Context

MEETING THE NEED FOR DATA

The global community’s pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has highlighted the importance of reliable, accessible data for guiding efforts to reduce social inequities, particularly those relating to health. Appropriate indicators provide knowledge about the current status of target populations, how their status has changed, and whether progress has been made toward established goals.

But the right data are not always available to researchers, policy advocates, and policymakers, even though many statistics are now more accessible digitally or in open-data platforms.

PRB data sheets make critical data points easy to access, visualize, and understand. These poster-size publications and online resources facilitate routine monitoring of many indicators and put data in the hands of those who need it. Data sheets bring new perspectives and understanding to a wide set of current demographic and population-level indicators, particularly in contexts where electronic access to data is limited.

From The Family Planning Worldwide 2013 Data Sheet

Activities

EXPANDING PRODUCTS & IMPROVING UNDERSTANDING
PRB’s World Population Data Sheets have been downloaded over 1.3 million times and are also available as an online data visualization. The interactive feature pictured above allows the user to see a country’s current and projected population numbers.

Results

INFORMATION ACCESS FOR DIVERSE AUDIENCES
Click the boxes on the right to read more

PRB data sheets are a go-to resource for partners around the world. They are prominently displayed on the walls in ministries, clinics, and offices. Demand for printed versions continues to rise along with electronic content.

World Population

World Population Data Sheet brings demographic data to the fore. PRB’s annual World Population Data Sheet, now in its 52nd edition, continues to be an important source of information to audiences around the world. The most recent 2014 edition was downloaded more than 130,000 times in just six months.

Every year, this publication is utilized by print and broadcast media, such as the Financial Times, Huffington Post, Africa News, and countless country and local news sources, including the Daily Telegraph (UK), Times of India, Vanguard (Nigeria), and the Korea Times. Researchers, policymakers, and advocates around the world find immense value in the data sheet—from a research center in Nepal to the Ministry of Health in Jamaica.

Women & Girls

Data on women and girls inform organizations from civil society to the private sector. IDEA published the World’s Women and Girls 2011 Data Sheet to draw attention to International Women’s Day. It informed news stories around the world about women and girls in Ghana, India, Jamaica, Malawi, Pakistan, Uganda, and the United Arab Emirates. Beyond the news media, the data sheet was actively used by donors, governments, private companies, NGOs, and civil society groups. The United Methodist Church shared it at “Healthy Families, Healthy Planet”—a seminar for advocates encouraging Congress to increase support for maternal health and international family planning. Kenya’s Ministry of Planning and National Development used it to develop realistic targets for empowerment as part of their gender mainstreaming policy. In the United States, GAP, Inc. used it to develop content for their social responsibility website.

Country Level

Country-level data inform media and leaders. In Malawi, IDEA worked with government ministries and NGOs to develop a series of 28 district data sheets in English and Chichewa drawing on the most recent census data and Demographic and Health Surveys. These one-page sheets highlighted key population and well-being indicators at the district level, and have been in high demand, requiring several reprints. Journalists at community radio stations throughout the country used the materials in local news stories. Many of Malawi’s local authorities revised their by-laws to deter early marriage and teen pregnancy after receiving the data sheets.

HIV/AIDS

Partnerships help disseminate critical HIV/AIDS data. To bolster the response to Kenya’s HIV/AIDS epidemic, IDEA partnered with Kenya’s National Council for Population and Development, the National AIDS & STI Control Programme, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop two data sheets highlighting key indicators from the 2012 Kenya AIDS Indicator Survey. Translating the complex survey findings into an accessible format helped facilitate use of the data for program planning throughout the country.

Takeaways

LOOKING BACK & MOVING FORWARD

Centralized and comparable population data are essential in today’s information overload. PRB selects from a variety of data sources to create compilations that are accessible, reliable, and highly valued by our audiences.

  • Print materials remain relevant and in demand, even as technology and internet access enable a broader package of interactive materials. The audience for both print and online data sheets continues to grow, and the demand for accessible print materials has not receded.
  • Innovations in data presentation such as infographics help spotlight the policy relevance of data. This enables policymakers and civil society leaders to manage the overwhelming amount of data available, absorb information quickly, and analyze policy implications.
  • Data are most useful when they are relevant. PRB ensures that data sheets have the most current indicators, and also that the topics and indicators selected address priority issues for target audiences.
  • Centralizing indicators for different countries or regions from different sources is valuable and can give audiences a new perspective on the data. Complementary visuals and interactive elements enable a deeper understanding of the data, meeting users’ demand to explore the data in new ways.
  • Even when large survey results are publicly available, they often go unused in planning because local organizations may not know how to access or interpret the data in ways that are relevant to their policies and programs. Partnering with local organizations facilitates both ownership and use of data in planning.
Photo courtesy of National AIDS & STI Control Programme
Robert Godec, U.S. ambassador to Kenya; Dr. Custodia Mandlhate, WHO country representative in Kenya; Fred Segor, principal secretary for health; the Honorable James Macharia, cabinet secretary for health; and Dr. Kevin M. De Cock, director of the HIV/AIDS Department at WHO, attended the launch event of the Kenya AIDS Indicator Survey (KAIS) 2012 Report in June 2014.