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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C Glossary." National Research Council. 2007. Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11895.
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Appendix C
Glossary

Administrative Data—Data collected by a government or other large entity for purposes other than demographic uses. These data might be land parcel data used for taxation and land tenure purposes or utility data collected for billing purposes. They are among the types of data that can be used to fill in gaps in population coverage from other sources.

Block or Block Group—The smallest entity for which the U.S. Census Bureau collects and tabulates decennial census information; bounded on all sides by visible and nonvisible features shown on Census Bureau maps. A block group is a combination of census blocks that is a subdivision of a census tract. It is the lowest level of geography for which the Census Bureau tabulates sample data.

Capacity Building—Strengthening the ability to undertake tasks, especially by improving the technical skills of people through the provision of technology, such as computers and software, and the training of individuals to use data in conjunction with the necessary technology.

Census—An official enumeration of an entire population, usually with details as to age, gender, occupation, and other population characteristics; defined by the United Nations as the total process of collecting, compiling and publishing demographic, economic, and social data, at a specified time or times, for all persons in a country or delimited territory.

Census Tract—In the United States, a small, relatively permanent statistical subdivision of a county in a metropolitan area or a selected nonmetropoli-

Suggested Citation:"Appendix C Glossary." National Research Council. 2007. Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11895.
×

tan county, delineated by a local committee of census data users for the purpose of presenting decennial census data. Census tract boundaries normally follow visible features but may follow governmental unit boundaries and other nonvisible features in some instances; they always nest within counties. Designed to be relatively homogeneous units with respect to population characteristics, economic status, and living conditions at the time they were established, census tracts usually contain between 2,500 and 8,000 inhabitants. They may be split by any subcounty geographic entity.

Chronic Disaster—An event that affects the exposed population incrementally, perhaps imperceptibly at first, but may ultimately push the resilience of the system to a tipping point and into a disaster phase. In many cases, society fails to respond to the incremental problem, and thus becomes a factor in generating and accelerating the disaster.

Cohort-Component Method—A population projection made by applying age-specific survival rates, age-specific fertility rates, and age-specific measures of migration to the base-year population in order to project the population to the target year.

Complex Emergency—A humanitarian crisis in a country, region, or society in which there is a total or considerable breakdown of authority resulting from internal or external conflict that requires an international response that goes beyond the mandate or capacity of a single agency and/or the ongoing United Nations country program (IASC, 2004).

Demographic Data—Data that pertain to population size, population processes (mortality, fertility, migration), population characteristics (age, gender, education, etc.), and/or population distribution.

Demography—The scientific study of human populations.

Disaster—A singular, large, nonroutine event that overwhelms the local capacity to respond adequately (NRC, 2006). The events that produce disasters can be natural or human-induced, and can be sudden-onset (e.g., an earthquake) or chronic (e.g., a protracted civil conflict). See CHRONIC DISASTER and SUDDEN-ONSET DISASTER.

Enumeration Unit, AreaComparable to a CENSUS TRACT.

Geographic Data—Data that contain references to the location of the information.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix C Glossary." National Research Council. 2007. Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11895.
×

Geospatial—The combination of spatial software and analytical methods with geographic data sets.

Hazard—Events that arise from the interaction between society and natural systems (e.g., earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical storms) or between society and technology (e.g., chemical accidents, nuclear power plant accidents), or within society itself (e.g., war, civil and ethnic strife, persecution, human rights violations). Hazards have the potential to harm people and places, including ecosystems.

Heuristic—A teaching device that aids discovery. A heuristic model does not answer a question in and of itself, but rather helps create a means for answering a question.

Humanitarian Crisis—An event or series of events representing a critical threat to the health, safety, security, or well-being of a community or other large group of people, usually over a wide area.

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS)Individuals or groups of people that have moved away from their homes but stayed within their own national borders.

Metadata—Data about data; descriptions of data sets that provide background and context for the derivation and use of the data.

Microdata—Individual census records.

Population Data—See DEMOGRAPHIC DATA.

Refugees—Victims of conflict, civil or ethnic strife, or persecution who flee across international borders and who are protected under international law.

Resilience—The ability of social groups or places to recover from a hazard and to buffer themselves and adapt to future ones; coping capacity.

Risk—The likelihood of incurring harm—that is, the chance of injury or loss, in this case, from the hazard event.

Sample Survey—A method of collecting data by obtaining information from a sample of the total population, rather than by a complete enumeration.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix C Glossary." National Research Council. 2007. Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11895.
×

Sensitivity—The degree to which social groups or places are initially harmed by exposure to a hazard.

Subnational—Any level of geography below national boundaries (e.g., regions, states, counties).

Sudden-Onset Disaster—“Big-bang” events—such as earthquakes, industrial accidents, or surprise attacks—whose surprise and sheer magnitude over a very brief period overwhelm the exposed population.

Vulnerability—The degree to which a system or unit (such as a population or a place) is likely to experience harm due to exposure to perturbations, stresses, or disturbances from natural, technological, or human-induced sources.


This glossary draws from the following sources and references:


GARM (Geographic Areas Reference Manual). Available online at http://www.census.gov/geo/www/garm.html.

IASC (Inter-Agency Standing Committee), 2004. Civil-Military Relationship in Complex Emergencies—An IASC Reference Paper. 57th Meeting of the IASC, Geneva, Switzerland, June 16-17. Available online at http://ochaonline.un.org/ DocView.asp?DocID=1219 [accessed February 6, 2007].

NRC (National Research Council), 2006. Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.

Weeks, J.R., 2005. Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, 9th edition. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Thomson Learning.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix C Glossary." National Research Council. 2007. Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11895.
×
Page166
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C Glossary." National Research Council. 2007. Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11895.
×
Page167
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C Glossary." National Research Council. 2007. Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11895.
×
Page168
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C Glossary." National Research Council. 2007. Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11895.
×
Page169
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Worldwide, millions of people are displaced annually because of natural or industrial disasters or social upheaval. Reliable data on the numbers, characteristics, and locations of these populations can bolster humanitarian relief efforts and recovery programs. Using sound methods for estimating population numbers and characteristics is important for both industrialized and developing nations. Ensuring that the data are geographically referenced for projection onto maps is essential. However, good data alone are insufficient. Adequate staff training and strong organizational and political desire to maintain and use the information are also required. Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises, reviews the main methods and tools for making estimates of subnational populations and makes several recommendations to improve the collection and the use of population data for emergency response and development.

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