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Total Population

What Is It?

Total population refers to the total number of people living in a given area over a period of time.

How Is It Calculated?

A country’s total population is often based on census data for a given period of time, adjusted for population changes resulting from births, deaths, and migration. Calculation does not include those in the country on a temporary basis for travel or business, and it may or may not include those in the country illegally, depending upon the statistical policies of the country.

What Does It Mean?

Total population data is essential for planning purposes. The population of a country is made up of groups categorized by age and gender which can be analyzed to provide insight into a country, including birth and death rates and population growth over time. A country's government must understand the size of its population, as well as its composition—ages, sexes, geographical distribution, etc.—in order to guide public policy and determine things such as how many schools, medical facilities, and jobs a country needs. For example, in simple terms:

  • If youth make up an increasingly large percentage of the total population, a greater investment in education infrastructure will be required.
  • If the middle-aged make up an increasingly large percentage of the total population, a greater number of jobs will be required.
  • If the elderly make up an increasingly large percentage of the total population, a greater investment in healthcare will be required.
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