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Demographics refer to the quantifiable characteristics of a given population that is normally based on factors such as age, sex, and race. The federal government uses demographics to learn more about the population characteristics of a certain part of the region or even the entire nation which in turn is essential in policy making and development projects. For instance, the number of public officials for each governmental administrative unit is normally determined by the demographics of a given locale (Ginsberg et al. 228). Moreover, for most states in the US, demographic data and size of the population are normally used in determining the allocation of important resources and infrastructure such as schools and roads.
In essence, demographic and census data are normally used for almost all aspects of planning decisions. The census information usually contains data about the age, sex and distribution of a population in addition to household composition and size all of which are normally critical in determining the needs of different parts of the country. For instance, census data on housing can help government planners determine if there is need to change housing quality as well as the related facilities in addition to planning for future housing need of the region depending on percentage growth (Anderson 61).
The importance of demographic data also lies in its ability to help the government as well as the society to better prepare themselves in dealing with issues and demands of future population growth, migration, and aging. Predictions and statistics derived from demographic data studies, for instance, can help the government in developing an adequate and workable healthcare system including effective preventive measures for certain lifestyle diseases (Groves 212). Demographic processes and distributions also impact a wide range of social activities. Any entity, including the government that plans on relating with a particular community, must first have adequate information regarding the particular community because for the entity to arrive at the most effective decisions about the community, the people in that community must first be analyzed and studied, through the use of demographic data.
Assisting or helping in fixing community problems requires a lot of work and a lot of data regarding the community normally in the form of demographic analysis or a review of the population statistics. For instance, when it comes to social planning, local community leaders such as mayors and town council members in conjunction with the central government can use population information in determining the need for services among different segments of the population. Demand for certain services is determined by the composition of the population and how it changes over time (Anderson 64). For instance, the demand for elderly health care services is normally determined by the population’s average age over time, marital status, occupations, income levels as well as educational levels.
Planners can also use present and future population composition in addition to its spatial distribution towards identifying the best locations to provide services that adequately meet the needs of the population. The federal government is also normally concerned about the effects of new or existing policies on changing populations. For instance, policies aimed at promoting rural industries can often lead to population growths as workers and their families move into the neighboring communities due to job opportunities. As such, demographics can help in ensuring that necessary housing and educational plans are put in place or existing ones revised to meet the needs of new households that may move into the area in the future (Groves 138). In conclusion, demographics form an integral part of the national development and planning through administrative procedures and amendments that ensure national plans and policies are always current and relevant.
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