The Demopædia Encyclopedia on Population is under heavy modernization and maintenance. Outputs could look bizarre, sorry for the temporary inconvenience

Dizionario demografico multilingue (Italiano - prima edizione del 1959)

Pagina principale

Da Demopædia.

This page will be translated from the Demopædia:About page of the English second edition site en-ii:Demopædia:About

A multi-lingual wiki-based demographic encyclopedia


Developing the series of multilingual encyclopedic demographic dictionaries is one of the most enduring projects in the history of our discipline. And one of the most fruitful. In the early late 1960s, the United Nations Population Division has assembled a brilliant team of specialists to produce the then state of the art dictionaries in the official languages of the Organization. Two decades later the Division joined efforts with IUSSP to update these reference tools. The researchers and trainers of many countries have joined the project, albeit informally, by tailoring their national modules on the UN/IUSSP standard. As a result the international community might have at its disposal a standardized series of 14 encyclopedic demographic dictionaries. But in practice it does not because all language module are out of print and hardly a couple of libraries in the entire world may be expected to possess all of them.

Why on-line?

The multilingual encyclopedic demographic dictionary on the Internet became widely accessible. Demographic terms, their meaning and cross-references are now two clicks away for students, professors, researchers, government experts, journalists and NGO activists. You can elucidate the understanding of the term in the language of your work. Also, the multilingual dictionary assists you in grasping the subject of specialized texts in other languages.


You can consult the Dictionary's language modules, read them or download and print them: all copyright owners have authorized us to provide you these options. You can search for a demographic term, surf to linked terms and expressions or move to another language or edition. As the Dictionary is structured in thematic chapters, you can locate a term within its contextual environment. The language modules have built-in indexes which makes possible easy navigation and cross-referencing. The Wiki platform provides powerful tools for further development. The specialists could post their additions and corrections on-line and discuss them collectively.

What is next

Demographic knowledge made huge advances since the last editions of the Dictionary have been published. There is a clear sense that the structure and texts need updating. Doing it in a traditional format of 'live' panels and working groups would be hardly feasible. Developing on-line a renewed edition of multilingual encyclopedic demographic dictionary should be efficient and will unleash the potential of wide cooperation of professionals. Demopædia will host this project.

Demopædia also has the potential to become a platform for sharing and building a wider knowledge base in demography and population studies. Our vision is an extensive and constantly evolving encyclopedia on population, serving the world community and benefiting from influxes of ideas and texts.

How to use Demopædia

By searching for a term or demographic expression

The main URL (Internet address) of Demopædia is From this main page, you can enter in the search area for a term or expression and choose the language: it will search within the full text of the second (last edition) edition of the Multilingual Demographic Dictionary of this particular language. For Arabic, it will search within the wiki site.

At least two kinds of link can be retrieved:

  • either a numbered page, like 101, 112 etc., which corresponds to a section of the Multilingual Demographic Dictionary. Former users of the printed old books are very familiar with this special but efficient method ;
  • either a link to a named page (like Demography for example) which contains the searched expression (read below).

By reading the book

Starting with the first numbered page or section 10, you will read the first paragraph (101) of the first chapter entitled General concepts.

Each paragraph (about 5 to 10 paragraphs) per section (Internet page) describes a demographical concept by using other similar terms. The terms in bold face are supposed to be main terms (called TextTerm) which have to be translated in any language. A TextTerm is uniquely defined by its footnote number. This unique definition (paragraph number - footnote number), for example 101-1 for Demography, permits an easy link between languages. Sometimes, the footnote is also used to give details specific to a peculiar language or country but most of times it is just used for cross-language navigation. Please read the preface of the original printed books in order to better understand how the dictionaries were originally built.

On the top and bottom of each page, a navigation bar helps you to read the next numbered page. When the first digit of a numbered page changes, you are accessing a newer chapter. Nine chapters were available for the second edition.

If you need or want to read the page in another available language, you just have to click on the link.

You can also access to the text of the first edition.

And from another edition you can access to any available language of the same edition.

By reading just a paragraph describing the searched term

If your Internet search originates from a search crawler, you will probably not be linked to a meaningless numbered (10, 20 etc.) page but to a named page, like fertility rate for example. In that case, you will be able to read the paragraph where fertility rate was defined in the Multilingual Demographic Dictionary of the corresponding page.

Easy access to other translated text terms

If you want to directly see how to translate any TextTerm of the same paragraph, you can click on the dynamic rolling box link and you will access to the table of all terms. From any language specific table column, you can jump to the numbered page of a chosen language.

How to pronounce a term in another language

At the bottom of a named page (not a numbered page) you will access to the audio file corresponding to the correct pronunciation recorded by demographers. This is an ongoing project and many links are still empty (red link).

Index of all named pages

At the very bottom of the page you will have access to the list of all named pages similar to the Index of the printed book.

Accessing the Multilingual Demographic Dictionary directly by its URL

Accessing a numbered paragraph of the second edition ...

If you want to access to the numbered paragraph 632 of the Arabic second edition just type the URL of the numbered page (section) by entering 63 (first two digits) after the wiki/ address:

... and of the first edition ...

If you want to access to the same paragraph but of the first edition , just enter -i instead of -ii: http://ar-i.demopaedia/wiki/63 . Many of the sections have kept the same numbering between the first two editions and it might be interesting to consider the evolution of the language as well as of the concept.

... and of another language

In order to access the same paragraph in another language, just change the two letters using the international English abbreviation of languages (ISO 639):

List of language abbreviations

Abbreviation Language
ar Arabic
cs Czech
de German
en English
es Spanish
et Estonian
it Italian
ja Japanese
fi Finnish
fr French
pl Polish
pt Portuguese
ru Russian
sv Swedish
zh Chinese

Accessing directly to a term or expression

If you want to access the named page directly because you know that this term or expression belongs to the second edition of the English dictionary, just type fertility rates. Please note that you can enter space and they will be replaced by underscore. If the expressions contains also accents or cyrillic or Chinese or Arabic etc. characters, please enter them into the URL, they will be replaced by their Unicode values on the returned URL (making them ugly but functional). Please send these URLs using Unicoded (utf-8) e-mails in order to keep them exchangeable and always readable.

Accessing the Open Encyclopedia on Population

Each text term, defined as a demographic term or demographical expression of the Multilingual Demographic Dictionary which must be translated into any language, will have its own named page in the Open Encyclopedia on Population.

The original definition expressed in one of the two Multilingual Demographic Dictionary editions is (or was if the paragraph has been overwritten by the second edition) a first start for a multimedia Encyclopedia on Populations.

The Multilingual Demographic Dictionary offers the advantage of large consensus (United Nations commission on terminology of the early 50's) and having been translated into various languages (about 15 languages). But it has the disadvantage of being old (1981 for the second edition in French): some sections or even chapters have to written or rewritten.

Also Encyclopedia have always used graphs or pictures which were missing in the printed Multilingual Demographic Dictionary and modern Encyclopedia can be multimedia and can offer animated drawings or audio files.

Using the free software of the Wikimedia foundation (called MediaWiki), Demopædia will offer the same possibilities with the same rules and constraints as Wikipedia.

Thus the syntax of the various URLS is similar to any Wikipedia site, i.e by suppressing any mention of the edition, just keeping the two letters of the abbreviated language: fertility rates

Also the wiki syntax of Demopædia is exactly the same as the Wikipedia syntax.

When will the site be open?

The Demopædia site will be first opened for the International Conference on Population in Marrakesh in early October 2009, and the Open Encyclopedia will be opened only to the members of the [http// IUSSP association] (a first training has been proposed to participants in Marrakech).

Once the various tools in order to fight against spammers and vandalism will be installed, the site will, hopefully, be opened to any specialist in Population Studies.

For a Unified second edition of the dictionaries as an intermediate step

Since the training in Marrakech, a lot of work has been done to improve the quality of the scanned texts. Specific computer programs using parsers have cross check the texts of the first and second editions in about 12 to 13 languages in order to detect the missing text terms in one or another language.

The first analysis of this work reveals that the second edition is not as rigorous as the first was. The first edition was the result of the Commission on terminology during the mid 50's, but the second was first revised in French in 1981 and translated and adapted to English in 1982 and in Spanish in 1985, German in 1987 etc. up to Czech in 2005.

Some terms, expressions and even complete paragraphs have not been translated into English, but in Spanish, Arabic, German etc.. And a few sentences and paragraphs have been added into the English second edition but never translated into the French second edition which was already published. Also the Spanish second edition added a few new text terms which are not translated into any other language but Arabic.

The German second edition (1987) defined a lot of more modern text terms which haven't been translated in any other language.

The current proposition (February 2010) to the Demopædia team is to discuss the opportunity of an harmonized or unified second edition before opening the Open Encyclopedia.

Editions, published after 1987, did not add any new term and thus a natural limit is 1987 (German) but harmonization between the three languages of the IUSSP could be an important step.

In many language specific editions, the numbering of the text terms differed (even between French and English) most of times due to errors but sometimes because a text term was not translated. The advantage of the technical work is to highlight the missing text terms in order to decide if the word is not used in this language or if it is an omission.

One advantage of such a short term project, will be that all the useful but out of print versions (English, French, Spanish, German, Arabic, Japanese etc.) as well as the four recently translated versions (Russian, Chinese, Italian) would be available in their unified second edition as printed book which could be ordered on the Demopaedia site. Such nice samples were on display at the UN booth of the Marrakech conference. It will also be a good exercise for the third edition...

Introduzione | Istruzioni per l'uso | Prefazione | Avvertenza alla versione stampata | Indice
Capitolo | Generalità indice 1 | Elaborazione delle statistiche demografiche indice 2 | Stato della popolazione indice 3 | Mortalità e morbosità indice 4 | Nuzialità indice 5 | Fecondità e fertilità indice 6 | Movimento generale della popolazione e riproduttività indice 7 | Migrazioni indice 8 | Demografia e problemi economico-sociali indice 9
Sezione | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 80 | 81 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 93

Introduzione | Prefazione | Indice
Capitolo | Generalità indice 1 | Elaborazione delle statistiche demografiche indice 2 | Stato della popolazione indice 3 | Mortalità e morbosità indice 4 | Nuzialità indice 5 | Fecondità e fertilità indice 6 | Movimento generale della popolazione e riproduttività indice 7 | Migrazioni indice 8 | Demografia e problemi economico-sociali indice 9
Sezione | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 80 | 81 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 93