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经济学人:反对人口普查 十年一度制度被保留

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Official statistics

官方统计
Con census
反对人口普查
Britain's decennial population count has been saved. Now make it work better
英国十年一度的人口普查被保留,如今需改良运作状态
WHEN the first results of the 2011 census were published, almost two years ago, the most striking discovery was straightforward. Britain's population, it turned out, was around 500,000 bigger than statisticians had thought. For all that Britons are relentlessly surveyed, only a full count could reveal the size of the country, yet alone that of individual cities, towns and neighbourhoods.
约两年前,当2011年人口普查的数据发布时,最令人吃惊的发现是十分显而易见的。结果显示英国人口比统计学家预计的竟多了约500,000人。鉴于所有的英国人都被调查过了,除了个别一些城市、城镇和居民区,只有一次完整的计数能揭示这个国家真正的规模。

Given that finding, the proposal made in 2010 by an austerity-minded coalition government to scrap Britain's decennial census seemed odd. It now looks as though the census will survive after all. On March 27th the Office for National Statistics (ONS) concluded that a full population count is still necessary, though many people will in future be asked to fill in the census online. In all likelihood, the government will follow its recommendations. Academics, market researchers and social historians breathed a sigh of relief.

鉴于此发现,这一联合政府于2010年提出的要取消英国十年一度人口普查的提议看起来有些古怪。如今看来人口普查是要被保留下来了。3月27日,国家统计局(ONS)得出的结论是尽管未来很多人将被要求在线填写人口普查调查表,进行一次完整的人口调查仍是必要的。不出意外的话,政府将会遵循它的提议。学者、市场调研员和社会历史学家终于松了口气。
Scrapping the census in favour of rolling surveys of a portion of the population was always a silly idea. A full count can provide information at the level of a single street, which even very large surveys could never do. The census also supplies detailed data about poorly understood groups of people, such as some ethnic minorities. Each year billions of pounds of government spending are allocated according to estimates derived from the census. Its data determine where new schools and hospitals are built, where planning permission for housing is granted and where money is spent on transport.
取消人口普查,转而赞成对部分人口进行滚动调查的想法是愚蠢的。一次完整的计数可以提供小至一条街的信息,这是连许多大规模调查都无法媲美的。人口普查也可为我们提供那些外界知之甚少的群体的详细数据,如一些少数族群。政府依据人口普查得出的估算来决策每年数十亿英镑的支出应拨向何处。这一数据决定何处应建立新学校和医院,何处应许可进行住房规划,以及何处应加强交通建设。
The census is hardly perfect. It is expensive—the 2011 edition cost around 480m (800m). Its findings go out of date quickly. And it is increasingly difficult to conduct, as a rising proportion of people do not fill in their forms. In many European countries, including Germany and the Netherlands, the authorities use administrative data collected by public bodies in place of a traditional census.
人口普查并不十全十美。它花费高昂——2011年版成本约为4亿8千万英镑(8亿美元)。调查的结果也很快就成为了明日黄花。由于不填写表格的人越来越多,它的可操作性也越来越难了。在很多欧洲国家,包括德国和荷兰,行政当局选择采用公共机构提供的管理数据以代替传统的人口调查。
In Britain that would be tricky. The nation lacks a central population register or an identity-card system that would allow administrative data to be linked up. By northern European standards, Britain also has lots of irregular migrants who have little interaction with the state. That makes a full count unavoidable. Yet the authorities should still be investing in working out how to use administrative data better, argues Chris Skinner, a statistician at the London School of Economics. That would help to provide a check on the accuracy of census and survey data, as well as providing timelier and more precise estimates in between census years.
在英国这将比较棘手。该国缺乏一个中央人口统计处或一个身份认证系统来将管理数据统一起来。按照北欧的标准,英国也有很多几乎不与政府来往的非正规移民。这使得完整的人口普查不可避免。然而伦敦统计学院的统计学家克里斯·斯金纳表示,当局应继续研究该如何更好地利用管理数据。这将为人口普查和数据调查的准确性把关,同时也可为两次人口普查间的年份提供及时并更精确的估计。
The ONS agrees—and it is researching the possibility of using government data better. The trouble is that doing so will mean spending money, which is precisely what ministers wanted to stop doing when they pushed the ONS into thinking about cancelling the census. Data users will be hoping that they have a change of heart. If not, Britain might be stuck with inadequate numbers for decades to come.
国家统计局对此表示同意——它正在研究更好地利用政府数据的可能性。问题是这么做意味着要花钱,这正违背了部长们要求国家统计局取消人口普查的初衷。数据使用者们希望他们能换位思考一下。否则英国将在未来几十年无法摆脱人口总数不准确的困境。译者:王颖 校对:周晓青

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precise [pri'sais]

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adj. 精确的,准确的,严格的,恰好的

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relentlessly

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adv. 残酷地,无情地

 
register ['redʒistə]

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v. 记录,登记,注册,挂号
n. 暂存器,记

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social ['səuʃəl]

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adj. 社会的,社交的
n. 社交聚会

 
inadequate [in'ædikwit]

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adj. 不充分的,不适当的

 
traditional [trə'diʃənəl]

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adj. 传统的

 
scrap [skræp]

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n. 碎片,废品
vt. 舍弃,报废

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v. 决定,决心,确定,测定

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accuracy ['ækjurəsi]

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n. 准确(性), 精确度

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n. 检查,支票,账单,制止,阻止物,检验标准,方格图案

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