The State of World Population 2001 The State of World Population 2001
Technical Notes

United Nations Population Fund
The statistical tables in this year's State of World Population report once again give special attention to indicators that can help track progress in meeting the quantitative and qualitative goals of the International Conference on Population and Development in the areas of mortality reduction, access to education, and access to reproductive health services, including family planning. This year we have added indicators of HIV/AIDS prevalence among young people, reflecting the heightened global priority to stemming the pandemic. Several changes have been made in other indicators, as noted below. Future reports will include different process measures when these become available, as ICPD follow-up efforts lead to improved monitoring systems. Improved monitoring of the financial contributions of governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector should also allow better future reporting of expenditures and resource mobilization for ICPD implementation efforts. 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. 2001. World Population Prospects: The 2000 Revision (Data diskettes, "Demographic Indicators 1950-2050"). New York: United Nations. 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 lifespan.

Maternal mortality ratio. Source: Kenneth Hill, Carla AbouZahr, & Tessa Wardlaw. "Estimates of Maternal Mortality for 1995." Bulletin of the World Health Organization 79(3): 182-193. Geneva: World Health Organization. These are consensus estimates of WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA. This indicator presents the number of deaths to women per 100,000 live births which result from conditions related to pregnancy, delivery and related complications. Precision is difficult, though relative magnitudes are informative. Estimates below 50 are not rounded; those 50-100 are rounded to the nearest 5; 100-1,000, to the nearest 10; and above 1,000, to the nearest 100. Several of the estimates differ from official government figures. The estimates are based on reported figures wherever possible, using approaches to improve the comparability of information from different sources. See the source for details on the origin of particular national estimates. Estimates and methodologies are regularly reviewed by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, academic institutions and other agencies and are revised where necessary, as part of the ongoing process of improving maternal mortality data. Because of changes in methods, prior estimates for 1990 levels may not be strictly comparable with these estimates.

Indicators of Education

Male and female gross primary enrolment ratios, male and female gross secondary enrolment ratios. Source: Spreadsheets provided by UNESCO; 1999 UNESCO Statistical Yearbook and World Education Report 2000. Paris: UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross enrolment ratios indicate the number of students enrolled in a level in the education system per 100 individuals in the appropriate age group. They do not correct for individuals who are older than the level-appropriate age due to late starts, interrupted schooling or grade repetition.

Male and female adult illiteracy. Source: Spreadsheets pro-vided by UNESCO (data from February 2000 assessment, to be published in the Education for All: Status and Trends series. Paris: UNESCO). Illiteracy definitions are subject to variation in different countries; three widely accepted definitions are in use. In so far as possible, data refer to the proportion who cannot, with understanding, both read and write a short simple statement on everyday life. Adult illiteracy (rates for persons above 15 years of age) reflects both recent levels of educational enrolment and past educational attainment. The above education indicators have been updated using the UN Population Division estimates from World Population Prospects: The 1998 Revision. Education data are most recent, ranging from 1982-1998.

Per cent reaching final grade of primary education. Source: Spreadsheets provided by UNESCO; data are published in the World Education Report series. Paris: UNESCO Institute for Statistics. This year we report the proportion reaching the final grade, rather than the proportion reaching grade 5. Data are most recent within the years 1980-1998. For countries with only one figure, sex disaggregation was unavailable.

Indicators of Reproductive Health

Contraceptive knowledge. Previously reported indicators on knowledge of contraceptive methods and sources have been dropped since most countries have reached high levels. Process indicators relating to availability of a range of methods will be reported in the future when databases are improved.

Births per 1,000 women aged 15-19. Source: United Nations Population Division. 2001. World Population Prospects: The 2000 Revision (Data diskettes, "Demographic Indicators 1950-2050"); and United Nations Population Division. 2000. Age Patterns of Fertility: The 2000 Revision. New York: United Nations. This 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, one could multiply it by five to approximate the number of births to 1,000 young women during their late teen years. The measure does not in-dicate the full dimensions of teen pregnancy as only live births are included in the numerator. Stillbirths and spontaneous or induced abortions are not reflected.

Contraceptive prevalence. Source: United Nations Population Division. 2001. Database on Contraceptive Use (updated March 2001). New York: United Nations. These data are de-rived from sample survey reports and estimate 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- to 49-year-old women being most common; nearly two thirds of the database), in the timing of the surveys, and in the details of the questions. All of the data were collected in 1972 or later. The most recent survey data available are cited; 80 per cent of the data refer to the period 1990-2000.

HIV prevalence rate, M/F, 15-24. Source: UNAIDS. 2000. Country HIV/AIDS information spreadsheet on UNAIDS website. These data derive from surveillance system reports and model estimates. Data provided for men and women aged 15-24 are, respectively, averages of High and Low Estimates for each country. The reference year is 1999. Male-female differences reflect physiological and social vulnerability to the illness and are affected by age differences between sexual partners.

Demographic, Social and Economic Indicators

Total population 2001, projected population 2050, average annual population growth rate for 2000-2005. Source: United Nations Population Division. 2001. World Population Prospects: The 2000 Revision (Data diskettes, "Demographic Indicators 1950-2050"; and United Nations Population Division. 2001. Annual Populations 1950-2050: The 2000 Revision. New York: United Nations.) These indicators present the size, projected future size and current period annual growth of national populations.

Per cent urban, urban growth rates. Source: United Nations Population Division. 2000. World Urbanization Prospects: The 1999 Revision (Data sets POP/DB/WUP/Rev.1999/1/F4 and F6.) New York: United Nations. These indicators reflect the proportion of the national population living in urban areas and the growth rate in urban areas projected for 2000-2005.

Agricultural population per hectare of arable and permanent crop land. Source: Data provided by Food and Agriculture Organization, using agricultural population data based on the total populations from United Nations Population Division. 1999. World Population Prospects: The 1998 Revision. New York: United Nations. 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 agricul-ture) 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. Data refer to the year 1998.

Total fertility rate (period: 2000-2005). Source: United Nations Population Division. 2000. World Population Prospects: The 2000 Revision (Data diskettes, "Demographic Indicators 1950-2050"). New York: United Nations. The measure indicates the number of children a woman would have during her reproductive years if she bore children at the rate estimated for different age groups in the specified time period. Countries may reach the projected level at different points within the period.

Births with skilled attendants. Source: World Health Organization; updated information provided by WHO. Data for less developed countries/regions from WHO, in AbouZahr, C., and T. Wardlaw. 2001. "Maternal Mortality at the End of the Decade: What Signs of Progress?" (Forthcoming in Bulletin of the World Health Organization.) Data for more developed countries from Population Action International. 2001. A World of Difference: Sexual and Reproductive Health & Risks (wallchart). This indicator is based on national reports of the proportion of births attended by "skilled health personnel or skilled attendant: doctors (specialist or non-specialist) and/or persons with midwifery skills who can diagnose and manage obstetrical complications as well as normal deliveries". Data for more developed countries reflect their higher levels of skilled delivery attendance. Because of assumptions of full coverage, data (and coverage) deficits of marginalized populations and the impacts of chance and transport delays may not be fully reflected in official statistics. Data estimates are the most recent available.

Gross national income per capita. Source: 1999 figures from: The World Bank. 2001. World Development Indicators 2001. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank. This indicator (formerly referred to as gross national product [GNP] per capita) mea-sures 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 an indicator of the economic productivity of a nation. It differs from gross domestic product (GDP) by further adjusting for income received from abroad for labour and capital by residents, for similar payments to non-residents, and by incorporating various technical adjustments including those related to exchange rate changes over time. This measure also takes into account the differing purchasing power of currencies by including purchasing power parity (PPP) adjustments of "real GNP". Some PPP figures are based on regression models; others are extrapolated from the latest International Comparison Programme benchmark estimates; see original source for details.

Central government expenditures on education and health. Source: The World Bank. 2001. World Development Indicators 2001. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank. These indicators reflect the priority afforded to education and health sectors by a country through the government expenditures dedicated to them. They are not sensitive to differences in allocations with-in 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. Reported estimates are presented as shares of GDP (except figures in brackets which are per cent of GNI) rather than as per capita PPP dollar amounts (as in prior reports). On-going methodological work must be completed before such conversions are justified. Great caution is also advised about cross-country comparisons because of varying costs of inputs in different settings and sectors. Data refer to the most recent estimates 1990-1999.

External assistance for population. Source: UNFPA. 2000. Financial Resource Flows for Population Activities in 1998. New York: UNFPA. This figure provides the amount of external assistance expended in 1998 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 use other indicators to provide a better basis for comparing and evaluating resource flows in support of population and reproductive health programmes from various national and international sources. Regional totals include both country-level projects and regional activities (not otherwise reported in the table).

Under-5 mortality. Source: United Nations Population Division, special tabulation based on United Nations. 2001. World Population Prospects: The 2000 Revision. New York: United Nations. 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 mea-sures are infant mortality and mortality rates for 1 to 4 years of age, which reflect differing causes of and frequency of mortality in these ages. The measure is 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 here expressed as deaths to children under 5 per 1,000 live births in a given year. The estimate refers to the period 2000-2005.

Per capita energy consumption. Source: The World Bank. 2001. World Development Indicators 2001. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank. 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 in-creases in wasteful consumption). Data are for 1998.

Access to safe water. Source: WHO/UNICEF. 2001. Global Water Supply and Sanitation Assessment 2000 Report (available on the UNICEF website). This indicator reports the percentage of the population with access to an adequate amount of safe drinking water located within a convenient distance from the user's dwelling. The italicized words use country-level definitions. It is related to exposure to health risks, including those resulting from improper sanitation. Data are estimates for the year 2000.


Editorial Team

Editor: Alex Marshall
Research and Writing: Stan Bernstein
Managing Editor: William A. Ryan
Editorial research: Don Hinrichsen, Judith E. Jacobsen, Cathy Lerza, Mia MacDonald, Frederick A.B. Meyerson, Brian C. O'Neill, Henrylito Tacio, Arun Varghese
Editorial Assistant: Phyllis Brachman

Cover photos: (top) Women line up for water in Zimbabwe, Neil Cooper, Still Pictures; (bottom, from left) Rice farmers in Viet Nam, Jorgen Schytte, Still Pictures; Geothermal power plant in Iceland, Arnaud Greth; Woman washing dishes in polluted river in Nepal, Hartmut Schwarzbach.

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