Sat | Feb 16, 2019

Letter of the Day | Concerned about STATIN data

Published:Tuesday | February 12, 2019 | 12:14 AM


This narrative touches and concerns the data published by the Statistical Institute (STATIN) of Jamaica on its website. The data shared covers the period 2012 to 2017 which speaks to four indicators: population growth, number of births, number of deaths and migration.

Let us examine the data presented quantitatively (percentage change – [New – Old/Old]) using each variable mentioned above for the period highlighted.

1. Population Growth – The population grew from 2,711,476 to 2,728, 864. The resultant is 0.6 per cent or 17,388.

2. Number of births – The number of births moved from 39,553 to 34,169. The resultant is -13.6 per cent or -5,384 less births.

3. Number of deaths – recorded has increased from 16,998 to 18,879. The resultant is 11.1 per cent or 1,881.

4. Number people migrated – Migrant population increased marginally from 15,000 to 15,395. The resultant is 2.6 per cent or 395.

The data available shows that the population grew between -0.004 and 0.2 percentage points for the period under review. However, the nation’s birth rate reduced considerably from a high of 39,553 to a low of 34,169 in 2017. The population was also negatively impacted by an 11 per cent or 1,881 increase in the number of deaths recorded. The situation had been further exacerbated by migration, which accounted for 2.6 per cent of the overall population.

Therefore, if between 2012 and 2017, the number of persons migrated and the numbers of deaths have increased, as also the numbers of births have decreased considerably, then the overall population should represent a decrease rather than an increase as published by STATIN.

Given the analyses done, it is concerning that the population growth is showing an upward trajectory, while all the other indicators are trending in the opposite direction.

It is my considered view that the data presented on the website needs to be explained by the appropriate authority as soon as practicable to allay the potential fears and ultimately loss of confidence in the data that is being shared with the public.

In addition, both local and foreign investors examine these indices prior to making investment decisions in a country from the macro-economic point of view.

I eagerly await a response in the near future.