Demographic assessment and adjustment of census age distribution in selected West African Countries

  • Elizabeth o Njoku Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
  • David O. Okunlola Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
  • Sunday A. Adedini University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Keywords: Age misstatement, Age distribution, Adjustment, West Africa


Context/background: Despite the public acknowledgment of improvement in sub-Saharan African censuses and surveys in the recent time, the quality of age-sex data still remains relatively poor. This study assessed the quality of reported age-sex data in selected West African countries.Data source and methods: We utilized the available recent West African census data to address the study objective. Data adjustments were made using the UN-moving average technique, Carrier Far-rag, Karup-king newton and Arriaga methods.  Results: First, the age- distribution in five years was examined for errors.  The UN-Age-sex accuracy index showed that all the selected countries had inaccurate age-distribution, with the exception of Cameroon (2005) and Senegal (2002) censuses which revealed a lesser distorted age- distribution. Utilizing the strong smoothing techniques, the results showed that virtually all the censuses were plaqued with the overestimation error at older ages, particularly the female population. The error margin ranged between 10-25%.  Conclusion: The study concludes that inaccuracies in West African census data persist and recommends more quality age-sex data in region.

Author Biographies

Elizabeth o Njoku, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
Demography and Social Statistics Department
David O. Okunlola, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
Demography and Social Statistics Department
Sunday A. Adedini, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Programme in Demography and Population Studies, School of Public Health and Social Sciences.