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- the total number of people resident in a country at a particular point in time. The UK, for example, had a population of 59 million people in 2004. The size of the population is determined by past and present birth and death rates, together with net migration trends – the number of people leaving the country to live abroad (emigration) compared with the number entering the country to take up residence (immigration). The UK birth rate is currently 11 births per 1000 of the population per annum and the death rate 10 per 1000 of the population per annum. In most advanced countries, both birth and death rates have declined over the long run because of rising living standards and improved medical care; this has produced slow-growing, ageing populations.
The total size of the population and its composition in terms of proportion of males to females and age-group distributions, combined with various SOCIOECONOMIC factors influencing buying characteristics, are important to businesses in assessing the market potential for their products.
- all possible observations of a certain phenomenon in statistical analysis, for example incomes of all people resident in a country. Where it is too time-consuming and expensive to record all possible observations it is necessary to take a SAMPLE, for example the incomes of 1000 citizens, and generalize about the incomes of all citizens from this sample. See STATISTICAL INFERENCE.