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Using the U.S. and U.K. censuses for comparative research

By Rebecca. K Tunstall


Researchers, policymakers, and practitioners are constantly interested in international comparisons as a means to generate and test hypotheses and new ideas. Likewise, they have for centuries relied on census data as a key source of information about the nature and dynamics of nations. This discussion paper, accordingly, reviews key features of the U.S. and U.K. censuses of population, and considers how the two canvasses can be used for comparative research on population, housing, and other key issues. To that end, it offers a guide to the surveys' respective approaches and definitions, and their similarities and differences—all with an eye to helping researchers assess their utility for bilateral comparisons. On balance, the paper concludes that the two nations' censuses—despite their variations of method, terminology, and reporting—hold out exciting potential for comparative analysis

Topics: H Social Sciences (General), E151 United States (General)
Publisher: Brookings Institute
Year: 2005
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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