. Annual growth rates reflect levels of fertility, mortality and migration.

Percent urban, urban growth rates: Source: United Nations Population Division, World Urbanization Prospects: The 1994 Revision, (United Nations publication). These indicators reflect the proportion of the national population living in urban areas and the growth rate in urban areas projected for the period 1995–2000.

Agricultural population per hectare of arable land: Sources: (agricultural population) FAO, The State of Food and Agriculture 1993, 1994 ; (arable land) FAO, Production Yearbook, 1991, 1992. This indicator relates the size of the agricultural population to the land suitable for agricultural production. It is responsive to changes in both the structure of national economies (proportions of the workforce in agriculture) and in technologies for land development. High values can be related to stress on land productivity and to fragmentation of land holdings. However, the measure is also sensitive to differing development levels and land use policies.

Total fertility rate (period: 1995–2000): Source: United Nations Population Division, World Population Prospects: The 1994 Revision (United Nations publication). This measure indicates the number of children a woman would have during her reproductive years if in each five-year age interval from ages 15–49 she had the number of children that women of that age currently have in the population as a whole. The data refer to the average projected for the period 1995–2000. Some countries may reach the projected level at different points within the period. This projection is based on data available as of 1993; new projections will be prepared in 1996, taking account of more recent data.

Contraceptive prevalence: Source: United Nations Population Division, World Population Monitoring 1996: Selected Aspects of Reproductive Health (draft, United Nations publication, ESA/P/WP.131). This indicator is derived from sample survey reports and estimates the proportion of married women (including women in consensual unions) currently using, respectively, any method or modern methods of contraception. Modern or clinic and supply methods include male and female sterilization, IUD, the pill, injectables, hormonal implants, condoms and female barrier methods. These numbers are roughly but not completely comparable across countries due to variation in populations surveyed by age (15–49-year-old women being most common; slightly more than half of the database), in the timing of the surveys, and in the details of the questions. All of the data were collected 1975 or later. The most recent survey data available are cited; nearly 80 per cent of the data refer to the period 1987–1994.

Gross Domestic Product per capita: Source: The World Bank,World Tables 1995, 1995. This indicator measures the total output of goods and services for final use produced by residents and non-residents, regardless of allocation to domestic and foreign claims, in relation to the size of the population. As such, it is a an indicator of the economic productivity of a nation. It differs from Gross National Product by not adjusting for income received from abroad for labour and capital by residents, for similar payments to non-residents, and by not incorporating various technical adjustments including those related to exchange rate changes over time. This measure does not take into account the differing purchasing power of currencies. Future editions of The State of World Population report may include purchasing power parity adjustments of "real GDP" as the data become available.

Central government expenditures on education and health: Source: The World Bank,World Tables 1995, 1995. These indicators reflect the priority afforded to education and health sectors by a nation through the proportion of government expenditures dedicated to them. They are not sensitive to differences in allocations within sectors, e.g. primary education or health services in relation to other levels, which vary considerably. Direct comparability is complicated by the different administrative and budgetary responsibilities allocated to central governments in relation to local governments, and to the varying roles of the private and public sectors.

External assistance for population: Source: UNFPA, Global Population Assistance Report 1993, 1995. This figure provides the amount of external assistance expended in the year 1992 for population activities in each country. External funds are disbursed through multilateral and bilateral assistance agencies and by non-governmental organizations. Donor countries are indicated by their contributions being placed in parentheses. Future editions of this report will provide other indicators to better provide a basis for comparing and evaluating resource flows in support of population and reproductive health programmes from various national and international sources. Reported regional totals include both country-level projects (in table) and regional activities (not elsewhere in table). Some less populous recipient countries are also not reported here.

Under-5 mortality: Source: The World Bank, World Tables 1995 , 1995, based on information from UNICEF. This indicator relates to the incidence of mortality to infants and young children. It reflects, therefore, the impact of diseases and other causes of death on infants, toddlers and young children. More standard demographic measures are infant mortality and 1–4 year of age mortality rates, which reflect differing causes of and frequency of mortality in these ages. The measure is, therefore, more sensitive than infant mortality to the burden of childhood diseases including those preventable by improved nutrition and by immunization programmes. Under-5 mortality is expressed as deaths to children under 5 per 1,000 live births in a given year.

Per capita energy consumption: Source: The World Bank, World Tables 1995, 1995. This indicator reflects annual consumption of commercial primary energy (coal, lignite, petroleum, natural gas and hydro, nuclear and geothermal electricity) in kilograms of oil equivalent per capita. It reflects the level of industrial development, the structure of the economy and patterns of consumption. Changes over time can reflect changes in the level and balance of various economic activities and changes in the efficiency of energy use (including decreases or increases in wasteful consumption).

Access to safe water: Source: The World Bank, World Tables 1995 , 1995, based on WHO reports. This indicator reports the percentage of the population with reasonable access to a safe water supply (and includes treated surface waters or untreated but uncontaminated water such as that from springs, sanitary wells, and protected boreholes). It is related to exposure to health risks, including those resulting from improper sanitation.

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