Demographic data provide an essential evidence base for the planning and evaluation of develop-ment policies. Accessible data function as a public good, benefiting citizens and the political system as a whole. Even though development data are increasingly being collected in developing countries, it is not clear whether they are being used to their fullest potential by the people who need them most—government officials and other policymakers. The Population Council explored this issue through qualitative research in four sub-Saharan African countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal, and Uganda. The Demographic Data for Development case studies consisted of semistructured interviews with more than 100 policymakers, data producers, and consumers (civil society organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and the media, among others). The project explored current use of data, desired but inaccessible data, and available but unrequested or unused data. The primary focus was on the underutilization of existing data, particularly the factors that limit the collection, use, and sharing of data. As noted in this brief, the case stud¬ies inquired about censuses, national surveys, budgeting, and service-use statistics to determine how policymakers obtain data to develop sound policies.
"Demographic data for development," Poverty, Gender, and Youth Brief no. 1. New York: Population Council, 2009.