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Mount St. Helens

Expert Group Meeting on Population Data for the 21st century: Advances in data collection methodologies

New York, United States, 4-6 December 2019

In recent years, enormous advances have occurred in the collection and analysis of quantitative data. While there is an increasing focus on Big Data (social media, credit card purchases, cellphone records…), major innovations have also taken place in more traditional, “structured” data collection approaches and through combining new and traditional types of data. Many of these improvements have occurred within “silos” – the institutions tasked with data collection and researchers working within their specific disciplines or projects – limiting their broader validation and use.

This three-day Expert Group Meeting will bring together leading researchers and practitioners to present their innovations, emphasizing low and middle-income country contexts. Participants will include top researchers from universities and key institutions involved in international data collection (World Bank, UNFPA, CIESIN, WorldPop…), leading practitioners from National Statistical Organisations, and representatives of major donors. Presentations and exchanges will describe advances in data collection methods and critically review the lessons learned.

The list of session topics to be covered includes:

  • 2020 census round: New technologies and methodologies
  • Hybrid census innovations in insecure settings and fragile contexts
  • Advances in mobile and internet technologies for data collection
  • Advances in the collection of validation data to measure the completeness and quality of civil registration data
  • Innovative approaches to assess the quality and completeness of civil registration data
  • Responsive and adaptive survey designs
  • Hard to reach populations: Indirect techniques and using networks to assess hidden populations
  • Approaches to measuring sensitive topics, ideals and attitudes

Presentations will be live-streamed and recorded to be posted on the website of the IUSSP and those of other institutions to ensure broad dissemination of the innovations and exchanges.


This expert group meeting will take place at UNFPA headquarters in New York and is organised as part of the IUSSP activities around the Data Revolution with the IUSSP Panel on Population Perspectives and Demographic Methods to Strengthen CRVS Systems and in partnership with the UNFPA. The meeting organizers are Tom LeGrand (IUSSP/ Université de Montréal), Romesh Silva (UNFPA), Sam Clark (IUSSP/Ohio State University) and Dennis Feehan (University of California at Berkeley).


A limited number of spaces will be made available to others wishing to attend the meetings and who register in advance. The full program of the meeting and the registration procedures will be made available in the upcoming weeks; these will be sent to IUSSP members and posted on the IUSSP website.

Core funding for the event comes from a grant made by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to the IUSSP, with additional funding provided by UNFPA and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).