On Wednesday February 8, 2012, the world population passed
7 billion people. Or was it October 31, 2011 or March 12,
2012? How do we know the date so precisely? Nathan Keyfitz
had a life-long fascination with different aspects of counting,
estimation, and forecasting, especially in the context of
producing such population figures and in census taking.
Most demographers have traditionally viewed census taking
as a counting exercise, but there has been a lively debate
about combining counting with forms of estimation, and the
precision that would result. In this presentation, I describe
aspects of this debate, including Keyfitz's contributions
to and perspectives on it.
1. I take my title
from a 1978 National Research Council report, Counting the
People in 1980: An Appraisal of Census Plans, authored by
a panel chaired by Nathan Keyfitz.
Professor Steve Fienberg
Co-Founder of Journal of Privacy and Confidentiality, 2006,
International Society for Bayesian Analysis, President 1996-1997;
Chair, Selection Committee for the DeGroot Prize, 2001-2004.
Co-chair National Academy of Sciences, Report Review Committee,
Thorsten Sellin Fellow of the American Academy of Political
and Social Science, 2004.
Elected member of The National Academy of Sciences.
Elected fellow of Royal Society of Canada.
Elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science,
American Statistical Association, Institute of Mathematical